Brilliant Bellingham off the mark as Madrid down United

AFP , Thursday 27 Jul 2023

Jude Bellingham scored the first goal of his Real Madrid career as the Spanish giants defeated Manchester United 2-0 in a pre-season friendly in Houston on Wednesday.

Jude Bellingham #5 of Real Madrid controls the ball in front of Alejandro Garnacho #49 of Manchester United in the first half during the 2023 Soccer Champions Tour match at NRG Stadium on July 26, 2023 in Houston. AFP


English midfielder Bellingham, who joined Madrid from Borussia Dortmund in a $114 million transfer in June, opened his account with an exquisite finish after just six minutes.

Madrid defender Antonio Rudiger caught the United defence napping with a superbly weighted ball that sent Bellingham bearing down on goal.

The 20-year-old took one touch to control and then lifted a delicate chip over on-rushing United goalkeeper Andre Onana to give Madrid a deserved lead.

Brazilian international Vinicius Jr. might have doubled the Madrid lead shortly afterwards but scuffed his shot from eight yards out to let United off the hook.

United, meanwhile, almost got back on level terms after 36 minutes, but Marcus Rashford was just unable to find the target from a tight angle.

With Madrid in control, United's frustration boiled over shortly before half-time when Lisandro Martinez clattered into Bellingham with a wild tackle. Bellingham reacted angrily and Martinez earned a booking for the challenge.

After a flurry of changes at half-time United looked improved after the break, but Madrid created the better chances, with Militao almost making it 2-0 on 69 minutes only to see his shot cleared off the line.

Madrid finally made the game safe in the 89th minute, with Lucas Vazquez crossing for veteran forward Joselu to light up the NRG Stadium with a stunning overhead kick for 2-0.

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