Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford combined for a moment of magic to help Manchester United post a 2-0 win over Perth Glory in front of 50,206 fans at Optus Stadium.
A second-string United starting XI was unable to score a goal in the first half of Saturday night’s pre-season friendly, but the introduction of 11 new players after the break gave the visitors some added spark.
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With the likes of Rashford, Pogba, Marcos Rojo, and Juan Mata running rampant, it seemed only a matter of time before Glory’s defence was broken.
And it was Rashford and Pogba who made sure it happened in the 60th minute. Pogba, who is eager to leave United, unleashed a neat back heel to find Rashford in the box.
Rashford turned blindly and nailed a neat strike to send the crowd into raptures.
United added a second in the 85th minute when James Garner picked off a loose ball before firing from outside the box.
Chances were few and far between for Glory.
Former Melbourne City striker Bruno Fornaroli made a promising debut for Glory, doing a series of nice things despite a lack of supply.
Glory entered the match missing key players Diego Castro, Matthew Spiranovic, Andy Keogh, Alex Grant, Dino Djulbic, and Chris Ikonomidis.
James Garner (right) is congratulated by Angel Gomes after scoring.Source: AAP
The player crisis forced coach Tony Popovic to recruit in some of the club’s youth team players, and it was a special moment in the 76th minute when he was able to introduce his two sons — 17-year-old Kristian and 15-year-old Gabriel. Another 15-year-old, Joshua Rawlins, came on for the dying moments of the match.
Manchester United dominated the opening half, with the lightning pace of new recruit Daniel James worrying Perth.
Glory midfielder Neil Kilkenny and Joel Chianese dished out hard tackles on James, but it was Shane Lowry’s crunching bump on the mop-haired Tahith Chong that was the biggest of the lot.
Paul Pogba looks for support.Source: Getty Images
Perth weathered the storm in the first half, but the introduction of United’s stars after the break proved too much for Glory to handle.
Interestingly, striker Romelu Lukaku wasn’t featured in United’s 24-man squad for the game.
The official word from the club was that Lukaku was rested because of a niggle.
But with Lukaku having expressed his interest in leaving Manchester United to play in Serie A, his absence against Glory will raise further questions about his future.
United will be back in action on Wednesday night when they take on arch rivals Leeds United.
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