Jadon Sancho delivered the perfect response to being left out of Gareth Southgate’s last pre World Cup squad by scoring the first goal as Manchester United beat FC Sheriff Tiraspol 2-0.Embed from Getty Images
Cristiano Ronaldo also opened his account for the season from the penalty spot for his 699th club career goal – against his 124th different opponent – as Manchester United eased their way to victory in Moldova.
With the Premier League game at Crystal Palace last weekend cancelled after the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II United boss Erik ten Hag opted for a strong team.
In the build-up he had said: “When you lose the first game, you have to win the second.”
And he certainly meant business even though the game itself was nothing to write home about.
First choice centre backs Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez returned to the starting line-up where they were joined by Scott McTominay, Bruno Fernandes, and Jadon Sancho.
The players to miss out were Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof, Casemiro, Fred, and Anthony Elanga.
Marcus Rashford didn’t travel because of a muscular injury.
After a fairly cagey start Mouhamed Diop blazed over after Diogo Dalot gave the ball away. United weren’t the only ones giving the ball away as Sheriff were guilty of sabotaging their own efforts by giving the ball away unnecessarily.
And after 17 minutes Jadon Sancho delivered the perfect response to being left out of Gareth Southgate’s final pre-World Cup squad by stroking home the opening goal from close range after Christian Eriksen found him.
Iyayi Atiemwen’s long range shot was just wide as David De Gea didn’t see it till late and he later sent a free kick over the bar.
Ronaldo blazed over after he was sent clear by Antony with a raking pass from deep in midfield.
Sheriff were struggling to keep the ball – Antony squared the ball to Sancho but his goal bound shot was cleared off the line by a Sheriff captain Stjepan Radeljic.
United had a penalty moments later when Dalot was brought down in the box by Patrick Kpozo after Bruno Fernandes picked him out.
Ronaldo stepped up and notched up his first goal of the season – his 699th club goal – with a spot kick sent straight down the middle in the 39th minute after pausing long enough for Maksym Koval to move first.
With the Reds 2-0 up at the break Casemiro was brought on for Scott McTominay and United took control of the match.
Bruno Fernandes could have finished the game off 3 minutes after the restart by Koval made the save from his angled shot.
Rasheed Akanbi tried an impish chip from 35 yards out after spotting De Gea off his line after almost an hour.
Ronaldo blazed over after Malacia cut the ball back at him before Dalot made way for Luke Shaw after 70 minutes.
It was 75 minutes before Sheriff finally forced De Gea into a save with Cedric Badolo not giving the United keeper much of a challenge.
Anthony Elanga was United’s third change, coming on for Ronaldo with 9 minutes to go as the game never bubbled over.
But Casemiro was panellised for a trip on Radeljic on the edge of the box but De Gea was ready for Balodo’s free kick that went under the wall and somehow through Sancho who was grounded behind the wall while Kpozo blazed over soon afterwards.
United made their final changes to see out injury time with Harry Maguire replacing Martinez and Alejandro Garnacho replacing Antony.