United are given shock as tremors hit Japan

Kashima Antlers 2 - Manchester United 1
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The Independent Football

Midway through the first half a tremor, thought to measure 3.0 on the Richter scale, hit the Tokyo area. Play continued and the players seemed unaware, although there was an audible reaction from the sizeable crowd in the national stadium, the venue for the 1964 Olympics.

United missed several glaring chances and their continued profligacy means that neither Ruud van Nistelrooy, Wayne Rooney nor Louis Saha has scored in the three tour games so far. Van Nistelrooy's frustration was clear as he became involved in an altercation with team-mate Rio Ferdinand after the final whistle.

Sir Alex Ferguson, the United manager, said: "After the first few minutes we dominated the game and had an awful lot of chances. In the main I was happy with the quality. We created a lot of chances and the movement was good, especially in the second half.

"But hopefully we are not going to miss as many as that in the Champions League - it was like the [FA] Cup final." United dominated Arsenal in the Cup final only to lose on penalties and their poor scoring record cost them dearly last season with Arsenal scoring 29 more League goals and Chelsea 14 more.

Ferguson gave several fringe players a start, but they conceded their first goal of the tour within five minutes when a left-foot volley from Motoyama gave Tim Howard no chance. The Antler fans from Ibaraki, two hours north of Tokyo, were still celebrating with giant flags when Ryan Giggs equalised for United two minutes later.

United introduced Rooney, Alan Smith and Mikaël Silvestre after half time. As United pressed, the Brazilian Kleberson, who will leave Old Trafford if a satisfactory offer is received, came close after 54 minutes.

Rooney hit a fierce effort wide on the hour and Cristiano Ronaldo, the game's liveliest player, had a curling effort saved.United dominated, their best chance coming through Park Ji-Sung, Ronaldo's replacement, in the 83rd minute. Put clear on the edge of the six-yard box, the South Korean scooped the ball high over the bar.

Park was withdrawn two minutes later with blood pouring from his face after a gash to the head. Saha and Van Nistelrooy also missed late chances. "Credit to them - two great goals," said Giggs. "We had our chances in the second half."

Tomorrow United play Urawa Reds, Japan's best-supported side who they beat when they last toured Japan in 1997 By then they will know their first opponents in the European Cup. United's shooting needs to improve drastically before then.

Manchester United (4-4-2): Howard; P Neville, Ferdinand, G Neville (Silvestre, 45), O'Shea (Bardsley, 73); Ronaldo (Park Ji-Sung, 69), Kleberson, Miller (Smith, 45), Jones (Rooney, 45); Saha (Van Nistelrooy, 61), Giggs.

Kashima Antlers (4-4-2): Sogahata; Uchida (Abe, 75), Iwamasa, Haneda, Araiba; Aoki, Fernando (Masuda, 81), Ogasawara, Motoyama (Ishikawa, 79); Nozawa (Fukai, 58), Suzuki (Kaneko, 85).

Referee: B J Sun (China).

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