Belfast Telegraph

Mourinho v Pep clash in doubt as torrential rain threatens Manchester United and City Bejing game

By Mark Ogden

Manchester United’s showcase friendly against Manchester City in Beijing next Monday is under threat of being cancelled due to torrential rain in the Chinese capital.

The Manchester neighbours are due to play in front of a sell-out 91,000 crowd at the Bird’s Nest Stadium – the host venue of the 2008 Olympics – as part of the two clubs’ International Champions Cup (ICC) programme this summer.

But organisers now fear that the game could fall victim to the weather due to thunderstorms and more rain forecast on Monday ahead of the 8pm local time kick-off.

"It is a concern,” said ICC spokesman Xiaozheng Ben. “The weather has been really bad.

"But we're hopeful the game will go ahead."

City faced Arsenal in the Bird’s Nest in July 2012 in front of a half-full stadium, but the prospect of a Manchester derby in Beijing has prompted tickets to be sold out for the first meeting of Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola in their new jobs as United and City managers.

There are no plans to reschedule the fixture due to City’s fixture against Borussia Dortmund in Shenzhen on July 28, but United are hopeful that the game will be played next Monday.

"We are aware of the bad weather in Beijing, but also that the organisers are working very hard on getting the game to go ahead,” said a club spokesman.

City, who are due to land in China today following Wednesday’s friendly against Bayern Munich in Germany, saw their post-season friendly against Houston Dynamo called off in May 2015 due to a flooding in the Texas city.

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