Football: Clegg hits high note on night of musical shirts

Manchester United 1 Internazionale 1
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The Independent Online
An Old Trafford crowd hoping in vain for a glimpse of Ronaldo or a goal from their own new signing, Teddy Sheringham, had to settle instead for an equaliser from the head of Michael Clegg in last night's friendly.

The other disappointment for them was the late exit, on a stretcher, of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with damaged ankle tendons. The United manager, Alex Ferguson, said it would be "three or four weeks before he is back''.

It was fitting that, in a game of some many comings and goings, the key moment should revolve around one of the many substitutes.

Clegg, a 20-year-old defender from Ashton under Lyne with only three senior appearances and no goals to his credit before this match, had replaced the injured Gary Neville at the centre of United's rearguard in the first half. After 67 minutes, however, he came up for a corner and when Karel Poborsky curled the ball in he was the man on hand to nod it home.

It was right and proper that United should avoid defeat in a match they had largely dominated, but why 48,000 people should want to watch a game of glorified musical shirts is a moot point.

Sheringham was one of the legion who played only part of the game, staying off the field at half-time after 45 minutes during which he showed some neat touches and had a couple of fleeting sights of goal.

Ryan Giggs missed United's best chance of the half with a weak and inaccurate header, but it was yet another part-timer, Inter's first substitute, Maurizio Ganz, who scored their goal when United's defence hesitated, thinking that either he or Diego Simeone was offside.

The changing of the guard reached farcical levels at the end, with United's third-choice goalkeeper, Kevin Pilkington, playing up front because they had used up all their outfield substitutes by the time Solskjaer had to go off.

That injury and the "dead leg" suffered by Neville, who is now doubtful for Sunday's Charity Shield, were United's main concerns. But there was little to be deduced on a night of such chopping and changing.

Manchester United (4-4-2): Schmeichel; Irwin, G Neville (Clegg, 41), Johnsen (Poli, 60), P Neville; Poborsky, Scholes (Beckham, 60), Butt (McClair, h-t), Giggs; Cole (Solskjaer, 60, Pilkington 78), Sheringham (Cruyff, h-t).

Internazionale (3-5-2): Pagliuca; Galante (Paganin, h-t), Bergomi (Fresi, h-t), West (Tarantino, h-t); Zanetti, Simeone (Ze'Elias, 60), Winter, Berti, Cauet (Mezzano, 71); Zamorano (Ganz, 23), Recoba (Sartor, h-t).

Referee: M Riley (Leeds).

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