Owen on target again to seal United's victory
Malaysia XI 0 Manchester United 2
Tuesday 21 July 2009
Michael Owen made it two goals in two games as Manchester United wrapped up the Malaysian leg of their Far East tour with another comfortable win yesterday. Owen scored United's second, two minutes after Federico Macheda's 11th-minute opener, which proved to be the end of the scoring despite United's domination.
Despite the supposedly friendly nature of the contest, Wayne Rooney had plenty of fire in him as he reacted badly to a penalty area challenge when he would have been better advised to let the matter rest.
Given the humid conditions, it was hardly a surprise Sir Alex Ferguson fielded an entirely different starting line-up to the one he named for the first game between the teams on Saturday. On that occasion, Owen grabbed the late winner in a 3-2 win.
This time the former Liverpool striker scored the second, showing his usual predatory instincts after the home defence had made a woeful attempt at clearing a Zoran Tosic cross. "I am pleased that Macheda and Owen have struck up a good partnership," said Ferguson. "We have big hopes for Macheda. He is one of the reasons we didn't go into the market. He is strong, athletic and a good finisher. He played his part last season but he is just a young lad learning his game."
Ferguson was also pleased with Owen. "It was a typical Michael Owen goal. He reacted first as he did the other night, his whole contribution was very good." Macheda relished the chance to play alongside Owen. "I will learn from him because he is one of the best strikers. It's important to learn from him and get better day by day," he said.
About 30,000 fans turned up at 48 hours' notice for a game hastily arranged after the Jakarta terrorist attack last Friday ruled out United's planned visit to Indonesia, but the opposition was not of high quality.
Better will be expected of FC Seoul on Friday, by which time United's fitness levels will have improved as a result of the training done in such intense heat.
Owen is certainly enjoying himself, and came close to grabbing his second when he met a low Tosic cross with a near-post flick that cannoned off the inside of the upright.
Another forward with a desire to impress is Macheda, who made a huge impression when he was introduced to senior ranks last season. Handed the fourth striking berth following the exit of Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez, the 17-year-old needs to prove he has the consistency to be an effective Premier League player at such a young age. There was plenty to be admired about the calm way he finished off a Ryan Giggs cross to open United's account.
Darron Gibson was another of those to impress, showing why Ferguson has handed him a new contract. Wes Brown was the only player to complete a full 90 minutes, although the England defender will probably be happy with that given the injury problems he went through last season, when a foot strain wrecked his season.
Manchester United: Foster (Kuszczak, h-t); Neville (O'Shea, 62), Brown, J Evans (Ferdinand, 62), Fabio (Evra, 58); Fletcher (Anderson, 69), Carrick (Gibson, 70), Giggs (Scholes, 69), Tosic (Nani, 62); Owen (Berbatov, 62), Macheda (Rooney, 67).
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