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Aberdeen 0 - 2 Manchester United

HT Score: Aberdeen 0 - 1 Manchester United

Manchester United scorers: Carrick (44 Pen), Rooney (70).

12/07/2008 | KO: 15:00

Fergie's return ends in defeat for Dons

Aberdeen opened their pre-season programme with their most testing engagement, but gave a good account of themselves as they slipped to a narrow 2-0 defeat against a powerful looking Manchester United.

For this testimonial tribute to the Gothenburg Greats of 25 years ago, Jimmy Calderwood wasted no time in creating a new partnership in central midfield with new signings Mark Kerr and Gary McDonald joining forces, with skipper Scott Severin dropping back into a central defensive role alongside Zander Diamond.

With a fully fit squad to pick from, Darren Mackie and Lee Miller got the nod from the manager up front, Jamie Smith and Jeffrey de Visscher slotting into the wide midfield positions, Richard Foster and Andrew Considine playing at full-back and Jamie Langfield taking up station between the posts.

Sir Alex Ferguson brought a squad bristling with internationals and Champions League winners as he played his part in marking the 25th anniversary of that night in Gothenburg.

Three minutes in, a right wing corner from de Visscher caused confusion, the ball reaching Severin who curled a shot just wide, United responding quickly when Martin dragged his effort wide from the edge of the box 30 seconds later.

Langfield was called into action in the 5th minute, a routine save after a clever Giggs flick set Rooney away. In the 10th minute, Rooney's pace took him to the edge of the box but he only succeeded in blasting a shot against the covering Severin.

The half progressed with United looking comfortable in possession, but the Dons keeping a good shape to deny them space until in the 21st minute, de Visscher fizzed a 20 yard effort just wide with Amos seemingly beaten.

The ball was in the United net 60 seconds later, Miller losing Vidic then crossing for Mackie to score, only for the effort to be ruled offside.

United were back on the attack after 27 minutes, Giggs' shot deflected wide after an interchange of passes with Carrick.

The deadlock was finally broken when Carrick split the defence with a beautiful pass to Rooney in the 43rd minute, Langfield adjudged to have brought the former Everton man down as he tried to round the 'keeper. Carrick stepped up and rolled the resultant penalty into the corner of the net, sending Langfield the wrong way with virtually the last kick of the half.

A packed Pittodrie was then entertained at half time with the return of the Gothenburg Greats who took on a Paul Lawrie Select XI, honours even in a 0-0 draw, Neil Simpson and Duncan Shearer missing the best chances at either end.

Once they had left the field, Sir Alex Ferguson was given a standing ovation on his way back to the dug out for the resumption of the main event.

A slew of half-time changes gave both sides a different look, Severin and Smith in centre midfield now for the Dons, Stuart Duff at right-back with Chris Maguire up front, Derek Young on the left wing, Lee Mair at centre-half and Bertrand Bosssu getting his first game in goal.

It was Aberdeen who nearly drew first blood, Woods saving a Mair shot after 52 minutes, then Rooney made his first mark on the second period on 55 minutes, bending a shot wide of goal.

A superb fingertip save prevented Giggs make it 2-0 on the hour, Bossu clawing his goalbound header onto the bar after the Welshman was picked out by Fletcher's cross.

Power and trickery from Rooney on 65 minutes set Campbell away down the right, but Eagles couldn't quite provide the finishing touch to his ball across the six yard box as United continued to pose a threat by breaking quickly.

Rooney did finally get on the scoresheet himself on 70 minutes, a driving run by Carrick releasing Fletcher on the right, the Scottish international delivering an inviting cross which Rooney glanced into the far corner with a deft header.

Young tried to reduce the arrears with a powerful shot from the edge of the box after 80 minutes but Woods was down quickly to save.

Bossu did even better in the last minute with an acrobatic catch from Simpson's fierce 20 yarder, but he could only watch helplessly as Eagles shot wide of an empty net seconds later after the 'keeper had collided with Mair, leaving the final score 2-0 to the Champions of England and Europe.

Aberdeen Teamsheet
Langfield (Bossu 46), Foster, Severin, Diamond, Considine (Duff 46), de Visscher (Paton 81), McDonald (Mair 46), Kerr (Young 46), Smith (Smith 73), Miller (Stewart 81), Mackie (Maguire 46).
Manchester United Teamsheet
Amos (Woods 73); Neville (Simpson 46), Brown (Evans 61), Vidic (O'Shea 46), Silvestre; Fletcher, Carrick, Scholes (Campbell 61), Martin (Eagles 46), Rooney (Hewson 73), Giggs (Gibson 61)
Attendance: 20,500
Venue: Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen
Referee: Calum Murray