Anthony Martial offered Jose Mourinho a timely reminder of his attacking prowess Sunday despite missing from the spot in Manchester United’s penalty shootout victory over Real Madrid.
After a hugely impressive debut campaign at Old Trafford under Louis van Gaal, Martial struggled to consistently produce the goods under Mourinho last season — prompting speculation throughout the summer that the French international could depart.
But a stunning individual run saw Martial lay-on Jesse Lingard’s opening goal in the International Champions Cup tie at Santa Clara before Real Madrid’s young guns produced an energetic second half fightback to earn a 1-1 draw and prompt a penalty shoot-out.
Intensity levels will rise several degrees when these two teams meet in the European Super Cup final in a fortnight, with Real’s big names understandably rusty during the first half, in their first pre-season outing.
After three Stateside games in the previous eight days, United were the sharper outfit, particularly Lingard, who caused Real plenty of problems drifting inside off the right.
The England international went close to opening the deadlock with an early screamer, when he collected Martial’s lay-off and hit a swerving shot from 25 yards that was pushed past the post by Keylor Navas.
In first half stoppage time, Lingard finally got his reward, albeit the goal owed much to the brilliance of Martial.
The Frenchman’s quick feet saw him leave both Daniel Carvajal and Luka Modric for dead as he surged inside from the left, before squaring the ball across the six-yard box. Lingard was ready and waiting at the far post to tap home.
Zinedine Zidane changed his entire 11 at the start of the second half and it prompted a much-improved display from Real, despite the absence of their key figures.
The Spanish giants drew level midway through the half when Victor Lindelof brought down Real summer signing Theo Hernandez in the area and Casemiro smashed the resulting spot-kick down the middle of David De Gea’s goal.
Real came close to going ahead moments later, but De Gea smartly tipped away Luis Miguel Quezaeda’s free kick.
The unmarked Marouane Fellaini should have secured victory for United in the 83rd minute, but produced an appalling finish after being picked out by Scott McTominay’s cross.
In the desperately low quality shootout that followed, only three players converted their penalties — Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Daley Blind notching the successful ones for United. (AFP)