• Manchester United 3-1 Liverpool

Captain Rooney inspires United to International Champions title

ESPN staff
August 5, 2014
Wayne Rooney lifted the International Champions trophy as Manchester United captain © Getty Images

Wayne Rooney put in a captain's performance as Manchester United rallied to victory against longtime rivals Liverpool 3-1 to claim the International Champions Cup title.

Rooney and Juan Mata scored two minutes apart in the second half before Jesse Lingard added a goal in the 88th minute for United, who remain unbeaten under new manager Louis van Gaal.

Rooney scored in the 55th minute, volleying home a long cross from Javier Hernandez. Mata got the go-ahead goal shortly afterward, and United held on to capture the eight-team event.

Steven Gerrard scored on a penalty in the 14th minute for Liverpool, who topped United twice last season in Premier League play.

It was only a pre-season game, but there is certainly no such thing as a true "friendly" between these clubs, who have combined for 38 English championships and well over 100 trophies worldwide.

When Rooney got the equaliser, it was clear this was no meaningless match for him, either. Hernandez sent a ball from the right wing to the far post, with Rooney timing his run perfectly to knock the volley into the far side of the net - then leaping and punching the air.

Moments later, Luke Shaw found Mata at the top of the penalty box, and Mata's quick blast deflected past Simon Mingolet for a 2-1 lead. After Lingard added the insurance goal, Rooney stood still for a few moments, his arms outstretched in celebration.

The scoring opened in the 14th minute, on a play that Manchester United argued to no avail. Liverpool's Raheem Sterling chased down a ball on the left side of the box near the goal line, as Manchester United's Phil Jones scurried over to defend. Jones went for a slide tackle and while replays showed he appeared to make contact with the ball, the play also sent Sterling to the grass - and referee Mark Geiger immediately signalled for a penalty kick.

Gerrard went one way, Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea guessed the other and just like that Liverpool had a 1-0 lead. That score was one of three blows United took in the opening minutes.

Hernandez had a great chance near the goalmouth shortly after play got underway, failing to convert after being set up by Darren Fletcher. And not long afterward, midfielder Antonio Valencia was subbed out and walked off the field for evaluation after being shaken up.

Then again, the early going also could have gone worse for United. Liverpool's Jordan Henderson had a great chance on a header from about six yards off a set piece, sending the ball just over the crossbar. And about 10 minutes after the penalty kick, De Gea made a point-blank stop to keep United within a goal.

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