Man Utd denied winning end to pre-season tour as Aston Villa hit back for draw

Manchester United were pegged back by a last-gasp Calum Chambers header as Aston Villa fought back to deny Erik ten Hag a winning end to their pre-season tour of Thailand and Australia.

The final friendly of the Red Devils’ four-game trip had been in jeopardy due to the impact of heavy downpours on an already cut-up surface, but the referee gave the go-ahead following a pitch inspection.

Thankfully both sides appeared to avoid injury on the poor surface at the otherwise impressive Optus Stadium in Perth, where a crowd of 58,228 saw Steven Gerrard’s Villa overturn a two-goal deficit to draw 2-2 at the death.

Jadon Sancho volleyed home his third goal of the tour at the end of a fine team move to open the scoring in a first half that ended with Marcus Rashford’s strike deflecting in off Matty Cash.

Leon Bailey pulled one back with a superb solo goal shortly after his half-time introduction and Chambers’ headed home his corner with the last touch of the night as David De Gea was caught in no-man’s land.

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United captain Harry Maguire did not face any noticeable negativity days after being booed in Melbourne and went close to an early opener as Emiliano Martinez saved his header from a Luke Shaw corner.

Cash sent a fizzing strike just across the face of goal on a rare Villa voyage forwards, with United dominating play for the most part and the dangerous Sancho finding the net at the end of a fine team move.

United swept play from right to left and Rashford played in the overlapping Shaw, who crossed for Sancho to volley home on the edge of the six-yard box in the 25th minute.

The heavens opened as the second half came to a conclusion but Ten Hag’s men kept their composure in monsoon conditions to score again.

Fred took possession inside his own half and his clipped ball put Sancho behind Villa’s backline, with the winger crossing for Rashford to get away a strike that went in off Cash in the 42nd minute.

Villa returned strongly from the half-time break. Ollie Watkins went close shortly before substitute Bailey brilliantly darted forwards, cut inside Victor Lindelof and bent a low shot beyond De Gea.

The Spaniard produced an excellent save in the 54th minute to tip over a deflected attempt by Bailey, who was proving a handful and was denied a leveller by sliding Maguire’s block having rounded the goalkeeper.

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De Gea misread the resulting corner but Villa did not punish him – a poor decision that may be down to the conditions given someone had to run onto the pitch to chase a plastic chair that had blown away soon after.

Both sides made sweeping changes as the match wound down on a worsening pitch, taking the sting out of a clash that ended with Chambers rising to meet a Bailey corner as De Gea was caught out.

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