Sat, Jul 27, 2013 - Page 20 News List

Late Zaha goal spares United blushes

AFP, OSAKA, Japan

A stoppage time goal from Wilfried Zaha saved Manchester United from the brink of a humiliating third defeat in their pre-season Asian tour yesterday, drawing 2-2 with Cerezo Osaka at Shinji Kagawa’s former J-League home.

Kagawa, who moved to Old Trafford from Borussia Dortmund a year ago, also delighted a sell-out crowd of 44,856 at the Nagai Stadium by scoring United’s first goal minutes after fluffing a penalty by kicking straight into the hands of Osaka custodian Kim Jin-hyeon.

The Red Devils now have two wins and two defeats in Asia after losing to the Thai league all stars 1-0 two weeks ago in Bangkok, overwhelming the A-League All Stars in Sydney and bowing to the J-League’s Yokohama Marinos on Tuesday.

Cerezo striker Kenyu Sugimoto opened the scoring on 34 minutes as he beat two defenders to slam a left-footer past Lindegaard after intercepting a pass by United’s Chris Smalling.

United nearly levelled in the 40th minute when Kagawa struck over after Dutch striker Robin van Persie fed him a sharp cross on a rebound from a Danny Welback shot off the left post.

Kagawa bungled a penalty in the 53rd minute when Ashley Young was clipped in the box by Cerezo defender Tatsuya Yamashita.

However, the 24-year-old Japanese quickly restored some pride by pulling one back for United two minutes later, slotting the ball through Kim’s legs after trapping a deep left cross from Ryan Giggs.

Minutes after Kagawa was substituted amid roars from his former home supporters, Cerezo surprised the English champions with their second goal through 18-year-old striker Takumi Minamino on 63 minutes.

Minamino’s shot from the left outside the area sailed into the top far side corner, but United new boy Zaha managed to redeem the visitors and save them from humiliation by hitting a much needed equalizer a minute into stoppage time on a cross from Jesse Lingard.

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