KUALA LUMPUR, July 21 – Michael Owen hit the target again Monday as Manchester United made it two wins out of two on their pre-season tour, beating a plucky Malaysian XI 2-0.Owen struck after 13 minutes from close range for his second goal in as many games, soon after teenage striker Federico Macheda put the team in front.
But despite countless other chances they failed to stretch their lead in the energy-sapping conditions.
On a steamy night, the teams observed a minute’s silence in memory of those who died in the Jakarta bombings last Friday.
United were due play Indonesia on Monday but cancelled the trip after the hotel they were to stay in was hit by the blasts which killed eight people and injured more than 50.
Sir Alex Ferguson rang the changes for this hastily-arranged match, the second against the hard-working Malaysians in as many days following their sluggish 3-2 win on Saturday, with Jonny Evans the only player to keep his place.
After coming off the bench to score on his debut, Owen was in the starting 11 for the first time, teaming up with Macheda up front.
Despite a blunder in their opening game of the tour Ben Foster started in goal with Gary Neville, Wes Brown, Fabio, and Evans at the back.
Ryan Giggs, Michael Carrick, Darren Fletcher and Zoran Tosic were in the middle.
Fletcher was the first to trouble the keeper with a deep cross from the right and it wasn’t much longer before United got the breakthrough with Macheda latching onto the end of a low cross in the 11th minute.
The big Italian, who became an instant hero when he scored a stunning injury time winner on his debut against Aston Villa in April, controlled the ball before slotting home with his right foot.
It was 2-0 two minutes later when Owen once again showed he has lost none of his predatory instincts, pouncing on a loose ball in the box after Tosic crossed from the left, driving it into the net from close range.
Giggs was enjoying himself running at the defence while Owen was unlucky not to get a second when his cheeky back heel hit the post.
Dimitar Berbatov replaced the former Newcastle hitman after 61 minutes, part of a quadruple substitution, with fresh legs needed.
Wayne Rooney came on soon after and missed a golden opportunity when he scuffed a left foot shot while Darron Gibson almost found the net with his first touch.
But despite pressing the goals dried up and Rooney was lucky not to be sent off for a reckless tackle near the end of the game.
They next play FC Seoul on Friday, with Park Ji-Sung, who missed the Malaysia leg, joining his teammates in the South Korean capital.