Club friendly: Manchester United 0 Barcelona 0 (0-2 on pens)
Manchester United fell to a penalty shootout loss to Barcelona in Gothenburg on Wednesday, after their pre-season friendly finished 0-0.
Both teams fielded strong line-ups in the showpiece friendly which sold out within 45 minutes of tickets going on sale, saw the ball arrive on the pitch by helicopter and featured a firework display after the final whistle.
United's side included captain Nemanja Vidic in defence, with Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck starting up front, and new boys Shinji Kagawa and Nick Powell on the bench.
Barcelona were near full strength with Carles Puyol, joining Andres Iniesta, Lionel Messi and Alexis Sanchez in the starting XI with David Villa among the substitutes.
Perhaps unsurprisingly it was the Spanish side who started strongly, characteristically dominating possession and enjoying the best chances of an entertaining first half.
Indeed it took less than a minute for Barcelona to get sight of goal, Iniesta firing goalward but his shot was easily saved by David de Gea, returning to the United team after competing for Spain at the Olympics.
Minutes later and Iniesta was at it again, dinking a delightful ball over the United defence and into the area for Messi. De Gea came flying out of his goal but could only flap at the ball, but fortunately for the Red Devils, the ball skipped out of play before Messi could tap it into the empty goal.
As the half wore on, Barcelona began to profit down the United right, with Cristian Tello exploiting Antonio Valencia at right-back and frequently finding acres of space but unable to pick out team-mates in the box.
United, meanwhile, were reduced to half chances. Indeed a Rooney header that flew wide and a low shot from Nani that flew past the post after a gorgeous cross-field pass by Scholes were all they had to show for their efforts in the first half-hour.
While it may have been a friendly, Scholes had no trouble getting his name into the book after a sliding challenge on Sergio Busquets left the Spaniard in agony.
However, with time running out it was another late challenge that almost gave United an undeserved lead. Tello upended Nani in the penalty area, leaving the referee to point to the spot with just a minute left in the opening half.
Up stepped Rooney but his poor effort was easily saved by Victor Valdes, who parried the ball straight back to the England international who put the rebound wide as the game went into half-time goalless.
The penalty miss was to be Rooney's last contribution to the game, the striker being part of a whole raft of changes at half-time as Kagawa and Michael Carrick joined the fray for United while Xavi, Pedro, Gerard Pique, Jose Manuel Pinto and Cesc Fabregas arrived for Barcelona.
Substitute Kagawa almost made an instant impact, a good lay-off from Welbeck allowing the Japan international to shoot low and force Pinto into a diving save, as he tipped his fizzing effort around the post.
Further changes followed with Dimitar Berbatov and Powell introduced by Sir Alex Ferguson who looked visibly frustrated on the touchline; irritation which only grew after Busquets pulled back Nani on a United break, only for the Portuguese international to kick out and force the referee to book both men.
Yet despite the attacking talent on view, there was to be no breakthrough, with the crowd treated to a penalty shoot-out after the 90 minutes ended goalless.
First up was Nani, but after a stuttering run up his effort rebounded off the crossbar and away to safety. Xavi then slotted home coolly for Barcelona before Ashley Young also missed for United, leaving Gerard Pique to roll home the ball for the winning goal.