EPL 2012-13 Special
The opening periods of the half witnessed United pushed backwards as Barca continued their dominance. The Red Devils were outplayed similar to the two Champions League finals.
It took only five minutes for Barca star Lionel Messi to come close to scoring. Andres Iniesta's clever chip to Messi, who was unable to control the ball to find the net and was slightly offside when United stopper David de Gea blocked a close-range shot.
A few minutes later, Cristian Tello found Messi's through ball, but the 20-year-old forward hit the side netting while Andres Iniesta's shot slammed into Rio Ferdinand.
Despite all the possession from Barca, United were gifted a penalty just before the first half. Tello brought Nani down with a needless sliding tackle. Striker Wayne Rooney stepped up to give United a lead but Barca stopper Victor Valdes parried the shot away, the rebound fell to Rooney but the striker miscued his left-footed short well wide.
Rooney had missed five penalties in 12 months, criticised for his poor performance at Euro 2012 and was hauled off by Sir Alex Ferguson during the break despite not reaching full fitness.
New signing Shinji Kagawa made an immediate impact forcing Barca substitute goalkeeper Jose Manuel Pinto low down to the right to stop the Japanese midfielders shot. De Gea continued to make numerous saves on the other end from Pedro and Alexis Sanchez.
Barca coach Tito Vilanova changed all 11 players by 76th minute. United had more of the ball after the game stretched during the closing minutes. Despite the number of chances, Rooney's penalty miss, the Spanish giants were completely on top of their English rivals.
An epic clash, although a friendly, ended without any side scoring and had to be decided with three penalty shots. However, only two were needed to decide the winner.
Manchester United (4-4-2): De Gea-Valencia, Vidic (Carrick 46), Ferdinand (Wooton 83), Evra-Nani, Anderson (Powell 78), Scholes, Young-Rooney (Kagawa 46), Welbeck (Berbatov 67).
Barcelona (4-3-3): Valdes (Pinto 46); Alves (Montoya 67), Puyol (Pique 46), Mascherano (Barta 67), Adriano (Jordi Alba 67); Roberto (Xavi 46), Busquets (IIie Sanchez 76), Iniesta (Fabregas 46)-Sanchez (Rafinha 67), Messi (Afellay 46), Tello (Pedro 46).