SHANGHAI: Teenager Angel Gomes squeezed in the winner 10 minutes from time as Manchester United beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 in an occasionally bad-tempered friendly on Thursday in Shanghai. French striker Anthony Martial put Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United ahead in the first half, before Spurs substitute Lucas Moura replied with a scrappy effort in the second.
After wholesale changes from both sides — Solskjaer swapped out all 11 starters at the break — Spurs had looked the more dangerous, before the 18-year-old Londoner Gomes struck. Victory makes it four wins from four pre-season games for United. The Norwegian Solskjaer, under pressure to prove that he is the man to take United back into the Champions League, named a strong side that included wantaway midfielder Paul Pogba and new signings Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
Counterpart Mauricio Pochettino fielded a more experimental team, but started the England international duo of Dele Alli and Harry Kane, along with new man Tanguy Ndombele. United nearly took the lead on just four minutes when Martial fired across stand-in goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga, but his powerful effort struck the post.
Despite the fierce humidity there was an edge to the International Champions Cup game not always present in pre-season friendlies. Alli should have scored when all alone minutes later but he scuffed his shot with only David de Gea to beat. Attacking midfielder Alli, perhaps frustrated with himself, was booked on 12 minutes after a second late challenge at a full Hongkou Stadium. He was booed off when subbed on an hour.
Martial, whose United career has threatened to peter out at times, made no mistake on 21 minutes when he rifled the ball under Gazzaniga from close range. United were incensed when Moussa Sissoko left the sprightly winger James in a heap by the corner flag, suspecting a stamp by the Spurs midfielder. Tottenham captain Kane angrily waded in and there was a scuffle, with Gazzaniga leaving his goal to join in and several United players also involved.
Andreas Pereira, a combative midfield presence for United, was next to be booked after he cut down Kane. Young Spurs defender Japhet Tanganga was yellow-carded too. Spurs, fresh from a 3-2 win over Juventus in Singapore on Sunday, brought South Korean forward Son Heung-min on at the break in place of Kane. Brazil’s Moura also came on. United face Norwegian side Kristiansund in their next friendly, on Wednesday, while Spurs play Real Madrid. – AFP