Substitute Wilfried Zaha equalised with the last kick of the match to prevent Manchester United from losing a third game from four on their pre-season tour as they drew 2-2 at Cerezo Osaka in Japan.
Returning Cerezo hero Shinji Kagawa was on target to equalise Kenyu Sugimoto's opener but also missed a penalty for the tourists, who showed flashes of inspiration under the guidance of a vocal David Moyes but also worrying lapses in concentration.
A quite brilliant dipping strike from Takumi Minamino seemed set to settle the match before Zaha tapped in following a well-worked move.
Kagawa returned to the club where he spent his first four seasons as a professional – scoring 55 goals in 125 appearances – to a hero’s welcome.
Operating on the left side in an advanced role with Ashley Young on the right, the Japanese linked up well with Robin van Persie, who made the match despite picking up a thigh strain in the 3-2 defeat on Tuesday against Yokohama F Marinos.
The Netherlands star lacked a cutting edge, however, as keeper Kim Jin-Hyeon blocked a one-on-one inside the opening minute then denied him again as Van Persie looked to dink home with his weaker right foot.
There were chances at both ends with Phil Jones heading a Van Persie cross over and Brazilian striker Edno only able to direct his own header straight at Anders Lindegaard when all alone six yards out.
The first goal arrived courtesy of a howler from Chris Smalling. With time at the back, he sought to play the ball out but gave it straight to Sugimoto, who saw a gap and fired inside the near post.
Welbeck, lively in the first half, was unfortunate to see a strike come off the foot of the near post after a smooth turn and when the ball was centred for Kagawa, he snatched at his shot and ballooned it over.
A superb Cruyff turn-pass from Kagawa as the ball dropped to find Ryan Giggs – playing in the holding role alongside Jones as Michael Carrick sat the match out with a niggle – saw the Welshman saunter inside and force a save from Kim.
Welbeck again went close as a surging United failed to equalise before the break.
When they returned, Ashley Young collapsed in the box under no contact following a mazy dribble and up stepped Kagawa – but his spot-kick was pushed away by Kim in the corner.
However the playmaker who led Cerezo to the top flight in 2010 before departing for Europe and Borussia Dortmund was on the scoresheet within 60 seconds, controlling and finishing at the near post after Giggs crossed low on the turn.
Twenty-year-old winger Zaha arrived for Kagawa – again lauded in deafening fashion by the 49,000 capacity crowd – in the 58th minute and the former Crystal Palace star was unlucky to see a shot fly wide of the far post after tricking his way through several defenders.
Then came Minamino’s pearler. Stepping in from the left, he let fly from outside the box with a strike reminiscent of Cristiano Ronaldo which dipped into the far top corner.
Lindegaard did not get near that, but he did produce a stunning fingertip save from a similar effort minutes later as Yusuke Maruhashi’s effort took a slight deflection off Fabio.
With the game wilting in the heat despite mid-half drinks breaks and a raft of changes, United seemed bereft of ideas in their opponents’ half – with the exception 20-year-old sub Jesse Lingard’s shot which he dragged just wide on the turn as a defender seemed to hold him back by the shorts inside the box.
But Moyes’ men dug out a draw at the last, Zaha tapping home a low cross before the final whistle could be blown.
- Sports & Recreation
- Shinji Kagawa
- Manchester United
- Wilfried Zaha
- David Moyes
- Cerezo Osaka
- Ashley Young
- Kenyu Sugimoto