Winger scores in each half to give Mancheser United XI friendly win
A goal in each half from Portuguese International Nani gave a Manchester United XI a 2-0 victory at Gresty Road this evening. Nani hit an unstoppable free-kick to give Warren Joyce’s side the lead after 11 minutes and his well taken second goal just before the hour mark sealed the win in front of just over a gate of 5,000 at Gresty Road.
Nani was not the only International on parade either, as Manchester United gave run-outs to regular first teamers Nemanja Vidic and Antonio Valencia. The likes of the promising Scott Wooton, Federico Macheda and Davide Petrucci were also on display.
Centre half George Ray directed an early downward header just wide in the early exchanges. Another flowing move from Crewe saw Anthony Grant and Matt Tootle combine to find Mathias Pogba inside the penalty area but his side footed shot was saved by an alert Sam Johnstone.
minute after Tootle was it appeared harshly penalised for a foul on the edge of the box. After a short delay, Nani placed his shot perfectly into the corner of Alan Martin’s net. It was precision from the flying winger. thManchester United soon got into their passing stride and took an 11
Crewe then suffered another blow with Pogba limping off with a knee injury after a coming together with Wotton. After a promising start to the proceedings, it was the last thing Crewe needed and Pogba is sure to be missing for the seasonal opener against Rotherham and beyond.
Pogba had to be replaced by Michael West. It continued to a competitive match and United went close with Wotton just failing to connect with a Nani corner and then the same two combined to see the full-back drill one wide.
A dangerous cross from Valencia presented a chance to Macheda but he got under his header and it failed to trouble Martin.
At the other end, Crewe were finding it difficult to penetrate the United back line, but Ryan Colclough was eager to get some shots off and Max Clayton had a couple of half chances. Clayton got in once but had his shot pushed behind by Johnstone.
Tootle was a constant threat for Crewe down the left and his clever little pass nearly found the run of West, but it was just ahead of him.
The start of the second half saw Steve Davis completely change his back four and Lee Molyneux replace Grant in midfield. An early chance for the visitors saw an excellent Tom Lawrence test the reflexes of Martin before Moore steered a cross come shot from Clayton into the side netting.
Molyneux almost had an immediate impact when he somehow dug a shot out but his superb effort clipped Johnstone’s crossbar and over. In fairness, the giant United stopper probably had it covered.
The tackles continued to fly in with Vidic hauling Clayton to the ground and Davis do likewise to Nani. There was a much needed competitive edge to the game.
Nani sealed the win after collecting a pass from Valencia. He showed incredible strength to hold off the close intentions of Thierry Audel and after staying on his feet, had the awareness of thought to screw it back across a helpless Martin for his second goal of the evening.
Vidic soon made way for young Ben Pearson and that signaled a flurry of substitutes that always break up the fluency of play. Nani made way for Bebe to a standing ovation and AJ Leitch-Smith came on for the hard working Clayton.
Crewe had a chance to get back into the game but after Audel's initial header was blocked, the ball broke to birthday boy Jon Guthrie but his follow up shot was blocked by Tom Thorpe.
Bebe tried his luck with an ambitious effort from 25 yards that took a wicked bounce but was collected by Martin.
United produced some sparkling one touch football and Macheda shot wide after arguably the most flowing football of the evening.
The game did suffer a lull in the second half with both sides needing that extra bit of quality in the final third of the pitch. Ellis was close to reaching a late cross from Leitch-Smith but Crewe frustratingly didn’t test young Johnstone as much as we would have liked.
Crewe: Martin, Mellor, Tootle, Davis, Ray, Turton, Moore, Grant, Pogba, Clayton, Colclough
Subs: Garratt, Phillips, Ellis, Guthrie, Audel, West, Smith, Molyneux, Ellington, Robertson
Manchester United XI: Johnstone, Wotton, Vermijl, Thorpe, Vidic, Cole, Valencia, Lawrence, Macheda, Petrucci, Nani
Subs: Gollini, Barmby, Wilson, Bebe, Pearson, Rothwell, Grimshaw