Man Utd tame Victory in pre-season clash

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Manchester United have survived an early scare to defeat a Melbourne Victory 4-1 in a pre-season exhibition friendly at the MCG.

Stunning the Premier League giants with an early Chris Ikonomidis goal, Victory then defended doggedly before a deflected 43rd minute strike from Scott McTominay brought United level.

A close-range effort from Anthony Martial minutes later then gave the visitors the lead, before a late strike from Marcus Rashford and an own goal from Edmond Lupancu sealed the win.

United dominated possession throughout the contest but Victory's defensive shape and discipline frustrated their attempts to create clear goalscoring opportunities.

Eventually, the difference in class and the weight of possession wouldn't be denied, yet the hosts were far from disgraced despite the heavy margin.

Indeed, after beating Liverpool 4-0 in Thailand on Tuesday, United had been expected to comfortably handle Victory, but instead went behind inside the opening five minutes.

Breaking quickly in transition, wing-back Jay Barnett laced a ball down the right flank into the path of Ben Folami that allowed him to square it to his fellow Socceroo Ikonomidis for a first-time finish

"It wasn't a surprise for us," Victory midfielder Jake Brimmer said of the early goal.

"I'm sure it surprised a lot of people but we've been training like that for the past three weeks.

"The sky is the limit for us. Against a team like Untied, okay we copped four, but we showed glimpses of what we're able to do. Moving forward I'm excited."

Unfortunately for the Australians, a disastrous attempt to play out from the back by George Timotheou late in the first half went straight to McTominay, whose subsequent effort ricocheted off Stefan Nigro and beat a wrong-footed Paul Izzo.

Moments later, United led when Anthony Elanga knocked Digo Dolot's cross to Martial for a close-range finish.

"I was pleased with the way we defended," Nigro told AAP. "It was a sloppy goal to concede but we'll take lessons for our season; closing out and holding leads."

United boss Erik ten Hag rotated his entire outfield in the second half and Rashford was played through Victory's lines to make it 3-1 in the 78th.

Victory's new marquee signing Nani made a late cameo against his former side, introduced just in time to see United grab a fourth in the 89th.

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