LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 28: Xavi of FC Barcelona (L) is tackled by Michael Carrick of Manchester United during the UEFA Champions League final between FC Barcelona and Manchester United FC at Wembley Stadium on May 28, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Barcelona Vs. Manchester United Friendly, World Football Challenge: Red Devils Win 2-1

It may just be a preseason friendly, but any time Barcelona and Manchester United play it draws a crowd, like the 80,000+ that will be on hand to see them in the World Football Challenge

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Barcelona Vs. Manchester United Friendly, World Football Challenge: Final Score, Red Devils Win 2-1

Though it was just a friendly, Manchester United and Barcelona managed to put on a good show in their World Football Challenge match, with the Red Devils ultimately prevailing, winning by a final score of 2-1. Barcelona's rising star Thiago had an absolutely brilliant game and stole the show with his goal, but United did a better job of finishing their chances despite a lack of possession.

The first goal of the game and only goal of the first half was scored by Nani on a counter-attack. Played through by Danny Welbeck, who hit a fantastic through ball, Nani barely stayed onside before taking off towards the goal and finishing a one-on-one opportunity.

Thiago's equalizer came in the second half off of an absolutely fantastic strike. Dribbling towards goal, Thiago took a shot from 25 yards out when United's defenders failed to close him down. The ball curled towards the side netting, making for an absolutely unstoppable shot for David De Gea.

United answered quickly, though, as substitute Michael Owen scored the winner, once again giving United a goal on the counter by running onto a through ball. Owen would have another chance to score shortly afterward, but badly missed an empty net, partially thanks to a bad cross by Gabriel Obertan.

Manchester United play the Community Shield against Manchester City next week before kicking off their Premier League campaign a week later. Barcelona start their La Liga campaign on August 21.

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Barcelona Vs. Manchester United Friendly, World Football Challenge: Red Devils Lead By 1-0 Score At Halftime

Barcelona have had the much better of the possession in the first half of their World Football Challenge friendly match against Manchester United, much to the surprise of no one. However, Manchester United have had the one great moment of brilliance in the game on the counter attack, and as a result they have a 1-0 lead at halftime.

The goal was created through a combination between Danny Welbeck and Nani on the break. Dimitar Berbatov started the match on the bench and 'Chicharito' Javier Hernandez is out with a concussion, meaning the speedy Welbeck got the start. It was Nani who showed off his speed on the goal, though, as Welbeck played him in on goal with a brilliant through ball. Nani stayed onside by inches before taking off and scoring on a one-on-one opportunity, putting his team up 1-0.

Expect big changes for both teams at halftime, since both will want to get looks at as many players as possible. 

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Barcelona Vs. Manchester United Friendly, World Football Challenge: Where To Watch Live On TV And Online

Yes, it's just a friendly, but this is the sports dead zone. Admit it, you'd watch literally anything with "Barcelona vs. Manchester United" attached to it, even if it had nothing to do with footy. The two teams should be fielding strong lineups Saturday night in their World Football Challenge match, so it'll certainly be worth watching. You can catch the game basically anywhere in the English speaking world, either streaming live online or on television

Manchester United vs. Barcelona, friendly, World Football Challenge

Time: 7:00 P.M. ET, 12:00 A.M. BST

Venue: FedEx Field, Landover, Maryland, USA

Online: ESPN3.com (USA), MUTV (UK and international)

TV: ESPN2 (USA), MUTV (UK), GolTV (Canada, Spain)

For more on the game, check out SB Nation's Manchester United blog The Busby Babe and our FC Barcelona blog Barca Blaugranes. We'll have updates on the game right here in this StoryStream. Random tidbit of information you probably didn't care about: Kobe Bryant will be in attendance.

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Barcelona Vs. Manchester United Friendly, World Football Challenge: Youngsters Have A Lot To Gain - The Busby Babe

Preseason friendlies are all about getting everyone fit for the coming season, but in the case of Manchester United and many other teams, they're also about getting a look at young players who aren't in the first choice starting XI. United have bought a couple of youngsters, while a couple others have returned on loan. With such a big squad and only 25 spots available, the young talents on the Red Devils' roster are using these friendlies to fight for playing time.

So, while it will be interesting to see the two teams from the most recent Champions League final battle against each other again, Manchester United's friendly against Barcelona is much more about getting a look at their young players than it is about revenge from what happened in May. Gene from SB Nation's Manchester United blog The Busby Babe explains:

In general, it is simply fun to watch young talent and to try to project how they might help the club in the future, or even in the near-term. Players like de Gea, Rafael, Fabio, and Smalling are certainly going to be key contributors for the upcoming season but other players like Cleverley, Phil Jones, Welbeck, and Macheda are all exciting talents that are currently fighting for a prominent role at United. Most of these players will likely get a run at some point on Saturday night and it will be intriguing to observe on how they fare against a side that is likely the best in the world right now. With concerns over Fletcher's health and the lack of purchases in central midfield thus far during the current transfer window, it may be Cleverley that has the most to gain in the coming months. A solid performance versus the world's best midfield would send notice to Sir Alex and the United brass.

Tom Cleverley has had some fantastic loan spells away from United in the last couple of years and it will be interesting to see if he can clinch a first team place in the Manchester United squad this season. Him and his fellow youngsters can go a long way towards securing roster spots with a good performance on Saturday night.

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Barcelona Vs. Manchester United Friendly, World Football Challenge: Preview

Remember last year's UEFA Champions League final? It was a brilliant display by Barcelona, who took apart a Manchester United team that got outstanding performances by their top players, Nemanja Vidic Wayne Rooney, yet still couldn't hang with the La Liga champions. Well the two teams will go at it for another 90 minutes today, but instead of playing at famed Wembley Stadium in London like in May, they'll be at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland. Oh yeah, it's also just a preseason friendly instead of the biggest club match in the world.

Because it is just a friendly neither team is going to overly exert themselves. They'll be looking to get match fit and find the cohesion they exhibited in getting to last year's Champions League final so they're ready to go when the new season kicks off in just a couple weeks. The teams are also a bit short-handed, with Barcelona missing the inimitable Lionel Messi as he rests after playing for Argentina in Copa America and Manchester United playing without  the concussed Javier Hernandez.

Even with the missing players and non-existant stakes there are plenty of people looking forward to this evening's contest. Over 80,000 will be at FedEx Field for the match and many more will tune in for this World Football Challenge match. After all, it is Barcelona and Manchester United.

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