Manchester United held to 2-2 draw by Cerezo Osaka

Tokyo, July 27: Manchester United equalised with the last kick of the game to draw 2-2 with Cerezo Osaka as their pre-season Asia tour nears completion.

Wilfried Zaha’s last-minute equaliser Friday saved new boss David Moyes the blushes and ensured that the Premier League champions didn’t fall to their third defeat in four games on their Asia Tour, reports Xinhua.

Cerezo Osaka got on the scoresheet first in muggy conditions better suited to the local side.

United’s Chris Smalling, in a school boy error-esque fashion, tried to dribble the ball out of his own penalty area and was unceremoniously dispossessed by Cerezo’s Kenyu Sugimoto, who fired his left-footed shot hard and low past United’s Lindegaard from 12-yards.

United struggled to hit back with ace-striker Robin van Persie, denied on two clear-cut chances by local keeper Kim Jin Hyeon and United’s Japanese superstar Shinji Kagawa, blazed over from six-yards in the 42nd minute.

Kagawa redeemed himself in the second-half, however, having already missed a penalty, much to the dismay of the youngster’s local and international fans, turning in a Ryan Giggs low cross at the near post to slot home.

But United failed to capitalise on their momentum and Cerezo re-took the lead midway through the second half.

Akumi Minamino collected the ball on the edge of the box and curled a sweetly struck right-footed shot into the top corner.

United looked set for defeat, but were rescued by substitute Zaha one minute into stoppage time with the teenager coolly redirecting a square pass into the back of the net from close range.

“I’m glad I somehow scored in the end. That’s about it, really, ” Kagawa said after the final whistle.

“I have to admit I was a bit uneasy about taking the penalty. But as it turns out, I managed to score in open play after that so maybe I was meant to miss it,” he told local media.

“I know my teammates fairly well now so there is an understanding. The season’s already started as far as I’m concerned. The race is on,” he added.

IANS