Home » Match report: Manchester United 3 – 1 Crystal Palace

Match report: Manchester United 3 – 1 Crystal Palace

by Derick Kinoti


Manchester United were in action in Melbourne, against Premier League opposition Crystal Palace at the MCG in just their third game of the pre-season tour.

United manager Erik ten Hag fielded a strong starting eleven in the first half that consisted of established first-team players, with new signing Tyrell Malacia starting ahead of Luke Shaw, who was on the bench.

United number 1 and Spanish international David de Gea returned to the side in place of Tom Heaton after recovering from a knock he picked against Liverpool.

United were again on show with the new manager’s tactics and philosophy seemingly on full display. In the first half, the team not only controlled the game’s tempo but also looked comfortable in possession. The players were quick to win the ball back with the counter-press, forcing the Eagles into mistakes and losing possession.

In the first half, the full-backs looked incredibly comfortable and threatening when going forward. Malacia’s ball-carrying ability and functioning as an extra midfielder stood out, with the Dutchman playing a key role in United’s opener.

United took the lead in the seventeenth minute courtesy of in-form Frenchman Anthony Martial who brilliantly controlled a lofted ball from Diogo Dalot with his chest before putting it past the opposition keeper. This was the United’s number 9’s third goal in as many games as he looks to build on an excellent pre-season campaign ahead of the new season.

Donny Van de Beek came on in the second half in place of Scott McTominay, instantly impacting the game, with a sublime assist inside the box for Marcus Rashford who slotted it in calmly just three minutes after the break to grab his second of the pre-season tour. In a brilliantly worked goal that felt like an Ajax attack, Martial brought the ball down, electing to pass to Donny, who teed up the tap-in for Rashford for United’s second of the game.

Jadon Sancho was on the scoresheet for United’s third in the 59th minute in what could only be described as a finish of pure class, from a Martial assist, with a brilliant dummy to fool the Eagles goalkeeper and draw an early slide from Joel Ward. The Englishman has also been in fine form in pre-season that will certainly please United fans.

Ten Hag made wholesale personnel changes five minutes after the hour mark with Amad Diallo, Hannibal Mejbri, Charlie Savage, Zidane Iqbal, Will Fish, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Alex Telles, Anthony Elanga and Ethan Laird coming in for Dalot, Maguire, Lindelof, Malacia, Fred, Sancho, Fernandes, Rashford and Martial.

The Red Devils’ defence was breached in the 74th minute, from a corner with Ward heading it past De Gea who could not keep it in. Ola-Adebomi forced De Gea into a smart save moments earlier from a free header, but this time the goalkeeper couldn’t keep the ball out as Ward squeezed a header past him at his near post.

United were reduced to ten men minutes later after academy youngster Fish was sent off for hauling down Akinwale, in what was seen as a denial of a clear goal-scoring opportunity by the 19-year-old. The referee was left with no choice but to brandish a red card for the young defender who will surely learn from this.

The game continued in the same fashion with United in relative control in what will impress Ten Hag. The game ended in stoppage time with a 3-1 win for the Red Devils, their third consecutive pre-season win for the new man in the dugout who sees his team score eleven and concede just two so far in the entire tour.

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