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Featured Image Credit: MUTV
Melbourne Victory stunned Manchester United with an early goal in their pre-season friendly in Australia on Friday.
United were in confident mood heading into the match, having beaten rivals Liverpool 4-0 in their opening pre-season friendly in Thailand on Tuesday.
But Erik ten Hag's side were brought back to earth with a bump after conceding just five minutes into their match against the Victory at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Chris Ikonomidis swept home a neat first-time finish to put the A-League side ahead from a well-worked counter-attack that caught out United's centre-back pairing of Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof.
Lindelof, playing on the left side of central defence, attempted to cut out a through ball on the wing but was unable to gain possession, allowing Ben Folami to race clear.
He then played a perfectly-weighted ball across the box to Ikonomidis, who made no mistake with the finish with Maguire unable to get back and stop the attack.
United fans on social media were quick to criticise Maguire, who was making his first appearance in pre-season, and Lindelof.
"Lack of game intelligence cost #MUFC there. Lindelof and Maguire positionally poor," wrote one fan.
Another added: "I know it's pre season. But Maguire and Lindelof for me really struggle. Much prefer [Eric] Bailly at the back. Much better on the ball and quick so can high press comfortably."
I know it’s pre season. But Maguire and Lindelof for me really struggle. Much prefer bailly at the back. Much better on the ball and quick so can high press comfortably. #united— Ricci Guarnaccio (@RicciGuarnaccio) July 15, 2022
It seems the Maguire agenda is still as strong as ever! Shaw was way out of position, and Lindelof couldn't decide whether to stay with his man or go, that left Maguire completely exposed.— Mark.C.Riley8799 (@MRiley8799) July 15, 2022
Trying to make Maguire a proactive CB is the funniest thing ever cause he never will be. Lindelof is but he’s not just a good CB overall. Point blank period. As for our full backs, only God can help us there. Genuinely need Martinez and Frenkie in that midfield tbh.— baby basquiat. (@fwflackoo) July 15, 2022
We can't continue to be using both maguire and lindelof. A lot of mid level teams in the PL will be happy to hit us on the break especially when we're playing a high line just because the two CBs are not fast. It's not acceptable— Azeez lawal (@Azeezla63434512) July 15, 2022
However, other fans defended Maguire from criticism, believing Lindelof and left-back Luke Shaw were most at fault for the goal.
"It seems the Maguire agenda is still as strong as ever! Shaw was way out of position, and Lindelof couldn't decide whether to stay with his man or go, that left Maguire completely exposed," posted one fan.
United responded well to going a goal down and went close to an equaliser when Scott McTominay had a shot well blocked in the area.
The Scotland international then had a second shot saved by Victory goalkeeper Paul Izzo, who then denied Bruno Fernandes with another good stop.
But United would turn the match on its head before half-time. McTominay equalised for the Red Devils with a heavily-deflected strike before Anthony Martial put the visitors ahead on the stroke of half-time with his second goal of pre-season.
Marcus Rashford added a third for United after the break before an own goal sealed a comfortable 4-1 win for Ten Hag's side, who face Crystal Palace in their next pre-season game on Tuesday.