Ann Arbor, United States – Ashley Young struck twice Saturday to help Manchester United to a 3-1 friendly win over Real Madrid in front of the biggest crowd ever to watch a football match in America.
Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez also scored for Manchester United, whose lone goal was Gareth Bale's spot kick.
Madrid trailed 2-1 in the second half when manager Carlo Ancelotti introduced former United star Cristiano Ronaldo off the bench.
The move did little for the European champions' quest for an equalizer, but it delighted the crowd of 109,318 at Michigan Stadium, home of the University of Michigan Wolverines that is fondly known as “The Big House.”
The attendance surpassed the prior record 101,799 who watched the 1984 Olympic final between Brazil and France at Pasadena's Rose Bowl.
While Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal had voiced doubts that the US tour heavy on travel offered the best pre-season preparation for his players, he was proud of the club's impact in North America as well as their performance on the pitch in four matches so far.
“Three hundred thousand fans have watched us already and now we're in the Miami final, it will be even more than that,” he said.
“Broadcasters all over the world should show the first goal,” he said of Young's strike in the 21st minute. “It was a fantastic goal by Manchester United. I think all the team touched the ball. People could have come to the stadium just for that goal, I think.”
Real Madrid pulled level six minutes later after Bale was fouled by Michael Keane and converted the penalty.
Louis van Gaal's side went ahead again in the 37th as Young curled a ball into the net, Wayne Rooney coming close to getting the final touch.
Hernandez sealed the result in the 80th when he headed in a cross from Shinji Kagawa.
The victory sends Manchester United into Monday's final of the International Champions Cup, a series of friendlies involving eight European clubs all preparing for their domestic campaigns.
They'll face Premier League rivals Liverpool, who had already booked their berth before their 2-0 victory over AC Milan in Charlotte on Saturday.
“It will be another preparation game for us but it's better to win than lose,” van Gaal said.
In Charlotte, Joe Allen in the first half and Spanish striker Suso in the second scored for Liverpool, as AC Milan finished the exhibition tournament without a point.
Liverpool's pressure paid off with Allen's goal in the 17th minute.
After divesting Michael Essien of the ball, Allen drove into the penalty area and fired a shot that hit the post.
Raheem Sterling's attempt from the rebound was deflected back by keeper Christian Abbiati, but Allen was in place to finally slot the ball home.
Liverpool had a chance to double the score in the 28th minute, but Rickie Lambert's spot-kick was saved by Abbiati and it wasn't until the 90th minute that Suso added the second goal.
“I thought it was an excellent test for us,” Liverpool manager Brendan Rogers said. “I thought we showed real good composure and control with the ball .. and I thought defensively we were really strong and solid.”
In addition to enduring another demoralizing defeat, AC Milan saw defender Mattia De Sciglio laid out flat by a collision with his own goalkeeper Gabriel in the second half.
Gabriel was able to continue in goal, but De Sciglio had to leave the contest.
Liverpool had already been assured of going through to Monday's match after English Premier League champions Manchester City fell 5-4 on penalties to Olympiakos after a 2-2 fulltime draw in Minneapolis.
In an all-Italian clash, Inter Milan defeated AS Roma 2-0 in Philadelphia. – Sapa-AFP