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Hangzhou Greentown 2 United 8

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26 Jul 2009 14:09:51

Hangzhou Greentown 2 United 8

MICHAEL Owen scored twice and Ryan Giggs slotted home a second-half hat-trick as United ended their Asian adventure by hammering Hangzhou Greentown. It was maybe not the strenuous test Sir Alex Ferguson would have wanted but, in maintaining a 100 per cent record in four games so far, at least United are heading towards their quest to land an unprecedented fourth consecutive league title in confident mood. No-one, least of all Ferguson, will draw too many conclusions from this tour. FC Seoul apart, United could have been given sterner opposition to start their pre-season campaign if they had gone to the far east of Manchester, rather than a part of the world that offers the greatest commercial reward. Nevertheless, as he boarded an overnight flight to Munich, where United will compete in the Audi Cup on Wednesday and Thursday, Ferguson must have been quietly satisfied with what has been achieved over the past 10 days. Rio Ferdinand, such a pivotal figure in United's defence, came through unscathed, which is good news given the injury problems that affected him at the back end of last season. To lesser or greater degrees, Wes Brown, Darron Gibson, Zoran Tosic and Nani impressed, which provides Ferguson with hope that, from within last year's title-winning squad further improvement can come. But it is the striking department where Ferguson can have the most to feel pleased about. When he announced a couple of weeks ago that his spending for the summer was done, Ferguson created an impression of United beginning the defence of their Premier League title one forward light. However, that may not be the case. The youngest of the four, 17-year-old Federico Macheda, has shown plenty of confidence, as Wayne Rooney always does. Dimitar Berbatov got off the mark in South Korea and gave his confidence another boost with a smartly-taken effort here. The biggest plus, though, is Michael Owen. After scoring in both games in Malaysia, Owen doubled his tally with a well-taken first-half brace against a distinctly ordinary Hangzhou outfit. In a more competitive environment an inquest would have been held into the failure of the far side assistant to raise an offside flag given Owen was never actually on-side from the moment Nani collected possession to the time United's new striker swept his team in front. His second was a gem though, Owen taking Berbatov's pass on his chest before volleying home. After the Bulgarian had added number two, Tosic - who had limited chance to impress after joining from Partizan Belgrade - fired home a neat third with a rising drive better keepers than Jiang Bo would have struggled to keep out. The second-half was a procession, with Nani producing a trademark back-flip in celebration at his effort before Giggs scored twice in seven minutes, adding another near the end for good measure. Greentown did manage a couple of consolation through Wang Hong You, although that merely added to a carnival atmosphere in which the supporters in a stadium limited to 30,000 but did not even reach that number, chanted for Wayne Rooney to score and Patrice Evra was mocked by his own team-mates after hitting the post from two yards.


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