A-League All-Stars – Moyes’ first winBy: Ian | July 22nd, 2013
Picture the scene. A pub. 2025. The final round of the Tuesday night quiz. The survivors of the brutal preliminaries: two elite outfits of pub quiz legend. With the scores tied in a dramatic finale, the questionmaster leans forward to his microphone and says: “Which player was the first to score under David Moyes’ tenure as Manchester United boss?” The cue for complete silence. Both teams look puzzled. “Right,” one team member says logically. “That was 2013, who was playing for United in 2013?” “Giggs,” one offers, comfortable in the knowledge that the 52-year old Welshmen is still an integral part of the first team. “Nah,” says another. “Not likely to be him. Put down Rooney or something.” The gentlemen in question paid no attention to the Rooney transfer saga of ‘13, and quite rightly so. But on the other team is an avid Utd fan and he takes great pride in whispering: “Jesse Lingard.” And not a single other person in the pub knew that.
However, he is completely correct and they win the quiz as a result. I doubt many people would have put money on the young man in question, but Utd’s second pre-season game in their environmentally-ridiculous pre-season Tour of Asia brought about Moyes’ first win against the A-League All Stars. This follows the first encounter against the Singha All Stars, which I didn’t cover for the simple reason it was largely dull, particularly from Utd’s perspective. A 1-0 loss. But things got up and running in Australia. Whilst the Singha All Stars, and I use the word ‘Stars’ quite wrongly, ran out victorious in the cripplingly warm conditions, the A-League offering, which was supposed to feature an all-time favourite of mine, Alessandro Del Piero (couldn’t make it, on holiday in Italy), suffered from a lack of telling quality against a lively mixture of the experienced and the youthful of Manchester.
83,127 fans, larger even than Old Trafford at full capacity, watched Utd breakthrough in just 11 minutes, as Welbeck ran over a pass to confuse the defence, which Lingard subsequently grabbed and slotted home low down to the right. Only 20, this chap, and he looked extremely bright throughout. Evra had a chance thereafter, and Lindegaard had to be vaguely awake at the other end, but the next real action was of a quality the A-League just couldn’t muster on the day. Welbeck, Lingard and Giggs combined, the ever-green wizard providing the perfectly weighted subtle ball in between the defence for Welbeck to…..score!!!! Unbelievable, that was apparently his first goal scored with his feet since April 2012 for Utd. Quite an alarming drought that puts Van Persie’s late season one, but you know, all got to comeback somewhere. 2-0. With his confidence soaring from previously nothing, Welbeck engaged again but whilst his next attempt beat the keeper, the post moved inwards and wide it went. Honestly, the post moved, Welbeck didn’t miss. Welbeck never misses.
After the restart, the under-the-cosh hosts managed what was to be their consolation for their efforts. It was actually a tidy move, as Berisha turned on the edge of the box and struck low to the left of the goal, leaving Lindegaard to perform what looked like quite a late dive. Question marks still over him, but it wasn’t to prove important, as a two-goal advantage was restored within 180 seconds. Finding his on the left edge of the opponent’s box, Lingard cleverly shifted his weight, creating acres of face between a helpless defence and struck a beautiful ball into the top right. It was finish of some confidence and whether or not Lingard gets his chance in the future Utd side, he put in a great shift in Oz.
But as promising as Lingard undoubtedly is, he can’t usurp the Flying Dutchman, Sir Robin of Van Persie, who was brought on straight after the goal to rapturous applause, the man having joined up with the squad after the first game, along with Vidic. But what was this? It was Welbeck, almost unrecognisably rounding the keeper with the goal awaiting, and the shot was cleared off the line. Sorry, that was actually quite recognisable of Welbeck’s luck. Drama over, the resulting corner was whipped in by Van Persie and found the head of Welbeck who diverted it over the keeper and in for the fourth and his second. As the clock trickled down, Van Persie finished off the one-sided encounter with an across-the-keeper finish with his right foot. 5-1 it ended, and it could well have been more as Utd’s youth combined well with its experience. It was pleasant to watch, but probably nicer for Moyes. Although it’s only pre-season and a judge of absolutely nothing, it doesn’t exactly boost morale to lose these sorts of games. But back on track, and now in Japan, having wracked up some more air miles, Utd look set to take on whoever Japan offer, with the addition of native man Kagawa to generate the local interest. Expect another enthusiastic affair. Until whenever next.
Any comments below. Anyone actually retained any interest in the Rooney saga? Anyone think Fabregas will really leave Barca? Anyone concerned we didn’t get Thiago Alcantra?