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Rediff.com  » Sports » Owen shines on Man United debut

Owen shines on Man United debut

July 18, 2009 19:52 IST

Substitute Michael Owen scored the winner on his Manchester United debut as the English champions opened their pre-season tour of Asia with a 3-2 victory over a plucky Malaysia XI in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday.

A day after United were forced to cancel the Indonesia leg of the four-country tour following the hotel bombings in Jakarta, coach Alex Ferguson's men were given a stern test by a side ranked 157th in the FIFA rankings.

"I'm happy with the result and happy with the team," Ferguson told reporters. "It was a typical Michael Owen goal. he was the first to react and the finish was what you would expect from him."

As is often the case when the leading English Premier League teams visit Asia, fans in a packed Bukit Jalil Stadium were almost all supporting the opponents rather than their national side.

The scoreboard listed United as the home team and a strong line-up started confidently in the Malaysian capital with Wayne Rooney and Portuguese winger Nani giving them a 2-0 lead after 27 minutes.

Malaysia striker Amri Yahyah struck either side of the break, the first a sublime dipping volley from 30 metres out, to level the match before Owen rounded the keeper to score five minutes from time.

Owen was given the auspicious number seven shirt worn by George Best, Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo, and Ferguson said it was a challenge he would relish.

"The shirt has been worn by a lot of high-profile players in the past and it's an honour to be handed that opportunity.

"Michael is a high-profile player and the sort of player who will relish that challenge," Ferguson added.

After the match, United chief executive David Gill announced that Monday's cancelled game in Jakarta would be replaced by a second contest against the Malaysia XI at the same Kuala Lumpur venue next Monday.

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