Macheda strike downs AmaZulu
Manchester United got their pre-season tour off to a winning start when they secured a narrow 1-0 win over AmaZulu in the MTN Football Invitational at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Wednesday night.
The match could havee ended with a different scoreline as both sides squandered a number of scoring chances, but in the end Federico Macheda’s first half strike proved to be the winning goal.
The visitors showed their intentions as early as the second minute when Macheda’s low shot was blocked by Kapini, but somehow Javier Hernandez was unable to put the ball into the back of the net at the far post.
United continued to use their flanks to great effect with Robert Brady forcing Tsweu Mokoro to make a desperate block in the 13th minute, while Van Heerden also proved to be alert as he cleared a dangerous cross from Macheda three minutes later.
The hosts then managed to find some rhythm and came close to breaking the deadlock as Mokoro found Goodman Dlamini on the edge of the penalty area in the 18th minute, only for the attacking midfielder to send his shot over the crossbar.
The home side were punished for that missed chance two minutes later when Macheda was put through on the left side of the box before beating an exposed Tapuwa Kapini with a low left-footed shot.
Roger Palmgren’s men came close to levelling matters in the 24th minute when Sifiso Vilakazi found Ayanda Dlamini on the left, who then cut inside before firing a low shot on target, but goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard was able to turn his effort around the post.
Dlamini should have done a lot better in the 39th minute when he was put through by a great pass from Kagiso Senamela, but he pulled his right-footed shot right across goal.
The visitors came close to extending their lead just before the break but Dimitar Berbatov’s volley was expertly tipped over the crossbar by Kapini in the 42nd minute, before Macheda shot wide from close range two minutes later.
United started the second half as they had done in the first with Kapini blocking an effort from Berbatov in the 46th minute before turning away another attempt from Hernandez.
But then a minute later AmaZulu were on the attack at the other end as Ayanda Dlamini broke through on the left and tried to curl the ball towards the far post, but Lindegaard was able to parry the ball to safety.
Usuthu started to play with more confidence and in the 55th minute Lindegaard stood firm to stop a long range shot from Senamela, before saving a strong header from Dlamini in the 57th minute.
Substitute Josef Lekata, who came on after the break, then used his big frame to secure the ball on the edge of the penalty area in the 59th minute, but his powerful shot went just over the crossbar.
The middle part of the second half saw neither side managing to create clear chances, partly due to the number of substitutions that were being made.
However, United came close to extending their lead in the 73rd minute when Hernandez received a pass from Ryan Turnicliffe, but his shot went straight to AmaZulu substitute goalkeeper Mbongeni Mzimela.
The final chance of the match fell for another substitute, Davide Petrucci, when he received the ball unmarked just outside the box, but his thunderous shot came off the underside of the crossbar.
Manchester United will now move on to face Ajax Cape Town at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday afternoon at 3pm.