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LANDOVER, Maryland — Neymar Jr’s 31st minute goal was all FC Barcelona needed on Wednesday night to secure a 1–0 victory over Manchester United at FedExField. The goal was Neymar’s—and Barça’s—third goal of the preseason, coming on the heels of his two-goal performance on Saturday night in North Jersey.
Barça goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen, who made several marvelous saves en route to his first clean sheet, was named the Man of the Match.
Neymar was accompanied by his much-feared MSN linemates Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez in the starting XI, marking the first time this season the prodigious trio shared the field at the same time.
The victory also gave new manager Ernesto Valverde his second win in as many tries.
The MSN, aka the Trident, looked sharp throughout the first half, even as Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea did a fine job keeping the Catalans off the scoreboard for the first half hour.
Barça’s first chance came in the seventh minute, when the three combined nicely only to see Suárez's shot batted away by De Gea. The MSN were at it again in the 27th, with another Suárez shot going low and straight at De Gea. A minute later, Suárez fed Neymar deep but the Brazilian’s near-side shot from a tight angle was saved.
But Barça finally broke through in the 31st, when Messi’s pass to Neymar was cut off by Antonio Valencia inside the area. The Brazilian, however, stepped in to strip the Manchester Unittd defender, took possession, and turned around to fire a low shot to the left of De Gea and into the back of the net.
After two games, Neymar is the team’s only goal scorer so far this season. He scored both of Barça’s goals last Saturday night in a 2–1 win over Juventus at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
After the break, in the 66th, Paco Alcácer had Barça’s second goal practically gift-wrapped for him at the doorstep, but Manchester United’s goalkeeper Sergio Romero made a stellar save to deny the what would have been the season’s first goal by a player not named Neymar.
Barça’s third and final game of the 2017 summer tour comes this Saturday when they face Real Madrid at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. Kickoff is at 7.30pm ET.
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