United's battle in Beijing
By Adam Marshall
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Manchester United ground out a 3-0 victory in a real battle in Beijing.
Manchester United ground out a 3-0 victory in what could be dubbed the battle of Beijing in The Workers' Stadium.
The Red Devils triumphed against Beijing Hyundai in a game that could be termed anything but friendly as several flashpoints marred a comfortable victory for Sir Alex Ferguson's men.
From the outset, the game was unnecessarily niggly with Ruud van Nistelrooy at the centre of most of the ugly confrontations. The Dutchman received a buffering throughout and was the victim of a crude foul from Lu Jiang before being withdrawn.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney had their own spats with the opposition as the referee was kept busy throughout the proceedings.
The bright spots for United came from Paul Scholes and Park Ji-sung, who grabbed the goals - the Korean's being his first for his new club.
Van Nistelrooy had forced a flying save from Yang Zhi and shot wastefully off target when a goal seemed certain before the deadlock was broken three minutes before the break.
After a patient build-up, Rooney fed Darren Fletcher and the Scot had time to measure his centre for Scholes, the former England international guiding a glancing header into the corner of the net.
Three minutes later, and the lead was doubled with Scholes again on the scoresheet, almost apologetically striking the ball into the net after a mis-hit drive by van Nistelrooy fell to him. Gary Neville's deep cross had created the opening.
Soon after the interval, Ronaldo, on as a substitute, sprinted down the right flank and delivered a great cross that enabled Park to head past Yang Zhi at the far post as van Nistelrooy appealed in vain for a penalty inside the box.
The game petered out with Edwin van der Sar rarely called into action before being replaced by debutant Luke Steele in the United goal.
One worrying aspect for The Red Devils might be another game without a goal for Rooney, who continues to operate in what is effectively a midfield role and seems unable to get himself into goalscoring positions at present.