Michael Owen and Dimitar Berbatov help Manchester United thrash Hangzhou
26 July 2009 03:14
Owen, a free transfer signing from Newcastle United earlier this month, netted twice in the first-half before being replaced at half-time by Wayne Rooney in Hangzhou's extravagantly-named Yellow Dragon Cave Stadium.
But the 29 year-old's performance in tandem with Berbatov, who scored a spectacular scissor-kick on 31 minutes, will give manager Sir Alex Ferguson renewed confidence that the pair can replace the 41 goals scored by the departed Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez last season.
Berbatov's eye for a pass and Owen's well-timed runs into the Hangzhou penalty area proved too slick for the home team, who are currently mid-table in the Chinese top flight.
And the pair ensured that United wrapped up their Far East tour with a 100 per cent record by helping Ferguson's team into a 4-0 half-time lead.
Berbatov almost opened the scoring on five minutes with a powerful header from Zoran Tosic's cross that hit the crossbar before bouncing on the goal-line.
But the Bulgarian played a part in Owen's opener 20 minutes later when a sublime pass to Nani left the Portuguese winger free to square for Owen, who tapped in from six yards.
Six minutes later, Nani was the provider again when his cross resulted in Berbatov's eye-catching goal.
Hangzhou were clearly the weakest opponent faced by United on their four-game tour and a heavy defeat appeared inevitable once Tosic made it 3-0 with a left-foot strike into the far corner on 33 minutes.
Owen, greeted with cheers by the Chinese supporters whenever he touched the ball, gave the 40,000 crowd something else to remember him by when he made it 4-0 on 40 minutes with a chest trap and volley from Berbatov's flicked pass.
With more demanding fixtures looming later this week against Boca Juniors and either Bayern Munich or AC Milan in Munich's Audi Cup, United continued to press in the second-half. And the goals continued to flow, with Nani scoring from close range before substitute Ryan Giggs scored twice in eight minutes to make it 7-0.
Hangzhou netted a consolation goal on 78 minutes with a close range header from full-back Wang Hong You before Giggs completed his hat-trick with a two-yard tap-in on 88 minutes. Brazilian forward Voldo scored a second for Hangzhou two minutes into stoppage time to make the final score 8-2 to United.
MANCHESTER UNITED (4-4-2): Van der Sar (Foster h-t); Fabio, Ferdinand (Brown 59), Evans, Evra; Tosic, Fletcher (Giggs 59), Scholes (Anderson 59), Nani (Park 59); Berbatov (Gibson 70), Owen (Rooney h-t). Subs: O'Shea, Macheda, Carrick.