English Premiership

Berbatov shines in United win

2010-07-17 07:13
Dimitar Berbatov in pre-season action (AP)

Toronto - Dimitar Berbatov scored one goal and contributed to two more Friday as English powerhouse Manchester United launched their North American Tour with a 3-1 friendly victory over Celtic.

Substitutes Danny Welbeck and Tom Cleverley also scored for Manchester United, while Georgios Samaras converted a penalty for Scottish Premier League club Celtic.

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson fielded a strong lineup that included Berbatov, Edwin van der Sar, Paul Scholes, Darren Fletcher and Ryan Giggs - who received an especially warm welcome from Canadian fans.

The match was played at the 50,000-seat Rogers Centre, where a temporary grass pitch was installed where the Toronto Argonauts normally play their Canadian Football League gridiron games on a synthetic surface.

Berbatov opened the scoring in the 34th minute, deftly controlling a cross from Mame Biram Diouf with his right foot before using his left to bury it in the net.

Celtic equalized in the 61st after Chris Smalling, making his Manchester United debut after a transfer from Fulham in January, was penalized for pulling Joe Ledley to the ground in the area.

Samaras, who came on in the second half, converted to level the score.

United responded, and in the 79th minute Berbatov found some room on the right and crossed for Welbeck, who scored from close range.

Bulgaria's Berbatov then combined with Cleverley, whose shot in the 86th deflected off a Celtic defender to get past stranded Celtic keeper Lukasz Zaluska.

Manchester United are making their third pre-season trip to North America since Sir Alex Ferguson became manager in 1986.

World Cup players Wayne Rooney, Michael Carrick, Park Ji-sung and Nemanja Vidic were left at home to recover after playing in the World Cup.

Ferguson was also without the services of several injured players, including captain Gary Neville, Rio Ferdinand and Owen Hargreaves.

United's next stop is Philadelphia, they will take on the Philadelphia Union on Wednesday. They play the Kansas City Wizards at Arrowhead Stadium on July 25, and they face the MLS All-Stars in Houston on July 28 before travelling to Guadalajara, Mexico, to play Chivas.

Celtic, who opened their North American tour on Wednesday with a 1-0 defeat to the Philadelphia Union, play the Seattle Sounders on Saturday.

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