Football: Rooney on target as United down Barca 3-1

Barcelona's Luis Suarez (right) takes a shot past Manchester United's Daley Blind.
Barcelona's Luis Suarez (right) takes a shot past Manchester United's Daley Blind.EPA

SANTA CLARA, United States (AFP) - Wayne Rooney got on the scoresheet as Manchester United scored a morale-boosting 3-1 friendly victory over European champions Barcelona here Saturday.

Rooney, Jesse Lingard and Adnan Januzaj got United's goals to settle an entertaining game in front of 68,416 fans at the Levi's Stadium, home of the NFL's San Francisco 49ers.

Rafinha scored a late consolation for Barcelona in the 90th minute, lashing home a shot before Januzaj netted United's third just 30 seconds later.

Barcelona, missing superstars Lionel Messi and Neymar after their exertions in the Copa America, were left ruing a series of chances which hit the woodwork.

Barcelona could have been 2-0 up within the opening minutes, Luis Suarez crashing a free-kick off the post after only four minutes with United goalkeeper David De Gea beaten.

Moments later De Gea was pressed into action when Sergi Roberto burst through only to shoot directly at the United keeper with the goal at his mercy.

United made Barcelona pay for their early profligacy in the seventh minute when Rooney headed the Red Devils into the lead, punishing slack marking to power Ashley Young's corner into the net past Marc Andre Ter Stegen.

The goal boosted United and they grew in confidence, with Memphis Depay's movement and interplay again catching the eye for United.

United might have added to their lead in the 25th minute when good work by Juan Mata down the right flank saw Rooney go clear in the box, rounding Ter Stegen but just unable to cut back to United's attack.

Young, meanwhile, should have doubled United's lead in the 28th minute.

The left winger advanced purposefully into Barcelona territory and as defenders backed off was presented with a clear shot at goal.

The midfielder's shot was too close to Ter Stegen however and the Barcelona keeper was able to parry a reflex save to safety.

At the other end Barcelona continued to chase an equaliser and Suarez was left cursing the woodwork once more on 43 minutes when his shot from the edge of the area hit the opposite upright.

Barcelona were unlucky not to claim an equaliser just after the hour mark, when Suarez looked to have been fouled by Daley Blind in the penalty area.

In the same move Suarez then finished low past De Gea only to be ruled offside.

United rang the changes on 63 minutes, removing their entire starting XI as van Gaal indicated he would do before the match.

The change yielded instant results, with Tyler Blackett crossing low from the left for Lingard to tuck away the finish for 2-0.

United might even have extended their lead moments later when Januzaj latched onto a long ball and shot just wide.

Barcelona kept probing for a goal, only for the woodwork to deny them once more in the 72nd minute when Munir El Haddadi's header struck the post.