Manchester United beat Orlando Pirates 1-0 in tonights Vodacom Challenge game in South Africa. Lee Martin was the goalscorer in a game that ended in rather drab fashion.

How did our players rate?

Carlos Tevez had the first best chance of the game, striking the ball early on five minutes, which nearly caught out the keeper, but resulted in a corner.

Chris Eagles took on the corner duty all evening, putting some fairly decent balls in to the box, but none of them created anything too impressive. The best chances from corners were seen in the header from Jonny Evans that went just over the bar, as well as a Michael Carrick shot from outside the box which was deflected wide.

With 15 minutes gone, a beautiful interchange between Tevez and Carrick set Lee Martin up with a great goalscoring attitude. However, he didn’t have the nerve to find the back of the net, so instead rifled the ball hard and straight to the keeper.

Frazier Campbell had his first decent chance of the game moments later, but his tame header was easily saved by the keeper.

United were on top, keeping possession in the Pirates’ half, so it was only a matter of time before the first goal came, which it did thanks to Martin. Wes Brown won the ball in the air, heading it on to Campbell, who used his head to flick it on to Martin. The young winger had been on the receiving end of several tough challenges, which continued throughout the game, however on this occasion had the strength to see off the pressure from the defender, and lift the ball past the keeper.

Campbell looked to double our lead a few minutes later, following a great through ball from Carrick. However, the keeper read it and came out early to block any attempt from the striker, who’s had an impressive time at Hull last season.

Tevez looked to score, as he put his foot through the ball from outside the box, but a deflection took it wide of the post.

A poor back pass from Gibson saw Ben Foster on the receiving end of a two footed crunching tackle, which resulted in a booking for the offender. Rio Ferdinand and Lee Martin were the next players to be booked, after Martin felt he had been brought down in the area. Replays show that whilst the defender got something on the ball, he took the player out first. Protests from our two lads saw them yellow carded.

As the half time whistle blew, United were clearly the better side. Goalkeepers Amos and Kuszczak brought on our Premiership trophy and European Cup at half time to show off, which caused quite a stir in the 50,000 crowd.

The second half saw United put under a lot more pressure, with Martin and Eagles becoming less and less effective as the game went on, as well as Tevez and Campbell unable to cause too many problems up front.

Still, the Pirates resorted to shooting from rage, which caused Foster few problems. He could have been embarrassed on 65 minutes, as he palmed a shot up over his head, which just cleared the bar, but generally, had little to do. His biggest test came ten minutes from time, as a close range shot was blasted to the near post, but Foster had it covered.

Martin and Eagles switched wings, in a similar fashion to Ronaldo and Giggs, but this did nothing to improve their effectiveness.

Carlos Tevez and Michael Carrick made way for Wayne Rooney and Paul Scholes with 20 minutes to go, which injected a bit of life in to an otherwise pretty average and lifeless United performance. Rooney charged players down and played inch perfect balls. Finally!

Campbell got better service with Rooney on the pitch, who pushed up further forward, opposed to Tevez who had spent much of his time on the pitch dipping in to midfield to collect the ball. With a few minutes left to play, Rooney created a chance for Scholes, who blasted his shot in the path of the keeper.

United were the better side in the first half, whilst the Pirates claimed that accolade in the second. Not a great game of football, but United are still easing their way in to the pre-season.

Ratings

Ben Foster – Didn’t have a lot to do, but was well placed when called upon, particularly in the second half. 7
Wes Brown – A surprising inclusion in the team following the death of his sister at the weekend, but he put in a professional performance that has become typical of the Longsight lad. 8
Rio Ferdinand – Didn’t have much to do, but was commanding in defence. Silly booking though. Chill out Rio, it’s only the pre-season! 7
Jonny Evans – Competent in all that was asked of him, which wasn’t an awful lot! Had a couple of goalscoring opportunities from crosses in to the box, and maybe could have done better with one or two of them. 7
Mikael Silvestre – Nothing great, nothing awful. Just usual Silvestre. 5
Chris Eagles – Provided a few chances for others, but was generally disappointing, losing the ball too easily, and showing that at 22-years-old, it’s time for him to move on. 5
Michael Carrick – Was at the centre of much of our play in the first half, playing good balls forward. Not as sharp as usual but his experience was helpful. 7
Darron Gibson – Probably our least impressive player today, looking massively out of his depth. Played a good ball through to Campbell in the first half, but generally his passing was poor and his confidence
low. 4
Lee Martin – Had some very good moments, in an evening where he was hacked down far too often, particularly for a friendly! Took the goal well but didn’t have the strength to do his job properly for much of the
game. 6.5
Carlos Tevez – Plenty of energy, a couple of great chances, but a long way from being his usual self. 6
Frazier Campbell – Loads of pace, loads of enthusiasm, but will be frustrated with his finishing for the opportunities that came his way. 6

What did you make of tonights match?