Manchester United v Melbourne Victory 2022: United win 4-1 in front of 74,157 spectators

A huge crowd was treated to some of the best players in the world as Melbourne scared Victory United. Meanwhile, a big name made a late cameo.

The red carpet was rolled out and thousands of passionate football fans packed the MCG to welcome Manchester United back to Australia for the first time in almost a decade, but the global powerhouses weren’t taken lightly by a brave Melbourne Victory team.

While the competition was nothing more than an exhibition match and pre-season preparation for players looking to get updated ahead of their respective campaigns, United had to come from behind to claim victory – and went 4-1 as winner out.

74,157 fans were on hand to greet arguably the two greatest sides of their respective nations, with the Shane Warne stand notably resembling a patchwork quilt of red with a splash of navy blue.

In just his second game at the helm, new United boss Erik ten Hag fielded an almost full eleven as players such as captain Harry Maguire, Portuguese maestro Bruno Fernandes and star winger Jadon Sancho were among the starters.

Among those absent were world champion defender Raphael Varane, Spanish star shooter David de Gea and of course, to the dismay of many in attendance, Cristiano Ronaldo, whose future at United is yet to be determined.

However, for most of the first half it seemed as if a shock result was imminent and the pre-match noise that echoed around the arena as many of United’s favorite sons were read out was quickly drowned out.

Instead, it was Victory’s ardent supporters, in the unfamiliar position of being the smaller contingent of supporters in their hometown, the ones who screamed the loudest as Chris Ikonomidis put Tony Popovic’s side ahead after a stunning counterattack.

And in those 40 minutes and beyond, it was indeed the Melbourne fans who were the loudest throughout most of the competition – they provided a sensational soundtrack and light show with a series of torches lit throughout the game.

Only until United finally stopped shooting spaces as Scott McTominay’s equalizer after a deflection woke the sleeping Red Devils supporters before Anthony Martial put the visitors ahead just before half-time to restore the level.

And while the Mexican waves began to circulate the ‘G in the second half, United made the result two of two wins under their new Dutch boss with a neat finish from Marcus Rashford and an unfortunate own goal from Victory youngster Edmond Lupancu.

In the end, United fans were sent home happy and ultimately got their money’s worth by serenading their heroes with ‘Glory, glory, Man United’ after the final whistle and hoping they can celebrate more when the Die Red Devils return to the ‘G on Tuesday to take on Crystal Palace.

Victory, on the other hand, was rolled out for the first time since the heartbreaking semi-final loss to Western United with a changed formation and a host of new faces.

Opting for the more defensive back five instead of his familiar back four, Tony Popovic handed starting XI debuts to new shot stopper Paul Izzo and centre-back George Timotheou – the former being particularly impressive as United pressed for an equalizer in the first half – while also playing midfielder Jay Barnett as a makeshift full-back to fill his defensive absences.

The biggest reception of the evening, however, went to Nani, who made his winning debut off the bench and played the final minutes of the competition against the side he had played for nearly 150 times during his illustrious career.

MELBOURNE VICTORY 1ST (Ikonomidis 5′)

Manchester United 4 (43rd McTominay, 45th Martial, 78th Rashford, 90th Lupancu (OG))

VENUE: MCG

Originally released when Manchester United beat Melbourne Victory 4-1 in MCG friendly

https://www.codesports.com.au/football/manchester-united-defeat-melbourne-victory-41-in-mcg-friendly/news-story/900b6ea5774daef141f35b3cef915820?nk=76d836da8414105203355b217fad00fe-1657905488 Manchester United v Melbourne Victory 2022: United win 4-1 in front of 74,157 spectators

Nate Jones

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