International Champions Cup
Manchester United vs. FC Barcelona
Venue: Levi’s Stadium
Date: Saturday, 25 July 2015
Kick-off: 21:00 BST
Manchester United maintained their 100% record at the 2015 Champions Cup with a 3-1 victory over FC Barcelona.
The current European champions were dispatched thanks to captain Wayne Rooney’s first half header, and second half strikes from Jesse Lingard and Adnan Januzaj.
Rafinha made it 2-1 in stoppage time, only for Januzaj, featuring in a more central position, to put the gloss on the win by rounding off the scoring less than a minute later.
A needless free-kick was conceded by Ashley Young early on in a dangerous position, and the resulting kick from Luis Suarez left David de Gea routed to the spot, only to thankfully see the ball crash against the post.
Rafinha’s through ball played in Sergi Roberto in the right-hand channel, but De Gea stood strong, saving the one-on-one situation low down whilst managing to firmly grasp the ball and prevent any rebounds.
Like many of United’s attacks so far on tour, neat build-up play down the left-hand side led to a corner being won, and Rooney obliged to head home Young’s wicked delivery into the penalty area.
Phil Jones stood his ground to prevent himself being nutmegged by Andres Iniesta, but moments later gave the ball away, only for Roberto’s dragged shot to fall wide via a faint deflection.
Juan Mata’s superb cross-field pass found Young in acres of space, and the winger ran at the Barcelona defence before taking on the shot, only for Marc-Andre ter Stegen to unorthodoxly save the ball over the bar with his right arm.
The presence of Matteo Darmian has given United another promising outlet out wide, with the marauding right-back’s delightful cross only just missed by Rooney, before Young and Rooney himself saw shots blocked in the melee to follow.
A free header for Sergio Busquets from Rafinha’s corner was held with ease by De Gea, before Suarez struck the other post on this occasion, with a left foot shot on the turn.
Jordi Alba’s through ball found Pedro down the left-hand side, and his low pull back led to a scuffed shot from Suarez being held, as the exhilarating first half drew to a close.
A tactical switch at the break for Barcelona saw Roberto move to right-back as Ivan Rakitic replaced Adriano, as Jones was booked early on after the interval, for a foul on Pedro – more for the number of fouls throughout rather than the malice of the challenge.
As Rooney left the ball that was played over the top of the Catalans defence, Memphis latched onto the end of it, holding off the challenge of Gerard Pique, but his weaker left foot shot was held.
Rooney also saw a tame shot held by substitute goalkeeper Jordi Masip after receiving the ball on the edge of the area by Memphis.
A foul by Darmian on Iniesta led to Rakitic firing the resulting free-kick just over the bar, as Suarez did find the back of the net two minutes later, only to be ruled out for offside.
The whole side was changed after 62 minutes, and an immediate impact was found, with James Wilson playing in the overlapping Tyler Blackett on the left, and the latter’s low cross across the penalty area was fired home first time by Lingard.
A fantastic chance for 3-0 fell to Januzaj, who controlled Antonio Valencia’s clipped pass from the right expertly, but his left foot shot fell just wide of the Masip’s post.
Barcelona hit the post for a third time, as Rakitic’s free-kick from the right was flicked goalwards by Munir, beating Sam Johnstone, but leaving United saved by the woodwork once more.
Januzaj’s low cross was finger-tipped away by Masip as Luis Enrique’s side cleared their lines, before Gumbau fired over at the other end.
Sandro Ramirez’ cross from the right caught Valencia napping, but Rakitic turned the ball wide with a first time effort.
Two ambitious attempts by Rakitic in as many minutes were held with ease by Johnstone, as over 68,000 were present inside Levi’s Stadium.
Rafinha’s sweetly-struck volley made it 2-1 in the first minute of stoppage time, only for Januzaj to seal the victory just 45 seconds later, capitalising on a slip from Marc Bartra, and firing low into the back of the net, as the game ended with United coming out on top.
A wonderful spectacle for all watching; United made it three wins from three in Santa Clara.
Louis van Gaal takes his side to Chicago for the final pre-season game against PSG at Soldier Field, which takes place at 02:00 BST, in the early hours of Thursday morning.
Manchester United (Up until 62 minutes): De Gea; Darmian, Jones, Blind, Shaw; Carrick, Schneiderlin; Mata, Depay, Young; Rooney.
Manchester United (After 62 minutes): Johnstone; Valencia, Smalling, McNair, Blackett; Fellaini, Herrera; Lingard, Pereira, Wilson; Januzaj.
Manager: Louis van Gaal
Barcelona: Ter Stegen (Masip 46); Adriano (Rakitic 46), Pique (Bartra 68), Vermaelen (Mathieu 60), Alba; Roberto, Busquets (Ramirez 68), Iniesta (Gumbau 68); Rafinha, Suarez (Halilovic 68); Pedro (Munir 68).
Manager: Luis Enrique