Yorke's strike ends Thailand resistance

Thailand 1 Manchester United 2
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The Independent Online

Manchester United beat the Thai national team 2-1 here yesterday, ending their pre-season tour of Asia in front of 60,000 spectators at the Rajamangala Stadium here.

In stifling heat, Ryan Giggs opened the scoring for United with a low, left-foot drive from the edge of the penalty area almost 30 minutes into the first half. Thailand's 29-year-old midfielder Tawan Sripan equalised minutes later, turning the United defence to power a right-foot drive inside goalkeeper Fabien Barthez's right post. Dwight Yorke settled the match 12 minutes from time with a header from Quinton Fortune's cross.

"Thailand can be very proud of themselves today," the Manchester United manager, Alex Ferguson, said. "They made it very difficult for us and were very exciting on the counter-attack."

United scored 16 goals and conceded only in two on their three-match tour, which also featured matches in Malaysia and Singapore. "I think the object of the tour was for the team to gel," said Ferguson, who has signed Argentine midfielder Juan Veron and Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy since United clinched their third straight Premiership title in April. Veron showed his class during the match, including an audacious cross just before half-time that set up a chance for Van Nistelrooy.

Thai fans, who avidly follow the Premiership, sent SMS text messages to the players which were spread across a screen at one end of the pitch.

Also in the stands was the Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to whom Ferguson gave a Manchester United jersey bearing the number 52 in honour of Thaksin's 52nd birthday which he celebrated last week.

Meanwhile, David Beckham knows the abuse he endures from the stands will never end. Beckham has noticed growing support for him when he captains England, but that immediately changes whenever he pulls on the red shirt of Manchester United.

He claims the abuse is so bad he is still loathe to let his wife Victoria attend some games. "I have resigned myself to the fact that it will never end," he said. "All that matters is that I can deal with it and I think I have done a good job in keeping my cool.

"It would be nice to be like Gazza, who was loved by all England fans whatever club he played for.

"When I am in an England shirt, I get a lot of support and I hope that can still happen. People think we are making a big deal out of it if Victoria doesn't go to a game, but the stick when United played Liverpool at Anfield that day proved why," he said.

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