- As Barcelona Lose 4-2 to Roma
Still smarting from their last season’s Champion League loss, Spanish giants, FC Barcelona fell again to AS Roma of Italy in the on-going International Champions Cup in Miami, Florida.
It was also a night that English teams, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur, both ran out with victories in their respective games.
Leading the game up to the 78th minute with goals from Rafinha and Malcom, Barcelona suddenly slumped to a goal flourish by Roma in the remaining 12 minutes and turned the tables in favour of the Italians, who eventually went home as 4-2 winners.
After an earlier goal by Stephan El Shaarawy that initially neutralised Rafinha’s opening goal, Alessandro Florenzi scored the second equaliser for Roma on the 78th minute. Strikes by Bryan Cristante and a penalty in the 86th minute by Diego Perotti finally put the game out of reach of Barcelona.
Also, in the same tournament, Tottenham Hotspur beat AC Milan of Italy 1-0 with the goal coming from Georges N’Koudou in the 47th minute.
Similarly, the heat was off Jose Mourinho as he finally got something to smile about in the tempestuous trip to the United States. The Old Trafford muscled out a 2-1 victory over Mourinho’s former club Real Madrid, thanks to first-half strikes from Alexis Sanchez and Ander Herrera.
During their two week trip to the United States, Mourinho has remained a miserable figure, lashing out at a lack of transfer activity in the Club while also reserving scathing criticisms for some of his first team players.
But seeing his side establish a two goal lead in the first half was encouraging, as was holding Real at bay after Karim Benezema’s goal just before the interval gave the Spanish side hope of mounting a comeback.
“I didn’t learn anything (from this tour),” said Mourinho. “I know what Ander Herrera, Juan Mata and Alexis Sanchez are.
“I know the kids are very young and need time to grow up, I know my players gave everything and in the last 15 minutes, we are dead and they bring on Toni Kroos and Asensio and Isco and I thought we wouldn’t resist but we did.
“That’s the spirit we need because our first two or three weeks in the Premier League are going to be really hard for us because we didn’t prepare for that.”
The Portuguese has been without 12 key players for most of the tour with many enjoying an extended break following the World Cup.
In front of 64,141 at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium, United were finishing off their pre-season preparations against a Real Madrid side just starting theirs.
La Liga starts a week later than the Premier League so new Real manager Julen Lopetegui was able to name the likes of Gareth Bale to start while Germany star Toni Kroos was on the bench.
Spanish international, David de Gea was making his first start since returning from the extra time given to him following the World Cup and he was almost beaten in the eighth minute – Bale starting a move which saw Benzema fire just wide from close range.
Brazilian Fred, who was signed earlier this summer for £52 million, made his first United’s start and looked quite comfortable in his new environment
And on 18 minutes, United were ahead. Herrera fed Matteo Darmian and teed up Sanchez who clinically swept the ball home. It was Man United’s first real opportunity and it was taken superbly.
“Alexis Sanchez is fresh, the way the man is running, I think he is in a fantastic condition,” said Mourinho.
The second goal, which arrived on 27 minutes, was equally impressive. Darmian lifted the ball to Mata and once the Spaniard had regained his composure, his cross for Sanchez was ably diverted onto the path of Herrera who made no mistake.
Soon after United’s second strike, Bale curled his effort wide. But just before the interval, Benzema tapped in an excellent Theo Hernandez cross to give the vast amounts of Madrid fans in Miami something to cheer. – With agency report