Pre-season friendlies are usually conducted with the intention of getting players back to prime fitness levels as well as giving managers the chance to gauge their options ahead of the upcoming campaign.
While these exhibition matches are usually low intense affairs with both teams looking primarily to get a good workout without picking up any injuries, Manchester United’s clash with Tottenham Hotspur earlier today wasn’t certainly as ‘friendly’ as advertised.
Both the English teams looked in good form ahead of the International Champions Cup fixture with Spurs fresh off their win against Juventus and United unbeaten in their previous 3 friendlies in Australia.
No love lost between Spurs and Man Utd as Premier League rivals renew rivalry in Shanghai
With Pochettino known for setting up an attacking team and with “pace” being the keyword in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s pressers so far, fans who turned up at the Hongkou Football Stadium were always going to get their money’s worth of football.
But even the most optimistic of fans wouldn’t have been expecting the pace and intensity with which both teams went about their business on the pitch with the match-up looking like a proper Premier League fixture for large spells of the 90.
Both teams looked to attack right from the off and things were already looking pretty lively when Anthony Martial beat Gazzaniga at his near post to give United the lead in the 21st minute.
But it was after the Frenchman’s strike that things really ticked off with tackles going in left and right from both teams during the latter stages of the first half.
Not a friendly – Spurs v Man Utd marred with violence from players in Shanghai
While closing down from midfield is always appreciated, Moussa Sissoko took things a bit too far when he tried to halt Daniel James from creating problems on the left wing.
The Frenchman chopped the young winger down and United players seemed incensed for what they felt was deliberate stamp in the follow through of his tackle.
Andreas Pereira looked the most offended and looked inches away from starting a brawl with Spurs skipper Harry Kane before the referee stepped in to diffuse the situation.
The Brazilian looked riled up after the incident and got himself booked for a lunging tackle on Kane not long after Sissoko’s horror challenge.
Check out both the incidents below –
But this is ok ffs pic.twitter.com/WNBSnvrRlt— Dave Ellis
(@fullback03) July 25, 2019