Premier League - United comeback douses Fire

Sun, 24 Jul 00:05:00 2011

A second-half goal blitz saw Premier League champions Manchester United come from behind to beat Chicago Fire 3-1 at Soldier Field.

Premier League - United douse fire

In a tough friendly outing for the English champions, Cory Gibbs gave the MLS side an early lead, which stood for nearly an hour.

But Wayne Rooney equalised with a neat lob, before further expert finishes from Rafael and Nani gave the scoreline some gloss for Sir Alex Ferguson's side.

Much has been made of United's need to replace Paul Scholes's pinpoint passing, and the absence of a controlling figure in midfield was shown up in sweltering heat.

With Michael Carrick failing to assert himself, United contented themselves with playing kick-and-rush, attempting to exploit the pace of Danny Welbeck, Gabriel Obertan and Mame Biram Diouf.

Welbeck had his moments - particularly a slick the piece of skill to buy himself room in midfield, resulting in a chance for Dimitar Berbatov that the striker fired straight at goalkeeper Sean Johnson.

Diouf and Obertan, however, were completely lacking in finesse. Time and again, Obertan sprinted away from his man, but let himself down with a hopeless cross or shot - a familiar theme for frequent watchers of the frustrating Frenchman.

Phil Jones and David De Gea made their first outings in a United shirt, and did not start happily.

Jones was inexplicably outduelled in the air by Gibbs for the opening goal, and was later bamboozled by Cristian Nazarit, who shot just wide just after the half-hour mark.

As for De Gea, virtually his first act as a United player was to pick the ball out of his net, though he was blameless for Gibbs's glancing header from a Marco Pappa free-kick.

It might have been worse for United but for a sharp save from De Gea in the last minute of the first half, when he stopped with his feet from Gonzalo Segares.

The gradual introduction of established stars such as Rooney and Nani took some time to have the desired effect, and Chicago looked the likelier scorers early in the second half.

Baggio Husidic was guilty of an extraordinary miss from six yards with the goal at his mercy on 52 minutes.

Further farce ensued when, amid a glut of substitutions, United played a minute with 12 players after Patrice Evra failed to spot he had been withdrawn.

As the game threatened to get away from United, Rooney equalised, following up his hat-trick against the Seattle Sounders with a measured lob from Rio Ferdinand's excellent through pass.

The visitors were in front on 75 minutes when, just seconds after coming off the bench, Rafael dribbled along the right byline and beat keeper Jon Conway from an outrageous angle.

With Chicago fading fast, it was left to Nani to complete the scoring, capitalising on a lucky ricochet and chipping adroitly over the beleaguered Conway.

Alex Chick - Twitter @alexchick81 / Eurosport

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