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United held in Asian tour opener

  • Story Highlights
  • Manchester United held to 2-2 draw in friendly against Urawa Red Diamonds
  • Premier League champions fall behind after mistake by van der Sar
  • Ronaldo scores United's second before Ono's equalizer
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TOKYO, Japan -- Manchester United were held to a 2-2 draw by Japanese J-League champions Urawa Red Diamonds in the opening match of the close season tour of Asia on Tuesday.


Ronaldo attempts to elude the Urawa defense during United's tour opener.

It was a far from convincing performance by the Premier League champions and they had to battle back from going behind in the 25th minute after a blunder by their goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar.

The Dutch international completely misjudged a free kick from Hideki Uchidate as Urawa took a shock lead at the Saitama stadium.

Second half strikes from Darren Fletcher and Cristiano Ronaldo appeared to have given United victory, but Urawa hit back for a late equalizer from former Feyenoord midfielder Shinji Ono.

It sent home the near 60,000 crowd home happy and no more than Urawa, who were missing several of their regular starting line up to Japan's Asian Cup bid, deserved.

Despite the late setback, it was a useful workout for Alex Ferguson's men, who were without minor injury victims Owen Hargreaves and Nani.

"We considered tonight's game a good test for us and a good test for Urawa Reds and it was a fair result," United boss Alex Ferguson said.

"In the second half, we obviously tired a little but I think it was an entertaining match."

After easing themselves into the contest, United increased their tempo immediately after Urawa grabbed their shock opener.

Paul Scholes and Wayne Rooney might have equalized before the break but it took only two minutes of the second period for the visitors to level as Scottish international Fletcher scored from Michael Carrick's net cutback.

Ronaldo, who kept the crowd entertained with an array of tricks, showed more cutting edge as he scored the second, drifting in off the left wing to let fly with a thunderous shot which flicked off Satoshi Horinouchi before nestling in the bottom corner.

Rooney wasted another excellent opportunity to open his account after Ronaldo played him in and the England forward was made to pay immediately as Ono slalomed his way into the United box before finishing superbly to earn the Japanese outfit a share of the spoils. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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