Manchester United concluded the Tour 2013 presented by Aon with a 1-1 draw against AIK Fotboll as Angelo Henriquez netted his first goal in the senior side.
The Chilean striker pounced to convert a Wilfried Zaha cross and earn a share of the spoils at the Friends Arena. While the story may have been written for Robin van Persie to score on his 30th birthday, it was another Robin, AIK’s Quaison, who broke the deadlock with a splendid strike.
Nani and Jonny Evans were both withdrawn due to injury, which is a worry with the Community Shield against Wigan Athletic and new 2013/14 season on the horizon, as the Reds were given a real test against the Swedish outfit. Nani was bright in the opening exchanges – releasing Patrice Evra with a cute backheel and popping up on the right to create a good chance for Zaha that his fellow winger could not keep down.
Nabil Bahoui mustered a couple of decent efforts in response for the home side, striking through the ball to send a drive dipping wide and then screwing off target after Martin Kayongo-Mutumba had a shot blocked. Kayongo-Mutumba then tested Anders Lindegaard with a speculative shot from distance, with the Dane equal to it.
Robin van Persie naturally looked a threat in a lone striker’s role and went close when working an angle and sweeping a curling shot just wide following neat passes by Zaha and Rafael. Moments later, when Nani was bundled over by Ebenezer Ofori, van Persie latched onto the loose ball to force a one-handed save out of Kyriakkos Stamatoupolos
The two keepers then made startling stops inside a minute. Firstly, Rafael was unable to cut out Kayongo-Mutumbu’s pass at full stretch, with Kennedy Igboananike forcing a point-blank block by Lindegaard when left in a one-on-one situation. United stormed up the other end with van Persie freeing Evra and meeting the Frenchman’s cross on the full, only for Stamatoupolos to pull off an amazing save.
There was disappointment when Nani pulled up sharply with a groin injury and was subsequently withdrawn, but Henriquez was afforded a first opportunity to impress David Moyes, initially in a left-wing role before switching flanks with Zaha.
AIK finished the half strongly with Ibrahim Moro, Igboananike and the lively Kayongo-Mutumba all registering attempts on Lindegaard’s goal but failing to prevent the teams entering the break all-square at 0-0. The hosts continued to press after the restart and took the lead when Alhassan Kamara’s flick allowed Quaison to turn past Nemanja Vidic and curl an unstoppable finish past substitute Ben Amos.
Vidic had to be alert to prevent Robert Ahman Persson storming through on goal soon afterwards and almost levelled himself when rising to meet a Ryan Giggs corner, only to see his downward header bounce up against the bar. Yet the Reds still had to contend with some near-misses at the other end with Bahoui’s Ronaldo-esque free-kick going close to doubling the lead. Evans was forced to hobble off with Chris Smalling taking his place which must be a concern to boss Moyes
Henriquez moved into a central position and was at the heart of most of the initial attempts to retrieve the situation, being foiled by substitute keeper Patrik Carlgren on one occasion. The 19-year-old United striker, who finished last term on loan at Wigan, was not to be denied and levelled with a poacher’s finish, side-footing home from close range with his left foot after Zaha had collected a Michael Carrick pass and drilled over an inviting centre.
Giggs was afforded a warm ovation when making way for Bebe, and a cross from the Portuguese winger looked certain to result in a goal, but Anderson and Danny Welbeck were unable to convert during an untidy goalmouth scramble. With time running out, Welbeck raced through only to be halted by Carlgren’s brave challenge and Bebe’s crosses caused problems with van Persie’s header from a promising position clutched by Carlgren as United had to settle for a draw in front of over 30,000 supporters.
United: Lindegaard (Amos 46); Rafael, Vidic, Evans (Smalling 53), Evra; Zaha (Welbeck 78), Carrick, Anderson, Giggs (Bebe 78), Nani (Henriquez 31); van Persie. Sub not used: Jones.
AIK: Stamatopoulos (Carlgren 46); Backman (Sundberg 85), Milosevic (Lorentzson 46), Johansson (Karlsson 46), Ofori (Owusu 77); Kayongo-Mutumba (Goitom 69), Bahoui (Lundholm 59), Quaison (Kouakou 59), Moro (Saletros 73); Borges (Persson 46), Igboananike (Kamara 46).
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