Manchester United made it three wins from three in the International Champions Cup by beating European champions Barcelona 3-1 in California on Saturday.
Wayne Rooney, Jesse Lingard and Adnan Januzaj struck the decisive goals for Louis van Gaal’s side in the Santa Clara heat, putting them top of the table in the friendly competition.
Rooney’s well-placed header after eight minutes put United in front, and only the right arm of Marc-Andre ter Stegen stopped Ashley Young doubling their advantage.
Luis Suarez was denied an equaliser on the hour by the offside flag, and United rubbed salt in the Spanish champions’ wounds when substitute Lingard doubled United’s lead two minutes after coming on.
Rafinha was able to pull one back for the Catalan giants late on, but the Premier League side had the last word when Januzaj quickly added a third before the final whistle.
Barca could have twice been ahead inside the opening five minutes as Suarez saw a free-kick thud against the post, and reported Real Madrid target David de Gea – starting his first game in pre-season – denied Sergi Roberto.
Despite their tentative start, United found themselves ahead when England captain Rooney headed home Young’s corner after shrugging off the attentions of Adriano.
Young went close to doubling United’s lead after 28 minutes, but his effort from the edge of the penalty area was superbly kept out by extended arm of Ter Stegen.
Moments later the Barca goal was under siege again, but resolute defending ensured Young, Rooney and Juan Mata were all kept at bay.
Having led a charmed life at the start of the half, United’s goal was again under threat as half-time approached, with Suarez seeing an effort clip the post with De Gea beaten.
The Catalan giants continued to press after the break, and they thought they were level on the hour through dangerman Suarez.
A neat one-two with substitute Pedro, who has been linked with United, left the Uruguayan one-on-one with De Gea, he slid his shot beyond the goalkeeper but was denied an equaliser by the assistant referee’s flag.
Barca’s disappointment was amplified further four minutes later as Lingard – one of 11 United substitutes introduced after 63 minutes – converted a low Tyler Blackett cross from the left.
There was still time for Luis Enrique’s treble winners to be frustrated by the woodwork one last time as substitute Munir El Haddadi saw a late head crash against the United post.
Rafinha finally breached the United defence in the closing minutes with a crisp left-foot volley, beforeJanuzaj restored United’s two-goal advantage by turning and finishing clinically in stoppage time as Barca were caught out at the back.
United have one match remaining in their participation in the International Champions Cup – against Paris Saint-Germain – while Barca face Chelsea and Fiorentina.
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