Lukaku opens his United account with 38th minute goal
Having watched from the bench as Marcus Rashford scored twice in United’s pre-season opener against LA Galaxy, Lukaku was given his chance from the start against Real Salt Lake.
After failing to take a chance against LA Galaxy, he opened his United account in the 38th minute at the Rio Tinto Stadium.
He was only involved fleetingly in the early stages, almost meeting a cross from Timothy Fosu-Mensah and then powering a shot at the goalkeeper from around 25 yards.
The first touch to control Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s pass into the middle was not his best, but he kept his composure and rounded the keeper before finishing.
Having led the line on his own for most of the 45 minutes in Utah, it will be intriguing to see how Lukaku fares when he is played with Rashford.
Valencia’s 68th-minute red card was unusual, not only because it came in a friendly, but because Jose Mourinho was apparently asked by the referee if he wanted to take his captain off before he was sent off for a swiping tackle from behind on Sebastian Saucedo.
Young people enthusiasm
“The delay was because the referee asked me to change the player and I didn’t,” said Mourinho. “Because I don’t agree with the card. Because Saucedo was really aggressive during all of the second half, with what happened to Mata and some other actions where it was a bit dangerous, which I understand.
“Young people, enthusiasm playing against Manchester United, but you come with the mentality of a friendly match and in the end you find yourself in a different mentality.”
Valencia will not serve a suspension for the red card, which came just 23 minutes after his half-time introduction.
Even before Valencia’s dismissal, there had been a few more hard tackles in the second half than in the first.
One of them forced Mata off the pitch, just 15 minutes after he had come on at the break.
The Spaniard was left holding his ankle after being taken out by Saucedo, and signalled to the bench that he wanted to come off.
“Mata has a big ankle but I hope it is nothing important,” said Mourinho afterwards. “A few days, a week, probably.”