Rooney adds wonder goal

 

Urawa Red Diamonds - 0 Manchester Utd - 2: Wayne Rooney scored twice as Manchester United beat Japan's Urawa Reds 2-0 in the last match of their pre-season tour of the Far East on Saturday.

The England striker put United in front from close range six minutes into the second half before adding a second with a superb chip in the 64th minute in sweltering Saitama.

United manager Alex Ferguson hailed Rooney's wonder goal and said there was more to come from the teenager.

"That sort of goal requires skill and imagination and he's got both," Ferguson told reporters. "It was a fantastic goal. I think we'll still see improvement from Wayne. He could become truly exceptional."

United were in control throughout despite the extreme humidity and richly deserved their victory over Japan's best-supported club before a sell-out crowd of 58,000.

New South Korean signing Park Ji-sung was left out after suffering a nasty cut above his left eye and breaking two teeth in Thursday's 2-1 defeat by Kashima Antlers.

However, United manager Ferguson brought on Chinese forward Dong Fangzhou at the start of the second half for the ineffective Giuseppe Rossi.

Rooney was booked for dissent five minutes into the second half but the England teenager made a more positive impact moments later when he burst through to fire home from six metres.

Rooney's second was pure class, the 19-year-old skipping past two defenders before beating Urawa substitute goalkeeper Norihiro Yamagishi with an exquisite chip from the edge of the box.

"Those were the hottest conditions I've played in for a long time because of the humidity," said defender Gary Neville. "It was very difficult out there. But Wayne's goal has given everybody something to go home with. It was an absolutely amazing goal."

England defender Rio Ferdinand, who faces an investigation after making a V-sign to United fans during the Antlers game, was left on the bench. Ferdinand made the gesture after being booed by United fans angry at his refusal to sign a new deal.

After a drab opening period Rooney lit up the Saitama skies with his goal that sealed the victory. Chasing back after Cristiano Ronaldo had lost possession in the Urawa Reds penalty area, Rooney won possession back with a well-timed sliding tackle then, after taking a short pass from Darren Fletcher he embarked on a run towards the penalty area.

Faced by a wall of home defenders, Rooney side-stepped his way into the box and, after creating the space, used it to maximum effect, lifting a delicate chip from 10 yards over Ryota Tsuzuki into the net.

It was yet another spectacular effort and brought the entire United bench to its feet.