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Glory Glory (Snap Judgments: Manchester United vs. FC Barcelona)

Robert Cole/ALOST
New Manchester United signing Romelu Lukaku, who will be filling the shoes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic as the Red Devils' main striker this season, played the whole 90 minutes tonight against Barça. (Robert Cole/ALOST)
New Manchester United signing Romelu Lukaku, who will be asked to fill the shoes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic as the Red Devils’ main striker this season, played the whole 90 minutes tonight against Barça. (Robert Cole/ALOST)

 

akoiki-passport2 – by Adesina O. Koiki
A Lot of Sports Talk editor-in-chief

 

LANDOVER, MD — We might now come to expect that, if a game in the United States is played that features Barcelona, Neymar will be the star of the show.

With rumors continuing to swirl around his future at the Nou Camp, the Brazilian once again scored the winner in an International Champions Cup game, this time scoring the only goal in a 1-0 victory over Manchester United in front of a crowd of over 80,000 just outside of Washington D.C.

Much of the discussion with Neymar has centered around a possible record-breaking money move to French club Paris Saint-Germain, but he has kept mum about the news throughout. His play on the pitch, however, has spoken volumes. After netting two goals in a 10-minute span in the first half last Saturday against Juventus in New Jersey, Neymar received a chipped pass into the box by Lionel Messi and performed an acrobatic spin move before slotting past United goalkeeper David De Gea in the 31st minute for the only goal of the game. The goal was the highlight of an entertaining first half, with both squads fielding close to their “A-team” squads, as Barça started the trio of Neymar, Messi and Luis Suarez up front, while Manchester United started De Gea, Paul Pogba, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and new signing Romelu Lukaku. Pogba and Lukaku played the entire 90 minutes.

Though not the result the Red Devils wanted to end its American tour, the jaunt across the pond has to be considered a success, with four wins out of five games played – including a penalty shootout win against Real Madrid in Los Angeles, the team that they will face in Skopje in two weeks’ time in the UEFA Super Cup. The trip also allowed Lukaku to get game reps with his new teammates after his move from Everton to the red part of Manchester, spurning Chelsea in the process of deciding where to play this season.

Both teams come off of, to their lofty standards, disappointing seasons, though both went home with silverware to end 2016-17. Barcelona lost out on the La Liga title to Real Madrid and were ousted in the quarterfinals of the Champions League by Juventus, but did take home the Copa del Rey after defeating Alavés. Manchester United finished sixth in the Premier League but did win the UEFA Europa League Final against Ajax and earned itself automatic qualification to this season’s Champions League.

While Manchester United heads back to Europe for a couple of more preseason games before its Super Cup final, Barcelona will head down to Miami for the latest edition of El Clásico against Real Madrid – the first-ever matchup between the two great rivals to take place in the United States.

*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from tonight’s game, with all photos taken by our senior photographer, Robert Cole. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 30 pictures in total.

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