Manchester United have concluded the Melbourne leg of their tour with a strong performance against Crystal Palace, triumphing 3-1 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
76,499 people were in attendance to watch United run riot over their South London counterparts, a sea of red parading their team dressed in their brand-new white away kit, which was unveiled over the weekend.
With the noise from the Melbourne crowd similar to that of an Old Trafford or Selhurst Park atmosphere, Harry Maguire was in the crosshairs of vehement boos from all around the MCG when he had the ball at his feet throughout the early exchanges.
A delicious reverse pass from Fred brought about the first chance of the encounter, with Frenchman Anthony Martial firing straight at former Three Lions goalkeeper Jack Butland, who was then replaced by third-choice goalkeeper Remi Matthews due to injury.
The majority of the crowd was then sent into raptures just over 18 minutes in, a beautiful ball from Diogo Dalot finding Martial, who finished smartly at the far post to put United into the ascendancy.
Despite falling behind early, the Eagles’ early enterprise did not relent, with ex-Derby winger Malcolm Ebiowei and Jesurun Rak-Sakyi causing chaos for the Red Devils’ defence without being able to restore parity.
The Melbourne Cricket Ground villain almost turned hero on the verge of the interval, with Maguire’s shot narrowly off target, garnering raucous support for the Manchester United skipper.
The introduction of Donny van de Beek at the break drew vast applause, but his build-up in United’s second dwarfed it in comparison, Jadon Sancho slipping the ball in behind for Martial, before the Dutchman’s pass found Marcus Rashford who tapped home to continue a strong tour for Manchester United’s number 10.
United should have had a third when another Dalot peach found the feet of Bruno Fernandes, who fluffed his lines with only the goalkeeper to beat.
The missed chance was not really to their detriment however, an exquisite pirouette from Rashford allowed him to find Martial, and goalscorer turned provider when he set Sancho free, the former Borussia Dortmund man finding the back of the net with ease to make it 3-0.
Crystal Palace thought they had one back when Jean-Philippe Mateta scrambled the ball home from inside the penalty area, but the assistant referee’s flag meant that Palace celebrations were cut short.
With 16 minutes left of the 90, Crystal Palace did get their goal, a corner from Luka Milivojevic finding Joel Ward, who headed home via a David de Gea howler.
Second-half substitute Will Fish was then given his marching orders after hauling down Victor Akinwale when he looked through on goal, as United were reduced from a full complement.
Both Manchester United and Crystal Palace will now head to Perth to face off against Aston Villa and Leeds United respectively, before the Premier League season kicks off in the first week of August.