FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Manchester United kicked off the Herbalife World Football Challenge in style by posting a 4-1 victory over New England at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday night.
All five goals came in the second half as the Revs managed to hold out against the Premier League winners during the opening stanza. Michael Owen and Federico Macheda struck soon into the second half, but Kenny Mansally immediately pulled a goal back for the Revs. Macheda's second goal secured the result, while Ji-Sung Park capped the scoring with a fine team goal nine minutes from time.
United established their superiority in possession from the outset, but the Revolution carved out the first chance of the match after 12 minutes. Chris Tierney pushed up from his left fullback role to swing in a cross for Shalrie Joseph, but the veteran midfielder directed his header wide of the far post.
That foray represented the best chance for New England in the opening half, but United lacked the incisiveness to secure what would have been a deserved advantage before the break.
Dimitar Berbatov came closest for United four minutes before halftime as the Premier League champions constructed their best move of the half. Wayne Rooney played Fábio in behind the Revolution back line, and the defender cut in from the left flank and danced along the end line before pulling back for Berbatov in the middle. Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis did well to slide over from the near post, stopping Berbatov's one-timer with a spectacular effort.
Rooney saw his header cleared away from an open net by Kevin Alston a minute later as United had to settle for level terms at the interval.
Owen sparked a goal flurry by opening the scoring six minutes after half time. It all looked too easy as United strung together an 11-pass sequence in the buildup to stretch out the Revs. Carrick's telling pass concluded the stretch by playing Owen through and permitting him to easily slot home inside the far post past back-up keeper Bobby Shuttleworth.
Macheda doubled the advantage three minutes later as United threatened to run riot. Carrick once again proved instrumental as he latched onto a pass behind the line before playing the Italian striker into space to slot home.
New England struggled to come terms with the match after making six substitutes at halftime, but the Revs hauled back a goal against the run of play in the 56th minute. Mansally drew a rather fortunate free kick on the edge of the penalty area and compounded his luck by deflecting Benny Feilhaber's service into the net.
Macheda put the result beyond doubt five minutes later by scoring his second goal of the evening. Off a short corner, Revolution midfielder Sainey Nyassi flicked his defensive header toward the unmarked Macheda at the back stick and the United striker buried the opportunity inside the near post.
United saved its best goal of the night for last as Park finished off a three-man move in style with nine minutes to play. Gabriel Obertan created the necessary space with a series of stepovers and played a square ball inside the penalty area. Park played a quick one-two with Ryan Giggs to create a one-versus-one behind the Revs' line and then scooped his effort over Bobby Shuttleworth to provide one last highlight for the bumper crowd.
MUFC – Michael Owen (Michael Carrick) 51
MUFC – Federico Macheda (Michael Carrick) 54
NE – Kenny Mansally (Benny Feilhaber) 56
MUFC – Federico Macheda (Rafael) 61
MUFC – Ji-Sung Park (Ryan Giggs) 80
New England Revolution: Matt Reis (Bobby Shuttleworth 46), Chris Tierney (Darrius Barnes 46), A.J. Soares (Otto Loewy 46), Franco Coria (Ryan Cochrane 46), Kevin Alston (Kenny Mansally 46), Zak Boggs, Benny Feilhaber (Ousmane Dabo 65), Shalrie Joseph, Pat Phelan (Stephen McCarthy 46), Sainey Nyassi (Ryan Guy 65), Rajko Lekic (Zack Schilawski 64)
Substitutes Not Used: Tim Murray, Alan Koger, Diego Fagundez, Andrew Sousa, Ryan Kinne
Manchester United: Anders Lindegaard, Fabio, Jonathan Evans, Nemanja Vidic (Rio Ferdinand 46), Rafael, Ashley Young (Gabriel Obertan 67), Anderson (Mame Diouf 75), Michael Carrick (Ji-Sung Park 75) Nani (Ryan Giggs 67), Dimitar Berbatov (Federico Macheda 46), Wayne Rooney (Michael Owen 46)
Substitutes Not Used: Sam Johnstone
Referee: Mark Geiger
Assistant Referees: Claudio Badea, Steven Taylor
Fourth Official: Niko Bratis
Weather: Cloudy and 69 degrees