United outclass AmaZulu
19 Jul 2012
IN a game that had all the ingredients of a pre-season friendly, Manchester United had too much class and muscle as they cantered to a 1-0 victory over AmaZulu at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban last night.
The goal came in the 20th minute when Italian youngster Federico Macheda found himself in place after receiving an inch-perfect pass from Dimitar Berbatov.
Macheda ran into the area with the ball at his feet and, from the left-hand side of the goal, side-footed the ball past a stretched Tapuwa Kapini in the AmaZulu goal.
Before that, Javier Hernandez had missed a sitter for United in the third minute after Kapini had blocked a shot from Macheda.
But as the first half continued, the difference in class between the sides was apparent as United dominated ball possession.
But even though they were finding it difficult to get a hold of the ball, Usuthu manufactured a few chances of their own.
Striker Ayanda Dlamini showed neat skill in the area in the 24th minute and managed to get a low shot away from an acute angle — United goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard being tested for the first time as he turned the ball around his near post.
Berbatov gave the crowd something to cheer about when, in the 42nd minute, he spectacularly volleyed a Robert Brady corner towards goal that was acrobatically saved by Kapini.
With the visitors content to knock the ball around the park with veteran central midfielder and crowd favourite Paul Scholes dictating play, AmaZulu were never really threatened for the remainder of the first period and might have drawn level on the stroke of half time as Dlamini missed another good chance from the edge of the area.
Coach Roger Palmgren must have done something right during the break, because AmaZulu came out firing in the second half and were able to manufacture a number of decent chances.
But it was not to be Dlamini’s day, and try as he might he couldn’t get any of his efforts past Lindegaard.
The talking point of the second period came when AmaZulu thought they had won a penalty.
Referee Daniel Bennett initially pointed to the spot, but then reversed his decision after consulting his linesman.
As the game grew older, the legs grew weary, and both mangers began to make use of their benches.
With Berbatov demonstrating silky-smooth touches and soft feet, the crowd were at least given a glimpse of the type of football that United are capable of producing.
United substitute Davide Petrucci rattled the woodwork with an effort from just outside the area and there was time for a late appearance off the bench for new Japanese signing Shinji Kagawa, who had his first appearance in a United jersey.
It was a gutsy display by AmaZulu who will surely take a lot of heart from what was a more than respectable performance.
Both managers were satisfied with their team’s efforts after the match.
“I am satisfied with how we played,” said United boss Sir Alex Ferguson. “There were a few tired legs out there towards the end, but that is to be expected in the first game of pre-season.
“AmaZulu did well in the second half and didn’t give us much space,” he added.
United conclude their tour of South Africa with another friendly against Ajax Cape Town on Saturday.