Michael Owen
Manchester United's Michael Owen lifts the ball over Barcelona's goalkeeper Victor Valdes. REUTERS

Michael Owen scored in the 76th minute to give Manchester United a 2-1 victory over Barcelona at the FedEx Field, Washington D.C.

Just nine weeks after being systematically outplayed in the Champions League final at Wembley, United claimed victory after goals from Nani and a rejuvenated Michael Owen.

Sir Alex Ferguson retained just three members of his starting eleven from that inglorious evening in May. Striker Javier Hernandez missed out with concussion and Wayne Rooney only lasted a half as both sides relied heavily on substitutes.

The Barcelona side was more recognisable but there was no place for Lionel Messi, who was on holiday after playing for Argentina in the recent Copa America.

Spain international Xavi also did not play, with Carles Puyol, Gerard Pique and Dani Alves rested.

United started brightly, Wayne Rooney should have put the Premier league champions ahead when he met Nani's low cross but failed to trouble goalkeeper Victor Valdes.

It was Nani, omitted from the cup final starting line-up in May, who opened the scoring in the 22nd minute after a perfectly weighted through ball from Danny Welbeck. The Portugal international raced to the top of the area before he casually slid a shot under Valdes.

In the 70th minute, Barcelona drew level when Thiago let fly from 22 yards, arcing a shot into the top right corner with the outside of his right foot.

Six minutes later, Michael Owen scored the winner for United, much to the delight of the record 81,807 fans packed into the sweltering FedEx stadium.

"It's important for us to win all games - that's the expectation," manager Sir Alex Ferguson said afterwards.