REPORT: UNITED 2 ASTON VILLA 2
Manchester United were pegged back to draw 2-2 with Aston Villa in rain-drenched Perth.
A huge thunderstorm earlier in the day had created an element of doubt over whether the Tour 2022 fixture would go ahead due to copious amounts of water on a pitch which had also hosted Leeds United versus Crystal Palace the night before.
After an inspection by match officials and representatives from the two clubs it was deemed playable, although there were a couple of apocalyptic downpours throughout the 90 minutes as the Reds led thanks to another tour strike from Jadon Sancho and an own goal from Matty Cash, who deflected Marcus Rashford’s volley past Emiliano Martinez. However, Villa hit back through Leon Bailey and, at the death, Calum Chambers.
United began the match brightly with a couple of early sighters including a blocked Sancho effort from a corner on six minutes. Seconds later, Harry Maguire rose to meet a Luke Shaw corner but his solid header was punched clear by Martinez.
At the other end, Cash fired a low drive inches wide of David De Gea’s far-right post on eight minutes, before Sancho took aim for the Reds a couple of minutes later and saw his shot pushed away, and just out of the reach of Anthony Martial.
There was nothing Villa or Martinez could do to stop Erik ten Hag’s men taking a deserved lead on 25 minutes and it was another fine team move. After Bruno Fernandes had slipped a pass in to Rashford down the left, our no.10 found Shaw who crossed for Sancho to finish smartly on the volley.
After Rashford sent a shot just wide on 37 minutes, the England man saw his volleyed effort deflected home by Cash after lovely a ball from Fred and cross from Sancho.
Villa made a raft of changes at the break and they paid off almost immediately as substitute Leon Bailey reduced the deficit, three minutes after the restart, after powering down the right and cutting inside to steer a left-footed shot past De Gea, who was not helped by the muddy surface.
The action kept coming as sub stopper Robin Olsen almost let in Sancho after a poor touch, Bailey saw a deflected shot fly just over De Gea’s crossbar and Ezri Konsa nearly fired the ball past Olsen after trying to clear Sancho’s dangerous centre.
Maguire then made a superb block just after the hour-mark after Bailey nipped past De Gea and tried to score from a tight angle.
Erik made 10 changes on 67 minutes with just De Gea remaining on the pitch from the starting XI.
It remained lively throughout the latter stages, but the Midlanders carried the greater threat in worsening conditions. Just when it seemed like a fourth win was secured, Chambers was able to head in a corner from the right, not the first to cause problems, to salvage a draw.
United: De Gea; Dalot (Wan-Bissaka 67), Maguire (c) (Bailly 67), Lindelof (Varane 67), Shaw (Malacia 67); van de Beek (Garner 67), Fred (Telles 67), Sancho (Chong 67); Fernandes (Iqbal 67), Rashford (Elanga 67), Martial (Hannibal 67).
Subs not used: Heaton, Bishop, Kovar; Fish, Laird; Amad, Pellistri, Savage; Garnacho.
Goals: Sancho 25, Cash o.g 42
Booked: Chong, Bailly
Aston Villa: Martinez (Olsen 46); Cash (Sanson 64), Carlos (Iroegbunam 64), Mings (c) (Konsa 46), Digne (Chambers 64); J. Ramsey (Douglas Luiz 46), Kamara (Hayden 64), McGinn (Young 64), Coutinho (Buendia 46); Watkins (Archer 64), Ings (Bailey 46).
Subs not used: Marschall, Kesler, A. Ramsey, Feeney.
Goal: Bailey 48, Chambers 90+2
Booked: Coutinho, McGinn
The short version of the match highlights will be published on ManUtd.com and the United App within one hour of full-time at Optus Stadium.
Extended editions, including the full 90 minutes, will be available later on matchday.
United’s next pre-season test takes place in Oslo where we will face Atletico Madrid. That game will be at the Ullevaal Stadium, with the action getting under way at 12:45 (BST).
Every pre-season game – including our clash with Atletico and our final friendly match v Rayo Vallecano at Old Trafford next Sunday – will be shown live on MUTV, now available in our app and on ManUtd.com.