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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jul 12, 2008

Man Utd cruise to friendly win over Aberdeen

A first-half penalty from Michael Carrick and a Wayne Rooney header after the break gave Manchester United a comfortable win over Aberdeen in their challenge match at Pittodrie.

A minute before half-time Rooney was felled by Dons keeper Jamie Langfield inside the box, allowing the former Tottenham midfielder to slot home his first spot-kick since the Champions League final penalty shoot-out win over Chelsea in Moscow.

Rooney headed home number two from Darren Fletcher's cross in the 69th minute before going off to a standing ovation minutes later.

A near sell-out of 20,500 turned up for the testimonial game in honour of the Aberdeen side that won the European Cup Winners' Cup 25 years ago in Gothenburg when United boss Sir Alex Ferguson was manager at Pittodrie.

A good percentage of the crowd appeared to be there to see United who fielded a strong side including Rooney, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Scotland international Fletcher.

Aberdeen had new signings Mark Kerr and Gary McDonald making their debuts in midfield.

Ferguson was given a rousing reception by the home fans as he made his way to the dugout before a typically tepid pre-season game began.

As United eased themselves in to the match, Rooney had three efforts on goal, none of them impressive, before 10 minutes had elapsed.

The first eruption from the traditionally subdued Dons fans came in the 21st minute when midfielder Jeffrey de Visscher drove inches past United keeper Ben Amos's right-hand post from just outside the box.

A minute later Pittodrie striker Darren Mackie took a Lee Miller pass and toe-poked the ball past Amos from five yards out but was correctly ruled offside.

Rooney, looking keener than most, had a further two efforts but neither troubled Langfield.

But in the 44th minute, the Aberdeen keeper pulled the England striker down inside the box after he latched on to a defence-splitting Carrick pass, the former West Ham player sending the Dons keeper the wrong way with his spot-kick.

There were eight substitutions made between the two sides at the interval, the five home changes including 6ft 7in Bertrand Bossu making his debut in goal, and more followed in a confusing second half.

On the hour mark, Giggs met a Rooney cross with his forehead 12 yards out but Bossu rose to his left to tip the ball on the bar, Aberdeen escaping with their goal intact.

That only lasted nine minutes until Rooney coolly headed a Fletcher cross past the flailing Frenchman from 10 yards out.

Bossu pulled off a fine top corner save from United substitute Danny Simpson, before another United substitute Chris Eagles, who had missed a sitter just after the break, chipped a loose ball wide of an open goal after some confusion in the Pittodrie rearguard.

Ferguson described his return to Pittodrie as 'emotional' and said he was satisfied with United's first outing ahead of the new season.

'They all did all right. There was no real great performances,' he told MUTV.

'You can't expect any great performances - that's the reason for pre-season games.

'The important thing is to get your fitness and also to come through without injury.'

Afterwards Aberdeen manager Jimmy Calderwood pinpointed the talents of Scholes and Giggs in particular, saying: 'It was a worthwhile exercise and a wonderful learning process for our players.

'You could see the quality of the United players.

'When you see older players like Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs, their attitude, hunger, touch and vision - it was fabulous.'

'I thought we did really well in the first half when they were at their strongest,' the Dons boss said.

'I don't think Darren Mackie's goal was offside and I spoke to Wayne after the game and he said his touch was too heavy and he wouldn't have caught the ball at this stage of the season.

'But they got the penalty. However, all in all, it was a fantastic work-out.'

A near sell-out crowd of 20,500 turned up at Pittodrie for the testimonial game in honour of the Aberdeen side that won the European Cup Winners' Cup 25 years ago in Gothenburg when United boss Sir Alex Ferguson was manager at Pittodrie.

Ferguson took the microphone after the game and addressed the Dons crowd, saying: 'It was an emotional day for many reasons.

'The squad (of 25 years ago) were a fantastic bunch of lads.

'Many teams never win a European trophy but it's part of Aberdeen's history, they have won a European trophy.'

United coaches Mike Phelan, Brian McClair, Rene Meulensteen are in the frame to replace Ferguson's former number two Carlos Queiroz who was named as the new head coach of Portugal on Friday; but Ferguson insists the English champions are in no rush to name a replacement.

He said: 'You take your time with these things, there is no hurry. We have got good staff and we will carry on, we've always done that.

'We've never made a quick appointment. It's always disappointing to lose good men and he was a good man.

'He was honest and very loyal to me and a good coach. He brought a lot of initiatives that we now carry on.

'He has taken a challenge on that people do, if they have that patriotic passion and the nationalist fervour to go and manage their country. He's got that.

'I knew when Portugal came for him that it would be very difficult for us.'

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