Rooney rocks as Manchester United stun Barcelona 3-1
Wayne Rooney got on the scoresheet as Manchester United scored a morale-boosting 3-1 friendly victory over European champions Barcelona on Saturday.
Santa Clara (USA): Wayne Rooney got on the scoresheet as Manchester United scored a morale-boosting 3-1 friendly victory over European champions Barcelona on Saturday.
Caught in a crowd: Man Utd's Wayne Rooney (in white) is surrounded by a host of Barcelona players during their International Champions Cup encounter at the Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California on Saturday. United won 3-1. Pic/AFP
Rooney, Jesse Lingard and Adnan Januzaj got United's goals to settle an entertaining game in front of 68,416 fans at the Levi's Stadium, home of the NFL's San Francisco 49ers. Rafinha scored a late consolation for Barcelona (90th min), lashing home a shot before Januzaj netted United's third just 30 seconds later.
Messi, Neymar absent
Barcelona, missing superstars Lionel Messi and Neymar after their exertions in the Copa America, were left ruing a series of chances that hit the woodwork. Barcelona could have been 2-0 up within the opening minutes, Luis Suarez crashing a free-kick off the post after only four minutes with United goalkeeper David De Gea beaten. Moments later, De Gea was pressed into action when Sergi Roberto burst through only to shoot directly at the United keeper with the goal at his mercy.
United made Barcelona pay for their early profligacy in the seventh minute when Rooney headed the Red Devils into the lead, punishing slack marking to power Ashley Young's corner into the net past Marc Andre Ter Stegen. United might have added to their lead in the 25th minute when good work by Juan Mata down the right saw Rooney go clear in the box, rounding Ter Stegen but unable to cut back to United's attack. Young meanwhile, should have doubled United's lead in the 28th minute.
The left winger advanced purposefully into Barcelona territory and as defenders backed off was presented with a clear shot at goal. The midfielder's shot was too close to Ter Stegen however and the Barcelona 'keeper parried it to safety. At the other end Barcelona continued to chase an equaliser and Suarez's shot from the top of the area came off the woodwork on 43 minutes. Around the hour mark, Suarez then finished one low past De Gea but was ruled offside.
Eleven changes for Utd
United rang the changes on 63 minutes, removing their entire starting XI. The change yielded instant results, with Tyler Blackett crossing low from the left for Lingard to tuck away the finish for 2-0. United might even have extended their lead moments later when Januzaj latched onto a long ball but shot just wide.