Manchester United’s successful pre-season tour of the U.S. reached a crescendo after they won their third straight game against none other than Champions League kings Barcelona on Sunday.
In Santa Clara, California, at the home of the San Francisco 49ers, coach Louis van Gaal’s side won 3-1 in front of a sellout 68,000 crowd.
Wayne Rooney scored from a header in the eighth minute off Ashley Young’s corner kick. Jesse Lingard added the Reds’ second goal from a Tyler Blackett cross in the 65th, just two minutes after coach Louis van Gaal substituted his entire starting 11.
Adnan Januzaj scored for United in injury time, some 30 seconds after Rafinha got Barcelona’s goal.
As far as confidence boosters go, this couldn’t be much better. Lionel Messi and Neymar were left at home, but Barca still had Luis Suarez, Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique.
Barcelona felt unlucky after hitting the woodwork on three occasions, twice through Suarez, who also had a goal disallowed for offside.
Van Gaal had the chance to assess what could be his starting 11 for the Premier League opener against Tottenham at Old Trafford on Aug. 8.
United wrap up their preseason tour against Paris Saint-Germain at Chicago’s Soldier Field on Wednesday.
United goalkeeper David de Gea was the most welcome sight for the Reds faithful having missed the first two games. Van Gaal still hopes to keep the Spanish stopper but the transfer deadline doesn’t end until Sept. 1 and although it looks unlikely Real Madrid have lost interest in De Gea, other clubs are still interested.
Mexican forward Javier Hernandez joined United’s tour late after having time off for playing in the Copa America and Gold Cup.
Barca beat Los Angeles Galaxy 2-1 last Tuesday in front a record 93,226 at the Rose Bowl. Barcelona face Premier League champions Chelsea on Tuesday at FedExField in Landover, Maryland.