By Jack Wilkinson
Manchester United 2-1 Real Madrid: Alexis Sanchez stars as United end pre-season tour on high
Fred makes full debut as United inflict first defeat of Julen Lopetegui era
Last Updated: 01/08/18 8:39am
Alexis Sanchez scored one and set up another as Manchester United ended their pre-season tour of America with a 2-1 victory over Real Madrid in Miami.
Man of the match Sanchez fired United into the lead on 18 minutes, converting Matteo Darmian's neat cut-back, and his knockdown set up Ander Herrera for their second nine minutes later.
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Karim Benzema halved the deficit in first-half stoppage-time and the European champions improved in the second period, Raul De Tomas spurning a glorious chance to level on 82 minutes.
But United held on for the morale-boosting win to ensure Julen Lopetegui's first game in charge of Madrid ended in defeat.
Man Utd: De Gea (6), Darmian (7), Fosu-Mensah (6), Bailly (6), McTominay (6), Shaw (5), Herrera (7), Fred (6), A. Pereira (6), Mata (6), Sanchez (8).
Subs: Tuanzebe (6), Mitchell (5), Garner (5).
Real Madrid: Casilla (6), Odriozola (7), Javi Sanchez (5), Vallejo (5), Theo (5), Llorente (6), Valverde (6), Ceballos (6), Vinicius Jr (6), Bale (5), Benzema (7).
Subs: Nacho (5), Asensio (6), Mayoral (5), Isco (5), De Tomas (4), Lunin (5), Reguilon (6), Lopez (5), Oscar (5), Odegaard (6).
Man of the Match: Alexis Sanchez
Jose Mourinho surprised many by starting Eric Bailly, Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Scott McTominay in a back three, while summer signing Fred made his first start for the club, but the formation allowed United's wing-backs to push on and threaten Real early on.
Darmian started an attack which led to United's first chance as Sanchez gathered his cross-field pass and picked out Juan Mata, who scuffed a shot into the side-netting on five minutes.
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Madrid responded three minutes later with an exquisite attack of their own as Gareth Bale released Alvaro Odriozola on the overlap, and his whipped cross was fired inches wide by Benzema.
Both sides readily exchanged blows in an entertaining start at the Hard Rock Stadium before United made the breakthrough. Again Darmian was the source as he darted behind Theo Hernandez after a quick throw and crossed perfectly for Sanchez to dispatch the opener.
Bale had the chance to draw Real level six minutes later when the lively Vinicius Jnr bamboozled Fosu-Mensah and crossed for the Welshman, but he diverted an effort wide.
And within three minutes United doubled their lead as Sanchez brilliantly knocked a Mata cross into the path of Herrera, who thundered a second through the legs of Kiko Casilla.
De Gea watched a fizzing Bale shot nestle on the roof of his net soon after, but his resolve was beaten on the cusp of half-time as Benzema poked Theo's fine cross home at the near post.
Madrid, rejuvenated by a raft of substitutions, controlled the second period against a United side that visibly fatigued with each passing minute.
Martin Odegaard blazed a great chance over on 57 minutes before substitute De Tomas inexcusably missed the target from three yards after a Marcos Asensio cross had dissected the United defence.
Nacho came within inches of forcing a penalty shootout in added time with a long-range drive but United held on to end their US tour on a high.
Man of the Match - Alexis Sanchez
After an inconsistent start to life at Old Trafford, Alexis Sanchez's performance against the European champions served as further evidence that he is primed to kick his first full season at Manchester United with a bang. The Chilean had a hand in both goals, clinically dispatching Darmian's cross for the opener, before expertly laying on the second for Herrera. His work rate and endeavour in the second half, when his team-mates began to tire, was just as impressive. Sanchez has been United's star performance in America and they will be hoping for more of the same when the Premier League rolls around.
United face Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena on August 5 before kicking off the new season at home to Leicester on August 10 - live on Sky Sports Premier League. Real Madrid, meanwhile, take on Juventus and Roma in Maryland and New Jersey respectively, before contesting the UEFA Super Cup against city rivals Atletico in Tallinn on August 15.