A late Aston Villa equaliser ruined Erik ten Hag’s perfect Manchester United pre-season, as Steven Gerrard’s side came from behind to draw 2-2 in Australia.
The Dutch boss has enjoyed a good start to his Man United tenure on the pitch, having already beaten Liverpool, Melbourne Victory and Crystal Palace, as they prepare for the new Premier League season.
Jadon Sancho has been one of the Red Devils’ key men during their tour of Asia and Australia, and the England man scored his third goal of pre-season – the same amount he scored in the league in 2021/22.
He put his side ahead on 25 minutes after a lovely move, which resulted in Luke Shaw crossing for the former Borussia Dortmund man, who volleyed home from inside the six-yard box.
Ten Hag has already begun to implement a clear philosophy at the club and that was evident, particularly in the first half.
And some more slick football led to their second of the game just before half-time, after Fred’s clipped ball over the top of the defence fell to Sancho, who was played in on goal in the torrential Australian rain.
And the scorer of the first goal turned provider, as he squared the ball to teammate Marcus Rashford, whose wayward effort deflected off Aston Villa man Matty Cash and into the back of the net.
Gerrard made changes at the break, bringing on Jamaican winger Leon Bailey, who made a real difference for the Midlanders.
The speedy wide-man quickly pulled one back for Gerrard’s side, who tricked Shaw with some stepovers and curled past David de Gea superbly.
Villa continued to apply pressure through the second half, in complete contrast to the opening 45 minutes, but the Red Devils stayed resolute and managed to hold out for the victory.
Part of that was down to another decent performance from skipper Harry Maguire, who has received criticism from some supporters during the tour.
Definitely some boos again as Maguire’s name is announced on the big screen. More cheers than boos, but still more boos. #mufc
— Samuel Luckhurst (@samuelluckhurst) July 23, 2022
He was booed before their clash with Crystal Palace and journalists at the ground reported that, while it wasn’t to the same intensity, there were still some jeers for the Man United man.
Maguire, along with the other nine outfield players, were replaced with 20 minutes to go, as a more youthful United side took to the field.
And it was then that Villa managed to equalise after being 2-0 down, just as they did in the league meeting at Villa Park.
Bailey was involved again, when his corner was met by defender Callum Chambers, who headed past De Gea in the Red Devils’ net.
The full-time whistle was blown immediately after the ball crossed the line, which Gerrard celebrated as any former Liverpool player should again United.
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