Sunday, July 31, 2005

[manchesterunited_rulez] Digest Number 287

There is 1 message in this issue.

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1. Rooney sinks Red Diamonds
From: Larry Cai <>


Message: 1
Date: Sat, 30 Jul 2005 22:33:25 +0800 (CST)
From: Larry Cai <>
Subject: Rooney sinks Red Diamonds

Rooney Double Ends Tour On A High

Pre-Season Friendly
Urawa Reds 0
Manchester United 2
Saitama Stadium

Manchester United ended their pre-season tour of Asia with a solid win in Saitama, but the last word was left to Wayne Rooney.

The 19-year-old striker put United ahead with his first goal of the summer, a cool finish into the bottom corner. His second was a snapshot of his undoubted genius.

Skipping past two defenders, Rooney worked an opening for himself slightly right of centre in the penalty area. Where most fowards would have looked for a route past the advancing goalkeeper, the 19-year-old simply lofted the ball over the keeper in a goal reminiscent of Cantona's chipped goal against Sunderland at Old Trafford in 1996.

United, wearing the new blue away strip for the first time, had good possession in the first half, but despite a three-pronged attack of Giuseppe Rossi, Louis Saha and Rooney, could not break down Urawa Reds.

Rooney was everywhere. He had the freedom of the pitch in the opening 45 minutes whether it was receiving the ball deep in midfield, finding space on flanks or lurking menacingly on the edge of the box. Few blades of grass went untouched.

The teenager had a shot from 30 yards that zipped past the left post, but overall United lacked penetration.

That changed in the second half with the introduction of Cristiano Ronaldo, who opened the game up. The 20 year-old is able to rapidly change a defensive position into an attacking one - with tricks added for sheer enjoyment along the way.

As against Kashima Antlers and Beijing Hyundai, Ronaldo buzzed off the crowd wowing at his every flick, turn, stepover or dummy.

If Ronaldo had fans off their seats, Rooney left them in awe, first with a display of power and opportunism to get his first goal and sheer brilliance for his second.

Six minutes after the restart, Paul Scholes found the smallest of gaps in the Urawa Reds defence and threaded a pass through to Rooney. The striker muscled the ball into his possession and calmly put United in front.

After an hour though, Rooney did for the 48,000 fans in the Saitama Stadium what he has done on numourous occasions, most notably against Fenerbahce, Middlesbrough and Newcastle, since joining United. His performances and goals are exactly the sort of reason the phrase 'worth the entrance fee alone' was coined.

Rooney's Cantona-esque finish wasn't quite followed with the nonchalant celebration Eric employed after his lobbed goal against Palace nine years ago. But the Liverpool-born forward walked calmly back to the centre circle.

The wider implication for Rooney's - and Ronaldo's - performances on this tour is the potential that, with rest and a full pre-season under their belts, they can be even more influential next term.

Just as their stock has risen in the Far East with displays of their prodigal talents, their importance to United reclaiming the Premiership and Champions League increases with every moment of skill, intelligent pass or jaw-dropping goal.

Report by Ben Hibbs.

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