Shinji Kagawa shines in Man United victory
SHANGHAI, China ● New signing Shinji Kagawa scored his first goal for Manchester United and put in a man-of-the-match performance in the 1-0 friendly win on Wednesday against a Shanghai Shenhua side missing Didier Drogba.
The Japanese attacking midfielder, who signed from Borussia Dortmund in a 17-million-pound deal last month, forced the ball home from 10 yards out in the 68th minute following a Bebe cross.
“Kagawa was man of the match and I thought he deserved that,” said Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson, adding: “He took his goal well even though it was a deflection.
“Kagawa has settled in really well, he’s going to be a really good player for us and I was really impressed with him tonight.”
United are interested in Brazil international Lucas Moura and Ferguson confirmed he had not given up strengthening his squad.
Rapids beat Swans
Andre Akpan scored in the fourth minute and goalkeeper Steward Ceus stopped one shot and the Colorado Rapids defeated the Swansea City Swans 2-1 in an exhibition match Tuesday.
Akpan, who has started one game for the Rapids, took a cross from Luis Zapata and connected on a header into the right corner of the goal.
Kamani Hill added a goal in the 15th minute for the Rapids.
Jonathan De Guzman scored on a free kick from 25 yards in the 79th minute for Swansea City.
The team managed only two shots on goal.
The Swans had a scoring chance in the first half. Daniel Graham took a cross from Nathan Dyer and sent a header over the crossbar in the 24th minute.
“We have been trying all summer to add to our squad, we’ve got Kagawa and (Nick) Powell, we are working on one or two other things, but I have nothing to tell you in terms of confirmation whether any other players are joining us in this moment in time, but we are trying to add to our squad,” he said.
Former Cerezo Osaka player Kagawa ran the show for United and came close to scoring in the 61st minute with a powerful low drive from just outside the box which Shenhua reserve keeper Qiu Shenjiong did well to save.
Rio Ferdinand, speaking after the match, also praised his new team-mate. “He’s a very intelligent football player who gets into very good positions, and asks questions of his opponents, he’s a very good acquisition for Manchester United,” he said.
In the first half an under-strength Shanghai side lacking new man Drogba and Nicolas Anelka held their own and should have scored in the 43rd minute.
Midfielder Wang Shouting broke through the middle to put a ball over the top of Ferdinand, leaving Shenhua striker Joel Griffiths one-on-one with Anders Lindegaard.
However, the United keeper managed to deflect the Australian’s shot over the bar.
The second half was a much more one-sided affair as United brought on Paul Scholes and Javier Hernandez, much to the delight of the 42,000 crowd.
However the pair both missed golden chances to score — Scholes headed wide when it looked easier to find the net in the 77th minute and Hernandez narrowly failed to connect with a cross from the lively Bebe.
Ferguson paid tribute to Shenhua’s tenacity and singled out keeper Qiu for praise.
“I think they were very well organised, particularly in the first half they were very quick to get to the ball and they made it difficult for us,” he said.
“The goalkeeper made four very good saves in the second half, it could have been more but for his performance.”
The crowd ironically chanted on several occasions for Shenhua owner Zhu Jun to enter the field of play.
Local media had reported the 46-year-old video game mogul was in Shenhua’s playing squad for the match, having previously appeared for his team in a pre-season friendly with Liverpool in 2007.
However he did not take to the pitch this time.