Wayne Rooney raised both arms in delight after his early goal and Manchester United had many more moments to celebrate in an impressive victory over Champions League winner Barcelona.
This time, coach Louis van Gaal praised his second team for its “spirit” four days after what he considered a lackluster performance by the backups against the San Jose Earthquakes.
Rooney scored on a header in the eighth minute off Ashley Young’s corner kick, and Manchester United kept the pressure on all afternoon to beat Barca 3-1 on Saturday and stay unbeaten during its preseason tour in the United States.
Jesse Lingard added the Red Devils’ second goal on a cross by Tyler Blackett in the 65th, just two minutes after coach Louis van Gaal subbed out his entire starting 11 to play the second team. Adnan Januzaj scored for Man United in the 90th minute, some 30 seconds after Rafinha got Barcelona on the board in the 90th.
The Red Devils improved to 3-0 in the International Champions Cup, this time getting the best of Luis Suarez and Barca while playing under clear skies for a sellout crowd of 68,416 at the $1.3 billion home of the San Francisco 49ers.
“Sometimes in these types of games it’s a little hard to judge where exactly you are,” midfielder Michael Carrick said. “Tottenham first game of the season is the one we’re really looking for. We need to be ready for that.”
Van Gaal subbed his entire team in the 63rd minute as planned. Now, his team will wrap up its preseason tour against Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday at Chicago’s Soldier Field.
Champions League winner Barcelona will look back on its missed chances after outshooting Man United 18-10.
Luis Suarez hit long shots off each post, and Ivan Rakitic’s ball just skimmed the top of the net in the 59th. Suarez had a goal negated for being offside in the 61st, though it appeared he was fouled in the box by Daley Blind moments earlier.
And in the sixth minute, Sergi Roberto went 1-on-1 with Man United goalkeeper David De Gea, who made a charging stop. De Gea returned after missing the first two matches of the tour with an undisclosed injury.
“He has shown his quality,” van Gaal said. “I do hope De Gea will stay but in this world of football you never know.”
Barca beat the Los Angeles Galaxy 2-1 on Tuesday night in front a record 93,226 at the Rose Bowl in the team’s first game of its preseason tour in the U.S. Barcelona will face Premier League champion Chelsea on Tuesday at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland.
The La Liga champion is playing without Lionel Messi and Neymar as both are skipping the three-game tour to be fresh for games that count.
Rooney got away from defender Adriano for an open look on his goal.
Young had fouled early in the match leading to a free kick for Barca. Suarez’s ball from 20 yards hit the right post in the fourth minute, then off the left post in the 43rd. De Gea stopped another Suarez shot from about 6 yards just more than a minute later.
In the 28th minute, Young found himself open for a nice look but Barca goalkeeper Marc Andre Ter Stegen blocked the ball away. And the Reds threatened again in the 32nd with a flurry of chances.
Both teams passed well in creating first-half opportunities.
Manchester United nearly had another in the 68th minute when Januzaj sent a shot just wide of the left post.
The field received new sod during the past week following a pair of recent concerts. Levi’s Stadium had numerous problems with the grass during the NFL team’s inaugural season here last year, and chunks of sod and sand came loose Saturday.
“The field was dry and I think that hurt both teams as well,” Barcelona coach Luis Enrique said.
Man United newcomer Bastian Schweinsteiger of Germany sat out with a minor injury van Gaal said he sustained in training. Schweinsteiger had appeared in the two previous exhibition games as a second-half substitute after joining his new team.
Van Gaal had said expected Angel Di Maria to join the club Saturday but he wasn’t on the sideline. Van Gaal had previously said he wouldn’t play.
“I have heard that he is not on the plane,” van Gaal said without expanding further.
Defender Marcos Rojo also didn’t make it as planned but was listed on the roster. Van Gaal said he had “passport issues.”
Forward Javier Hernandez did join Man United after receiving time off following play in the Copa America and Gold Cup.