Shinji Kagawa opens account for Manchester United
Shinji Kagawa scored his first goal for Manchester United as his strike secured a 1-0 win over Shanghai Shenhua in Sir Alex Ferguson’s side’s third pre-season game.
The Japanese midfielder volleyed home in the 68th minute making no mistake from six yards after great work from Bebe down the left who found the 23-year-old in space in the area.
Shanghai rarely threatened the United goal but their best chance fell to Joel Griffiths but he was denied by a great save from Anders Lindegaard as the Red Devils ran out comfortable victors as the score-line didn’t do their dominance of the game justice.
Ferguson named a strong side as new-signing Kagawa made his second start of pre-season while Nick Powell made his first start for United after joining from Crewe earlier this summer.
Lindegaard started between the sticks while stalwart’s Rio Ferdinand and Michael Carrick anchored the defence with youngsters Frederic Veseli and Robbie Brady operated at right and left back respectively.
Shanghai were without former Chelsea duo Nicolas Anelka and Didier Drogba, as with a busy domestic schedule the Chinese side opted to rest them both.
The Red Devils started the game on the front foot as Brady was causing problems down the left and United could have felt aggrieved not to be given a penalty after the Irishman was brought down in the area but the referee pointed for a goal-kick after build-up play with Davide Petrucci.
Ferguson’s side should have been ahead in the 23rd minute as Petrucci played a lovely through ball for Powell who was one-on-one with Shengjiong Qiu after beating the offside trap but he could only put his right-footed effort wide of the post.
The Chinese side were struggling to get a hold of the ball and when they did they made mistakes giving the ball away.
Anderson and Kagawa nearly capitalised on, one of these errors as the Brazilian intercepted and found the Japanese midfielder with a pinpoint pass but he was crowded out as Shanghai flooded back in numbers before he could shoot.
United were getting opportunities in the home side’s half but couldn’t produce the final ball they needed to get through the Shanghai back-line as Brady especially was often wasteful as he failed to find a team-mate after getting into good positions time and again.
The home-side almost made them pay for their lack of clinical edge but Griffiths’ effort was well saved by Lindegaard who tipped the ball over the bar after the striker had beaten the challenge of Ferdinand and was through on goal with only the Dane to beat.
United started the second-half strongly and went agonizingly close to taking the lead through Anderson whose left-footed shot from outside the area went inches past the post following good work from Kagawa to create the opening.
The Japanese midfielder, signed from Borussia Dortmund, was impressing for the Red Devils this time he beat his man before sliding a sublime ball to Federico Macheda but the Italian couldn’t find the net when well placed in the area.
Ferguson’s side continued to press for the opener and Shanghai were grateful to keeper Qiu for keeping them level as he made a great stop to deny Bebe whose volley seemed destined for the net after he latched onto Antonio Valencia’s cross from the right.
The Red Devils pressure finally tolled in the 68th minute when Kagawa scored his first goal for the club volleying the ball into the top corner, with the help of a slight deflection, following great work down the left from Bebe who expertly found the 23-year-old unmarked in the box.
Substitute Paul Scholes almost doubled the lead minutes later as Marnick Vermijl raided down the right and found the midfielder with a pinpoint cross but the 37-year-old could only head the ball into the ground and over the bar.
The home side pressed for an equaliser late in the game but it was the visitors who looked more likely as Javier Hernandez came close to doubling their lead but he saw his shot rattle the crossbar however this wasn’t costly as United ran out comfortable victors.