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Man. United women show their class in Birkirkara friendly

Manchester United got the most out of their friendly match agianst Birkirkara with an emphatic win. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

BIRKIRKARA                               0

MANCHESTER UNITED                       10

Boe Risa 8, 27

Russo 16, 19

Garcia 28

Clinton 34

Moore 70, 90

Parris 76

Thomas 83

BIRKIRKARA J. Xuereb; Y. Bajada, M. Felice, S. Farrugia, V. Rapa, G. Zahra, A. Said, A. Sultana, M. Cardona, V. Mifsud, S. Saliba.

Subs used: R. Giusti, M. Grosso, Y. Azzopardi, I. Farrugia, K. Parnis, M. Fenech, I. Camilleri, S. Zarb. 

MANCHESTER UNITED M. Earps; O. Battle, A. Mannion, V. Boe Risa, K. Zelem, M. Le Tissier, L. Garcia, A. Leon, A. Russo, G. Clinton, J. Simpson (31 H. Blundell).

Subs used: H. Blundell, S. Baggaley, M. Turner, A. Tounkara, J. Moore, H. Ladd, E. Toone, N. Parris, M. Thomas, R. Williams, K. Barry.

Referee Joanna Vassallo.

Manchester United showed their class as they beat Birkirkara 10-0 in their international friendly in front of a record attendance of 1,053 people at the Tony Bezzina Stadium.

The previous record for a local women’s game was 764 when Malta hosted Italy during the UEFA Women’s Euro 2020 qualifications back in 2019, at the Centenary Stadium.

The Red Devils fielded a strong starting formation which included Euro winners Mary Earps and Alessia Russo, together with captain Katie Zelem, Spain’s internationals Lucia Garcia and Ona Battle, and Canada player Adriana Leon who won the Tokyo 2020 games with her nation.

Birkirkara, on their side, also deployed their usual regular starters with youngster Valentina Rapa given the nod instead of the absent Charlene Zammit at the back as rising star Sara Saliba started upfront.

The Women’s Super League side has now wrapped up their Malta training camp as they will head back to Manchester on Sunday.

The friendly against Birkirkara was part of a Manchester United training camp in Malta. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Marc Skinner’s side returns to the WSL’s action on January 15th when they resume their commitments with a home game against rivals Liverpool.

Manchester United made their intentions clear from the start with Alessia Russo testing Janice Xuereb from close range.

Norwegian international Vilde Boe Risa followed up with a thumping volley but could find the target as the Red Devils continue to throw pressure on Birkirkara.

After eight minutes, the English side forged ahead through Boe Risa when she capitalised from point-blank range.

United’s Grace Clinton came close to doubling the score when she sailed a close-range effort over the bar before having a curling effort inches wide from Janice Xuereb’s goal.

Spain international Lucia Garcia squandered a good opportunity for United when she fired wide from inside the penalty area.

England international Russo doubled their lead with a low drive that beat Xuereb to the first post.

Russo found United’s third when she fired into the far post from a rebound situation to hand her side a three-goal lead.

Xuereb came to the rescue on a couple of United’s occasions as the English side was closing in on a fourth while Birkirkara were struggling to come out from their low block.

Nonetheless, United still scored twice in a span of one minute through Risa who beat Xuereb from close range before Garcia fired a brilliant curling effort into the far post from outside the area.

Moments later, Birkirkara created their first opportunity on a positive transition when Sara Saliba latched onto Gabriella Zahra’s through ball but her effort went wide.

Before the break, Russo had a heading effort that struck the woodwork as the Red Devils enjoyed a six-goal lead at half-time.

After the change of ends, Manchester United were denied on more than one occasion by Birkirkara’s custodian Xuereb who was instrumental in keeping their attacks at bay.

United found their seventh through substitute Jade Moore who hit a strike from long-range that beat Xuereb.

Nikita Parris, another European winner with England, headed home United’s eighth from a corner-kick situation.

United’s ninth goal arrived from forward Martha Thomas with another close-range header before they wrapped up the win with a super strike by Moore from long range.


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