Match Report: Manchester United 2 Malaysia XI 0

Nathan CliftonCorrespondent IJuly 20, 2009

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - JULY 18: Michael Owen of Manchester United during the pre-season friendly match between Manchester United and Malaysia XI at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium on July 18, 2009 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (Photo by Stanley Chou/Getty Images)

He's done it again, but this time from the starting XI as Manchester United beat a Malaysia XI for the second time in three days.

A complete change in lineup for Sir Alex Ferguson (bar the inclusion of centre-back Jonny Evans) meant that youngsters Fabio, Federico Macheda and Zoran Tosic were given a chance to prove their worth, albeit against a much weaker side.

Throughout the game you wouldn't fault the Malaysian's work rate. They chased every ball down, and, when they had the ball, they moved it well enough. But when it came to creativity and the final ball, they just didn't have it.

Early on, United pushed forward constantly, with full backs Fabio and Neville setting up base camp at the halfway line. The former's defensive frailties were exposed at times, but Fabio's attacking intent is what led to the first goal.

A cross from the left deflected off of Macheda and made it's way to Darren Fletcher at the far post.  He cooly guided the ball into the path of the eager Macheda, who slotted home from six yards.

A great start for United. And there was more to come.

Two minutes later, Michael Owen picked up the ball midway in the opponent's half, played a tidy reverse pass into the path of Tosic, who crossed from the left, causing confusion in the Malaysian defence.  That left Owen to storm into the 18-yard box and slot home with aplomb.

From then on, Owen's confidence was flying. He was trying backheels with Macheda, constantly dropping deep and demanding the ball in order to start an attack. His movement was exceptional throughout the game until he was withdrawn in the 61st minute. He even hit the post with a tidy outside of the foot effort.

Understandably, everyone felt a United onslaught was to come. The Malaysians had substituted both of their full backs in an attempt to answer United's strength in the wide areas, but to no avail.

Fletcher and Neville on the right and Tosic and Fabio on the left were dominant, and the third goal seemed like a formality.

Though it never came.

United started showboating, attempting to walk the ball into the back of the net against their less illustrious opponents. One person who could be excluded is Ryan Giggs, who, on more than one occasion, rolled back the years to take on numerous players again and again with great success.

Halftime came around, and, surprisingly, only one change was made for United. Goalkeeper Tomas Kuszcak was brought on for Ben Foster, the latter having nothing to do in the first half.

A steady second half was brought to life by the substitutes made around the hour mark.  The introductions of Dimitar Berbatov, Nani, John O'Shea, and Rio Ferdinand were followed swiftly by the arrival of Wayne Rooney.

Rooney missed an excellent chance to extend United's lead as he found himself in acres of space behind the Malaysian defence but his left foot shot was dragged wide.

The truth is though, United didn't need to extend their lead as there was no increasing threat from this team of Malaysian workhorses.

Further introductions of Darron Gibson, Paul Scholes, and Anderson gave United a boost with Gibson almost scoring with his first touch.

One brief moment of entertainment in the second half was provided by Rooney, who thought he had taken an elbow to the head from the Malaysian goalkeeper, only to take his frustration out on a Malaysian outfield player, although winning the ball fairly.

The 89th minute brought about the first shot on target for the Malaysians, with Kuszack making a good save to his left. This was more than likely due to the only player who would have tired over the whole 90 minutes, Wes Brown.

It was a good run-out for United, though there will be sterner preseason tests to come with matches against Boca Juniors in the Audi Cup and a match against Valencia at Old Trafford.

If the boy Michael can continue his impressive form throughout preseason and into the campaign ahead, Ferguson might have just found himself the signing of the season.