United stand tall in land of Giants

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JUAN SEBASTIAN VERON showed why Manchester United would be foolish to sell him to Chelsea with a vintage performance in a stunning 4-1 win over Juventus.

The Giants Stadium friendly, played in front of a packed house, saw United's slick passing game catch the eye with Veron the fulcrum behind their best moves.

The Argentinian's sublime assist for Ruud van Nistelrooy's customary goal was truly world class. If, as is widely predicted, Chelsea tie up a move for the ex-Lazio star, contrary to Sir Alex Ferguson's denials, then Roman Abramovich can consider it money well spent on a genuine talent.

Veron was substituted after a masterclass display, although he does tend to step up a gear against Italian opposition. Another Red Devil who usually performs well against Juve, Ryan Giggs, had opened the scoring after 24 minutes with a delightful free kick that David Beckham would have been proud of.

Paul Scholes, Roy Keane and Enzo Maresca were all booked in a feisty first half, with Marco Di Vaio close to equalising when his shot clipped the bar after good work by Edgar Davids.

Two goals inside three minutes put United firmly in the driving seat. A delightful move led to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer picking up Veron's pass and shimmying and delaying his tee-up until the time was right for Scholes to deliver a slide-rule finish.

On the hour mark, came the moment of the match as van Nistelrooy bagged a sensational goal. Veron's beautiful ball was chested down and thrashed, on the volley, into the net by the unstoppable Dutchman.

Scholes clipped a post before Juve, who had substituted eight players, pulled one back when Pavel Nedved steered a David Trezeguet lay-off beyond Tim Howard's reach.

The American debutant performed well and made impressive stops from Nedved, Trezeguet and Alessandro Del Piero.

The coup de grace was supplied by Solskjaer, with ten minutes remaining. Diego Forlan, who had just spurned a glorious opening from Keane's pass, swept a crossfield pass into the path of the Norwegian, who rapped home number four in style.

Forlan was guilty of an even more glaring miss in the dying seconds but was spared total embarrassment by the referee inexplicably awarding a free kick against the erratic Uruguayan.

Keane was a little fortunate to escape a second yellow card after Nedved made a meal of a hearty challenge from the United skipper.