Manchester United vs Real Madrid
Erik ten Hag’s side were defeated 2-0 by an impressive Real Madrid team in their second defeat in 48 hours.
With a spectacular overhead kick, Joselu, formerly of Stoke City, sealed victory in Houston with a delightful chip from English superstar Jude Bellingham.
Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho struggled in the final third, with the latter coming on and struggling.
Despite conceding two goals on his United debut, Andre Onana showed he has plenty to offer as Ten Hag’s new number one.
The players were rated by Mail Sport’s Chris Wheeler.
Jude Bellingham’s first goal for Real Madrid helps down flat Manchester United
It would be hard to give Manchester United any more than five out of 10 for this flat performance under Erik ten Hag. Before Joselu struck acrobatically to settle the encounter in Houston, André Onana had done enough to suggest he will be the upgrade over David de Gea the manager wants.
A loose header from the goalkeeper’s midfield area led Real Madrid to attack and cede the ball. As they worked their way along the right, Lucas Vázquez crossed for the on-loan striker to hit a perfectly executed bicycle kick past a flat-footed Onana, who watched on as his near post was beaten.
Mason Mount (right) and Bruno Fernandes (centre) celebrate the captain’s goal.
Both Fernandes and Mount are vying for Manchester United’s No. 10 position
Onana was recruited to engineer a revolution in United’s build-up, but the first act in his new colours was to watch haplessly as Jude Bellingham drifted onto Antonio Rüdiger’s ball and chipped the keeper to seize the lead for Real. The sixth-minute goal was Bellingham’s first for Los Merengues and the second blow United suffered on the night. Earlier, as Casemiro challenged Rodrygo, the Real player fell into young midfielder Kobbie Mainoo. Mainoo, not seeing Casemiro, was hit in the back of the leg and, following treatment, was forced off.
After Christian Eriksen entered the fray, Real continued to poke holes in United, as Bellingham constantly attempted to sneak around behind his No 10 berth. During one break, Carlo Ancelotti’s men skated along the left side and slid the ball to the England midfielder near United’s penalty spot.
When Vinicius Junior launched another raid, Onana saved the Brazilian’s raspy shot to his left. The 20-year-old slipped again, and Ten Hag’s men escaped.
Ten Hag, a master coach known for forensic planning of in-game strategy, was concerned about his team consistently hitting on the break at halftime.
As he did last week against Arsenal, Mason Mount was anonymous and here, he disappointed again. The defender upended Real No 5 and Bellingham retaliated with a fluffed pass and shove as he retaliated. In addition to Alexis Garnacho who missed from close-in, Marcus Rashford and Casemiro also failed.
Onana, described as “less a sweeper-keeper than a holding midfielder” in the Uefa technical report of his performance in Internazionale’s Champions League defeat by Manchester City, was tidy while demonstrating his character; he gave a rollicking Martinez for a hashed clearance.
Ten Hag fielded his strongest team at an almost full NRG Stadium (72,220 capacity) for United’s third match on the tour, and he made no changes for the second half. It must have been greeted with relief in United’s ranks that Ancelotti took Bellingham off at the break in order to spare them further torment.
In Garnacho and Bruno Fernandes’ rare sequence of coherency on the left, there were signs of United’s ascendancy. But that ended when Ten Hag changed every outfield player except Fernandes.
As soon as Antony wandered infield from the right, he unloaded with his left, but the ball soared over Andriy Lunin’s bar. In a move as inelegant as Onana’s save when the forward unloaded, Victor Lindelof, another new introduction, did the splits in an attempt to stop Joselu from scoring from a cross.
Joselu, a former Stoke City and Newcastle United player, had two more chances before his memorable first goal for Real. After the 33-year-old was cleared off the line by Diogo Dalot, Onana did the same moments later. His spectacular volley then sealed the win and a disappointing performance from United – one Ten Hag will soon wish to put behind him.