Last updated : 18 July 2007 By Ed
The Grauniad

There is a danger that Sir Alex Ferguson may be over-egging the pudding at Manchester United by adding the explosive scoring talents of Carlos Tevez to the already devastating combination of Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Although only Ronaldo and Darren Fletcher scored in United's 2-2 draw against the J-League champions Urawa Red Diamonds yesterday, Rooney did everything but join the Portuguese winger in opening his account for the season as he returned from his two-month break with a performance of pace, power and determination in Saitama.

Ronaldo and Rooney are clearly gearing up for a big season at Old Trafford, so there is a distinct possibility that Tevez, having almost singlehandedly saved West Ham from relegation, could disrupt the blossoming of the Ronaldo-Rooney partnership. United's attacking prowess is unquestioned but the worry for Ferguson could ultimately stem from increasing concerns over Edwin van der Sar's ability to hold on to his place in goal.

At 36 the Dutchman is into the final year of his Old Trafford contract and he has already confessed that the new season may be his last, both for club and for country, so the former Ajax and Juventus goalkeeper will be hoping that his first-half error which gifted Hideki Uchidate the opener for Urawa is the last in a recent line of mistakes.

Uchidate appeared to pose little threat as he struck goalwards from 20 yards midway through the first half but, without the aid of a deflection, the ball went one way and Van der Sar the other as it flew into the net.

Van der Sar was at fault for goals in defeats against Roma and Portsmouth towards the end of last season and his erratic recent performances could open the door to the first team for the Polish goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak.

Fortunately for Van der Sar, Fletcher's equaliser and Ronaldo's goal following a cut inside from the left early in the second half more than cancelled out Uchidate's strike before Shinji Ono scored a late equaliser for the home team.

Having stepped off a plane from Manchester to Tokyo only 24 hours earlier, United were clearly still suffering from the effects of the flight and Ferguson admitted the outcome of the game was more than satisfactory.

The Torygraph

Sir Alex Ferguson already possesses an embarrassment of riches in the attacking department at Manchester United, but the frailties at the other end of the pitch, displayed by goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar last season, returned as Urawa Red Diamonds claimed a 2-2 draw.

Drained by the effects of an 11-hour flight to Tokyo, just 24 hours earlier, the Premiership champions were justifiably satisfied with their performance in the opening fixture of the club's four-game Far East tour.

Goals from Darren Fletcher and Cristiano Ronaldo, in between efforts from Hideki Uchidate and Shinji Ono, secured a share of the spoils against the J-League champions.

However, it was Van der Sar's unconvincing performance that allowed Uchidate to open the scoring in the 25th minute with a harmless long-range strike that surprisingly beat the bewildered goalkeeper. The goal raised more question marks over the 36-year-old, whose errors against Portsmouth and Roma last season led to potentially costly defeats in the closing stages of the campaign.

With Ben Foster sidelined until March with a cruciate knee ligament injury, Polish goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak could become a key figure for Ferguson if Van der Sar's jitters resurface early in the season.

The Holland international was spared the embarrassment of contributing to a United defeat, however, as dazzling individual performances by Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney gave Ferguson's team an element of control, until they visibly faded in the final 20 minutes.

While Ronaldo was happy to turn on the tricks for the excitable 59,000 crowd, Rooney gave evidence of his power and sheer talent with a first-half run from deep inside his own territory that would have ended in a goal, but for the efforts of goalkeeper Ryota Tsuzuki.

Young defender Jonny Evans, who spent last season on loan at Sunderland, also impressed and, Van der Sar's gaffe aside, Ferguson admitted he was content with United's opening pre-season performance.