Man Utd held in pre-season opener


Lee Grant and Tahith Chong also impress on Man Utd debut

By Gerard Brand

Last Updated: 20/07/18 5:09am

Juan Mata celebrated his equalising goal with Ander Herrera

Juan Mata celebrated his equalising goal with Ander Herrera

Manchester United were held 1-1 by Mexican side Club America in their opening pre-season match in Phoenix on Friday morning.

Missing many of their senior players due to World Cup participation, United hit the post through Juan Mata in the first half before Henry Martin gave Club America the lead with a fine header (60).

Mata then levelled for United (78), rebounding low after Ander Herrera’s header had hit the post, with youngster Tahith Chong impressing from the bench.

Andreas Pereira started in Phoenix for Jose Mourinho's side Andreas Pereira started in Phoenix for Jose Mourinho's side

Andreas Pereira started in Phoenix for Jose Mourinho’s side

Man Utd player ratings

Man Utd: Grant (7), Valencia (6), Bailly (5), Smalling (6), Shaw (6), Herrera (6), McTominay (6), A Pereira (6), Mata (7), Mitchell (6), Martial (6)

Subs: Chong (7), Darmian (5), Fosu-Mensah (5), Greenwood (5), J Pereira (6), Tuanzebe (NA), Gomes (NA)

There were opportunities for both sides during a goalless first half, with Mata going closest for United, hitting the right-hand post from 15 yards with a low, left-footed effort through a crowded box.

Lee Grant was handed his Manchester United debut following his move from Stoke, and he made two good saves in quick succession, first low down to his right from Paul Aguilar, before stopping Osvaldo Martinez’s effort and reacting bravely to dive on the rebound.

Club America, who start their season next week, looked more energetic second half and dominated the early stages. Joel Pereira, who replaced Grant at half time, did well to stop Martinez after being put through one-on-one, but Club America’s goal eventually came after pressure on the hour mark.

A left-wing cross found Martin in-between United centre-backs Eric Bailly and Chris Smalling, but he still did well to bullet a header past Pereira from 12 yards.

Lee Grant impressed on his United debut in the first half Lee Grant impressed on his United debut in the first half

Lee Grant impressed on his United debut in the first half

Luke Shaw went close immediately after with a curling right-footed effort from inside the box, while 18-year-old Chong was handed 30 minutes by Jose Mourinho for his senior debut.

Mason Greenwood, 16, was also brought on for his debut with 15 minutes remaining as the midfielder replaced Shaw, but it was Chong who played his part in the equaliser.

Finding a yard to cross from the right, Chong’s fine delivery found Herrera’s head, and though his effort from an angle came off the post, Mata was there to strike low as the ball somehow found its way into the net.

Ander Herrera in action for United in the first half in Phoenix Ander Herrera in action for United in the first half in Phoenix

Ander Herrera in action for United in the first half in Phoenix

What’s next?

United now face San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday in Santa Clara, California at 10pm BST, before a clash with AC Milan in the International Champions Cup on Thursday in LA at 4.05am.

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