CAPE TOWN (AFP)
Substitute Bebe scored two minutes into stoppage time to salvage
a 1-1 draw for Manchester United at Ajax Cape Town on Saturday in
the second match of a pre-season world tour.
The Portuguese tapped a low cross into the net after Ajax had
snatched the lead four minutes from time at a chilly Cape Town
Stadium through a looping Alcardo van Graan back-heel from a
New Â£17 million ($26 million) signing Shinji Kagawa from Japan
made his first start for the Red Devils and showed many deft
touches before squandering a good second-half scoring chance.
United, who defeated AmaZulu 1-0 in the other match on the South
African leg of their tour, lacked many first-choice players like
Wayne Rooney and captain Nemanja Vidic due to post-Euro 2012
rests, the Olympic Games and injuries.
"It was a very competitive game with good attacking momentum from
both sides, a brilliant atmosphere and an excellent pitch,"
United manager Sir Alex Ferguson told reporters.
"While pre-season matches are not do-or-die affairs, our players
do not enjoy losing and they reacted very positively having
fallen behind late in the game. These tours are very useful in
testing our young players."
While United kept possession for lengthy periods at the start of
the match, they did not trouble former Liverpool goalkeeper
Sander Westerveld and it was Ajax who created the first chance,
only for Khama Billiat to fire wide.
A few minutes later and the Cape Town club had another half
chance, but Terror Fanteni turned too slowly on the edge of the
penalty area and his shot was blocked.
Billiat was proving a constant threat to the United defence and
won a free-kick on the edge of the box, but the referee spotted a
foul when the ball was floated across the goalmouth.
United finally came close to breaking the deadlock on 34 minutes
when Antonio Valencia crossed from the right and Javier Hernandez
headed goalwards, only to be denied by a flying one-hand save
Ajax threatened again soon after before being let down by poor
ball control, and United goalkeeper Ben Amos breathed a sigh of
relief when an edge-of-the-box shot beat him and finished just
Little Mexican Hernandez got a touch to a low cross but could not
prevent the ball trickling wide and the first half ended with
Ajax holding their own against the three-time European champions.
United laid siege to the Ajax goalmouth in the early stages of
the second half, with Hernandez going close and Ajax defender
Nazeer Allie thwarting another threatening situation with a
But the goal would not come and Kagawa wasted a golden chance to
break the deadlock just past the hour mark when he sneaked
unmarked into the heart of the area and headed a Hernandez cross
Freguson rang the changes with 20 minutes left, bringing on new
signing Nick Powell, Bebe, Ryan Tunnicliffe and Jesse Lingard for
Paul Scholes, Hernandez, Valencia and Anderson.
Having survived a pounding from United, Ajax started to push
forward entering the final 15 minutes in pursuit of a winner and
Amos needed to get down quickly to push a snap shot away.
Next stop for the Red Devils on the six-match tour is China for a
clash with Shanghai Shenhua next Wednesday, and they will also
play Valerenga in Norway, Barcelona in Sweden and Hanover in