There was plenty of excitement surrounding the start of the David Moyes era heading into Saturday's friendly between Manchester United and the Singha All Star XI, but the former Everton boss learned that life at the top of the food chain isn't easy, as the Thai underdogs shocked United by a 1-0 score, according to FOX Soccer Trax.
While the loss is a bad one for United, and Moyes especially, it's important to note that many of United's top offensive threats weren't present. Even so, the Red Devils put forth a representative lineup, as seen on the team's official Twitter account.
That simply wasn't enough, though, as the scrappy Thai All Stars were excellent defensively throughout the match and got the one break they needed in order to move in front for good.
Manchester United fans likely expected their team to come out and embarrass the Thai All Stars, but that certainly wasn't the case in the first half. Although the Red Devils got the better of the play for fairly long stretches, the Thai side actually had the more dangerous chances.
Thai striker Teeratep Winothai had a golden opportunity just four minutes in, as Manchester United attempted to draw him offsides. Winothai stayed on, though, and took a great ball over the top. Winothai took too much time to gather himself as he approached United goalkeeper Ben Amos, however, which allowed defender Jonny Evans to thwart the threat.
Winothai had yet another dangerous run later in the first half, as he nearly gave Singha All Star XI a shocking lead. A pinpoint through ball found Winothai in between two Manchester United defenders in the penalty box. Winothai was under pressure, but he fired a well-struck shot that was beautifully turned away by Amos.
Interestingly enough, the highlight of the half may have been a skill gone wrong on the part of Manchester United striker Danny Welbeck. The talented offensive star found himself in the corner in Thai territory, but as he attempted to mystify the Thai defender with a bit of wizardry, he accidentally back-heeled the ball out of bounds.
GIF courtesy of beIN Sport.
Manchester United had its share of chances as well, with midfielder Adnan Januzaj and Welbeck pressing forward for much of the half, but the Thai All Stars remained composed and were able to diffuse every difficult situation.
The Thai All Stars continued to look dangerous early in the second half, and they finally cashed in on an opportunity. Winothai, who nearly scored twice in the first half, made no mistake this time, as he took a nice pass from Dagno Siaka on a three-on-two rush and deposited it past Amos.
The Thai All Stars held up very well for much of the second half, but the more talented Manchester United squad began to put on the pressure with less than 10 minutes remaining. Welbeck had a fantastic chance in the 81st minute when he came in wide on the goalkeeper. Narit Taweekul came out to challenge Welbeck, but half the net was open. Welbeck tried to finesse it past him; however, it went just wide.
Just one minute later, Manchester United substitute and new acquisition Wilfried Zaha nearly scored his first goal as a Red Devil and nearly tied the match in the process, but his cracking strike went begging as it smacked the post and was cleared away.
The Red Devils tried to press forward after that, but Zaha's chance proved to be the last great one for Manchester United as the Thai All Stars were able to hang on and win the match.
Ben Amos (Manchester United): B
Amos may take some heat after this loss due to the fact that he probably should have stopped the match's lone goal, but he made some excellent saves prior to that and Manchester United could have easily lost the match by a two- or three-goal margin if not for him. With that said, Amos needs to make those saves if he is going to earn any playing time during the upcoming season.
He was put in a difficult position, as he isn't the Red Devils' main man in goal, but backups need to be ready when they're called upon. Amos didn't have to deal with much over the final 30 minutes of the match, as Manchester United dominated play, so allowing that one goal looks a little worse than it really was, but he'll likely admit that he should have had that one.
Teeratep Winothai (Singha All Star XI): A
As the captain of the squad, it was clear that Winothai would have to put his leadership to work in order for the Singha All Star XI to compete with Manchester United. That was certainly the case, as he threatened the Red Devils defense throughout the match and scored what was arguably one of the biggest goals in the history of Thai soccer.
Winothai had a couple great opportunities in the first half, so the score could have conceivably been 2-0 in the Thai side's favor heading into the second half. That wasn't the case, but he was finally able to break through in the second half. It wasn't Winothai's best scoring chance of the match by any means, but he was able to squeeze the ball past Amos and put a ton of pressure on Manchester United.
Danny Welbeck (Manchester United): D
With the likes of Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez not available for the match, much of the goal-scoring burden was placed on Welbeck's shoulders. Welbeck did have a couple chances in the first half, but he was nowhere near as sharp as he needed to be. He seemed more worried about style than substance at times, and that certainly hurt the team.
Welbeck already had his work cut out for him in terms of earning playing time with so many great attackers on the squad, but his effort on Saturday didn't do him any favors. It's tough to blame Manchester United's struggles on any single player, but Welbeck should definitely shoulder much of the blame.
Narit Taweekul (Singha All-Star XI): A
Although Manchester United didn't generate a ton of point-blank chances, Taweekul should be applauded for his incredible effort in between the posts for the Thai All Stars. He looked confident whenever the ball came into the box and he made plenty of sure-handed plays. Even when the Red Devils began to ramp up the pressure late in the match, he seemed unfazed as he kept the ball out of the back of the net.
Taweekul, admittedly, had a bit of luck on his side, as Zaha hit the post late in the match, but he made his own breaks for the most part and was solid throughout. If not for the confident play of Taweekul, there is little doubt that Manchester United would have cashed in during its barrage and tied the match, at the very least.
|Alexander Buttner (34')||RB||D|
|Tom Cleverly (62')||DM||B-|
|Ryan Giggs (62')||AM||C+|
|Wilfried Zaha (62')||AM||B+|
|Jesse Lingard (62')||AM||C|
|Phil Jones (62')||DM||C|
|Patrice Evra (77')||LB||C+|
Singha All Star XI
|Kim Yoo-Jin (40')||LB||C|
|Piyachart Thamaphan (83')||CB||B|
|Artit Daosawang (31')||RB||D|
|Datsakorn Thonglao (65')||DM||C+|
|Teerasil Dangda (59')||ST||B-|
|Thitipan Puangchan (31')||RB||C+|
|Apiwat Ngaolamhin (40')||LB||C|
|Chatree Chimtalay (59')||ST||C-|
|Teerasak Po-on (65')||DM||C+|
|Jose Mena (83')||CB||C|
In the grand scheme of things, the loss to the Singha All Star XI doesn't really matter since it was a friendly affair, but Manchester United's confidence has to be shaken to some degree. The same can be said for Moyes, as there is now even more pressure on him to win moving forward. Luckily, he won't have to agonize over the loss for long, as the Red Devils will continue their tour on July 20 in Sydney against the Australian League All Stars.
Manchester United will then spend the rest of the month in Asia, with three matches against Asian opponents. Provided the Red Devils perform well in those matches, all will likely be forgotten. If United slips up again on this tour, however, there may be some question marks heading into the EPL season.
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