Tour 2016 presented by Aon | 22 July 2016 | Shanghai Stadium | Scorers: Mkhitaryan 59; Castro 19, 86, Aubameyang (pen.) 36, Dembele 57.
Manchester United’s opening match on Tour 2016, presented by Aon, ended in disappointment after a 4-1 defeat to Borussia Dortmund in Shanghai, but the friendly game proved to be another useful exercise for new manager Jose Mourinho as he continues to settle into life at the club.
First-half goals from Gonzalo Castro and the impressive Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang put the Germans, who had former United star Shinji Kagawa in their starting line-up, in the driving seat. Ousmane Dembele netted a fine third finish after the break and although Henrikh Mkhitaryan fired in his unofficial first strike for United, it proved to be a consolation after Castro’s superb second effort late on.
Just as he had at Wigan, Mourinho positioned himself on the touchline from minute one, shouting instructions and encouragement throughout the 90 minutes. In truth it was a scrappy opening from both sides as the two sets of players looked to settle into the match in extremely humid conditions.
The first chance of any real note fell to Dortmund, who had already played some pre-season games, on 20 minutes and it led to the opening goal. Aubameyang tried a speculative effort on goal from 35 yards which Sam Johnstone could only parry to Dembele. Johnstone blocked the follow-up, but he, as well as Phil Jones on the line, were powerless to stop Castro’s bundled finish into the roof of the net.
The United players had struggled up to that point to really impose themselves on the game as an attacking force. Juan Mata found himself on the ball a lot in the no.10 role behind Memphis Depay; Mkhitaryan, up against the team he signed from, lined up on the left with Jesse Lingard on the right as Mourinho tested out players in different positions, and the pair switched wings later on in the half. Lingard was the first Red to be given a sight of goal three minutes after Dortmund had taken the lead when he pounced on a loose ball, but his effort was straight at German goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller.
Somewhat harshly Mourinho’s men went further behind on 36 minutes when Aubameyang’s spectacular overhead kick collided with Antonio Valencia’s arm. The Dortmund man grabbed the ball and duly drilled home from the spot.
It was the same player again who took aim five minutes before the break with a volley which dropped just wide, while Johnstone brilliantly clawed away yet another Aubameyang effort two minutes later.
Four changes followed at the break as Sergio Romero, Marcos Rojo, Ashley Young and Marcus Rashford came on for Johnstone, Jones, Lingard and Memphis.
Rashford’s introduction brought about one of the loudest cheers of the night and it was his lovely pass into Mkhitaryan on the swivel which almost got the Reds back into the game on 56 minutes, but the Armenian’s effort was well held by Weidenfeller.
No fewer than 60 seconds later Dembele netted Dortmund’s third with a sublime strike. After escaping the attentions of Luke Shaw and Rojo, the midfielder walloped an unstoppable drive past a helpless Romero.
That looked to have sown the game up for the Germans, but United replied almost instantly as Rashford’s excellent dummy from Daley Blind’s pass put Mata clear and he unselfishly crossed for Mkhitaryan to tap home.
Further formation changes followed for the Reds, with Adnan Januzaj, Paddy McNair and Andreas Pereira entering the fray, but the alterations couldn’t turn the course of the match around and Castro blasted home a sublime fourth goal for Dortmund late on.
United: Johnstone (Romero 46), Valencia (Pereira 75), Bailly, Jones (Rojo 46), Shaw, Blind (McNair 66), Herrera, Mata, Mkhitaryan (Januzaj 66), Lingard (Young 46), Memphis (Rashford 46).
Subs not used: Tuanzebe, Keane.
Booked: Bailly, Shaw.
Dortmund: Weidenfeller, Passlack (Larsen 46), Bender (Merino 62), Sokratis (Bartra 62), Schmelzer (Burnic 70), Rode (Sahin 62), Kagawa (Leitner 70), Castro, Dembele (Pulisic 74), Aubameyang (Hober 70), Ramos (Emre Mor 63).