Zaha, Kagawa make their case
MANCHESTER United remained unbeaten under new Dutch manager Louis van Gaal after defeating Inter Milan 5-3 on penalty kicks on Tuesday, following a goal-less draw.
Scouting striker talent for an English Premier League season only 18 days away, the manager gave Wilfried Zaha and Japan's Shinji Kagawa a look in the second half and kept Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez, reportedly being eyed for a transfer deal to Inter, on the bench until late.
"I am very pleased," van Gaal said. "I think we played by far the best match of our sequence of three."
United, which debuted new blue uniforms, began the United States pre-season tour with a 7-0 romp over host Los Angeles Galaxy last Wednesday and then edged AS Roma 3-2 at Denver.
As a crowd of 61,238 watched, Inter's Marco Andreolli slammed a shot off the crossbar in the shootout to leave United ahead 4-3 and United captain Darren Fletcher followed by kicking home the decider.
"Fletcher hit the post in training, so it's also a little bit of luck, but we deserved the victory, I think," van Gaal said.
Hernandez, Ashley Young, Tom Cleverly and Kagawa also scored in the shootout for United, who continue their American tour on Saturday against Real Madrid at Ann Arbor, Michigan, where a US record football crowd of more than 100,000 is expected.
Chants for "Chicharito" were rewarded with striker Hernandez's insertion by van Gaal in the 78th minute.
Fredy Guarin, the Colombian midfielder for Inter who has been linked to a possible transfer deal for Hernandez, entered in the 84th minute. Guarin blasted a free kick in the 85th minute that forced a leaping right-handed save by United second-half goalkeeper David de Gea.
All van Gaal would say of Hernandez was: "He's a player of Manchester United at this moment."
On Kagawa, whom the manager has tested at finisher and playmaker roles, he said he was pleased with his forward work. "He did it much better than in the two matches before," he said.
Zaha, a 21-year-old winger and former Crystal Palace standout, took the field in the second half hoping to prove he could help the club. He missed his best shot in the 90th minute.
"I played all right. I'm happy," Zaha said. "It's not as much fun as being a winger, but I'll take it.
"There's so much pressure on me. Every chance you get you have to take. There are so many players here."
Van Gaal liked what he saw from Zaha. "I was pleased with his performance," he said.
"We have to see and wait - he has a lot of competition from the other strikers."