Manchester United 3 Liverpool 1: All the goals as Rooney and Mata inspire United comeback
Published 05/08/2014 | 06:59
WAYNE Rooney ensured Louis van Gaal extended his unbeaten start as a Manchester United manager by inspiring a dramatic fightback to seal victory against Liverpool in Miami.
Rooney, who captained Van Gaal's team for the first time in Florida, cancelled out Steven Gerrard's first-half opener early in the second-half of the International Champions Cup final.
Juan Mata then gave United the lead before Rooney saw a goal ruled out, correctly, after he scored from close range following up on an Ashley Young cross which had bounced back into play from the stanchion behind the goal.
Rooney, who was booked towards the end of a feisty encounter in front of a crowd of 51,014, did his hopes of securing the captaincy on a permanent basis no harm, however, by driving his team-mates to the win, which was confirmed by substitute Jesse Lingard's strike in the 88th minute.
Despite both managers insisting this was a game that carried little significance as a pre-season friendly, Van Gaal and Rodgers still chose to select their strongest available team for the first meeting of England's most successful clubs on foreign soil.
Any psychological edge gained in this encounter could give the victor an advantage in the new season and the intensity displayed by both teams from the outset highlighted the determination to emerge with the win.
United made the brighter start and should have taken the lead as early as the fifth minute through Javier Hernandez.
The Mexico forward, starting in place of the injured Danny Welbeck, was given a golden opportunity after receiving Ashley Young's cross in the six yard box.
But Hernandez scuffed his effort and the ball was cleared by Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho.
United then quickly suffered another early blow when Antonio Valencia limped out of the game on nine minutes, being replaced by Luke Shaw.
Valencia was sent off in this stadium in June following a scuffle with Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling while playing for Ecuador against England, so he is unlikely to hold too many find memories of Miami.
The loss of Valencia led to uncertainty at the back for United and Liverpool almost capitalised within a minute when Jordan Henderson headed Gerrard's free-kick over the crossbar from close range.
Liverpool did open the scoring three minutes later, though, after referee Mark Geiger awarded a penalty following a clumsy Phil Jones challenge on Sterling.
Gerrard calmly put Liverpool ahead by sending David De Gea the wrong way from the spot.
United lacked the fluency of their previous tour games, with Liverpool's pressing and possession posing the biggest test to Van Gaal's team so far.
And Rodgers' team maintained the pressure as they went in search of a second goal, with Phillipe Coutinho forcing a save from De Gea with a long range strike on 24 minutes.
United were then fortunate to concede a second penalty ten minutes later when Ander Herrera's foul on Sterling went unpunished by the American referee.
Having finished runners up to Manchester City last season, Liverpool backed up their superiority over United by continuing to dominate in the second half.
The midfield area, in particular, was a Liverpool stronghold and a mistake by Herrera caused by Gerrard's pressure led to the former England captain releasing Rickie Lambert in the penalty area.
But the £4 million summer signing from Southampton scuffed his shot, enabling de Gea to save easily.
Moments later, Coutinho freed Sterling with a sublime pass, but the England winger's shot was deflected behind by Chris Smalling.
United were being overrun, but they clawed themselves back into the game on 55 minutes through Rooney.
Herrera's good work in the centre of the pitch saw the Spaniard release Hernandez down the right and the forward's cross was met by Rooney, whose left foot volley nestled in the far corner of the net.
Rooney celebrated as though this was more than a friendly and United reacted with similar passion two minutes later when Mata put them ahead.
Shaw's pass from the left found Mata in space eighteen yards out and the former Chelsea midfielder beat goalkeeper Simon Mignolet with a left foot shot which was deflected off Sakho.
The two goals completely changed the complexion of the game and United were now the team most likely to add to the scoring.
And it appeared as though Rooney had claimed his second goal when he scored from two yards after Ashley Young's header bounced down after the woodwork.
But with the cross hitting the stanchion behind the crossbar, referee Geiger backtracked on his decision to award the goal after consulting the fourth official, who may have seen the incident on the jumbo screens inside the Sun Life Stadium.
United retained the upper hand after the strike was ruled out, though, and Lingard capped their fightback