Manchester United faced off against Spanish opposition Rayo Vallecano at Old Trafford just a day after their defeat against Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid.
Erik ten Hag fielded a starting eleven composed mainly of youngsters with a few first-team players. The most conspicuous addition to the team was disgruntled striker Cristiano Ronaldo, who started for the first time under the new manager in United’s final pre-season game ahead of the new season.
New signing Lisandro Martinez was also in the starting lineup with Christian Eriksen, with the duo making their unofficial bow in front of the Old Trafford faithful.
The Red Devils fielded a much-changed starting eleven consisting of Tom Heaton in goal in place of David de Gea, Ethan Laird, and Alex Telles in the wing-back positions, and team captain Raphael Varane forming the center-back pairing with Martinez. James Garner, Donny Van de Beek, and Eriksen formed the midfield trio.
Ronaldo led the line for the team, with academy stars Tahith Chong and Alejandro Garnacho on either side of the Portuguese captain.
Vallecano forced Heaton into an early save 10 seconds into the game with the Spanish team fashioning a chance that curved the United team wide open. With a frantic start to the game, United looked clumsy in possession, contrary to their displays in Bangkok, Australia, and Oslo.
Ronaldo came close to breaking the deadlock in the eleventh minute, receiving a Van de Beek ball inside the box, who played him through, but the star man could only blaze it wildly over the bar. Three minutes later, the standout performer of the first half, Garnacho, cleverly laid the ball into the path of Chong whose weak shot was easily saved by the Vallecano goalkeeper.
Eriksen nearly opened his United account after half an hour when the ball fell nicely for him, but his shot was deflected just wide of the post. Garnacho skillfully skipped past a few Vallecano players just before the break before teeing up Chong again, who fluffed his lines, bending his shot high and wide. The first 45, like yesterday against the Los Colchoneros, ended in a 0-0 stalemate.
The only change of the second half was Amad Diallo who came in for Ronaldo. The Ivorian youngster wasted no time, immediately putting United in the lead in the 47th minute converting a Telles shot from distance that was spilled by the opposition goalkeeper.
The Spanish side leveled the score ten minutes later through Alvaro Garcia. Telles allowed his man to advance and fire a shot which was saved by Heaton who could only push it to the waiting Garcia for a rebound. The manager responded by bringing on Hannibal Mejbri and Eric Bailly for Eriksen and Martinez who oozed calm and finesse on his Old Trafford debut.
Shola Shoretire and Zidane Iqbal came on for Garner and the impressive Garnacho, who got a nod of approval from his manager on his way to the bench. The young Argentine’s display made for a man-of-the-match award. Iqbal came close to putting United in the lead again but his effort came an inch wide.
17-year-old Isak Hansen-Aaroen, who has been training with the first team, came on for Chong and was immediately involved, seeing a powerfully driven shot blocked and almost setting up Telles for a second goal.
United’s final game of the pre-season ahead of the 2022/2023 season ended in a 1-1 draw.