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    01 June 2023

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    Axel Tuanzebe shows his class as Manchester United defeat Villarreal in Unconvincing win

    Manchester United’s pre-season friendly against Villarreal ended with a win, but it was far from an easy victory for the Red Devils.

    The Spanish side took the lead through Gerard Moreno early on after a mistake by goalkeeper Tom Heaton. However, Axel Tuanzebe equalised just before half-time with a powerful header from a corner kick.


    The second half saw both teams create chances to take the lead, but it was Marcus Rashford who scored the winner for United with just over 20 minutes left on the clock. His shot from outside of the box beat Villarreal goalkeeper Gerónimo Rulli and found its way into the bottom corner of the net.

    “It wasn’t our best performance,” said manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after the match. “We made too many mistakes and we need to improve going forward.”

    Despite not playing their best football, there were some positives to take away from this game for Manchester United fans. One of those positives was undoubtedly young defender Axel Tuanzebe, who put in an impressive display at centre-back.

    Tuanzebe shines in defence


    The 23-year-old was making his first appearance for United since May 2019, but he didn’t look out of place at all. In fact, he looked like a seasoned professional as he calmly dealt with everything that Villarreal threw at him.

    His goal just before half-time was the icing on the cake for his performance. He rose highest from a corner kick and powered a header into the back of the net, leaving Rulli with no chance.

    “I’m really happy to be back playing football,” said Tuanzebe after the match. “It’s been a while since I last played for United so it feels great to be out there again.”

    What next?

    This pre-season friendly against Villarreal was Manchester United’s final game before they start their Premier League campaign against Leeds United on August 14th.

    Solskjaer will undoubtedly be pleased with certain aspects of this win over Villarreal, but there is still plenty of work to do if they want to challenge for major honours this season.

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