Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson felt South China were 'a bit unlucky', but believed his side were still the better team as the English Premier League champions edged past the Caroliners 1-0 to win the Marlboro Cup at the Hong Kong Stadium yesterday. Jordi Cruyff headed home Denis Irwin's cross for the only goal of the match in the 76th minute to continue United's Asian tour record on a winning note, following their 2-0 win over the Thai national team in Bangkok last Thursday. 'South China were a bit unlucky, they could have scored one or two goals. They worked hard. But I think in the end, we were probably the better team and deserved to win the game,' said Ferguson. 'We should have scored in the first half when we hit the post and maybe should have got two or three in the second half. We were unlucky a few times. I'm happy with the way the match went,' he added. The match itself was hardly pulsating stuff and spectators might have left the stadium feeling a little disappointed considering the immense talent on the pitch. Norwegian striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Czech midfielder Karel Poborsky and Cruyff stood out, but the visitors - who wore their all-blue away strip - still put in a lacklustre performance for fans who snapped up tickets 10 weeks before the game. If there was real excitement, it came in bursts between the 30th and 33rd minutes when there were three clear-cut chances - two for United. First, Solskjaer had his header kept out by South China 'keeper Iain Hesford, who had a fine game, after Poborsky had stripped the ball off left-back Ignijic Radislav. A minute later, Teddy Sheringham rose high to head Poborsky's right-wing cross only to see his effort hit Hesford's right-hand post before the ball was cleared. But the biggest cheer came two minutes later when South China midfielder Song Lianyong's powerful 25-metre shot was tipped over the bar by Peter Schmeichel. The introduction of Cruyff, for midfielder Paul Scholes 13 minutes after the break, added spark to the match. In the 65th minute he ran through the South China defence but was stopped in his tracks by defender Aurelio da Silva, whose reckless challenge earned the Brazilian the only yellow card of the game. Before Cruyff scored the match-winner, South China had a glorious chance to break the deadlock in the 78th minute through midfielder Leslie Santos, who celebrated his 30th birthday yesterday. The move began from the left flank by striker Au Wai-lun who squared the ball to Chan Chi-hong - playing his first competitive Hong Kong match this year after recovering from a serious knee injury. Chan exchanged passes with Santos who slipped into the box and with the goal in sight, the little midfielder knocked the ball wide of Schmeichel's left-hand post. Instead of bringing on GBP7-million signing Andy Cole or the towering central defender Gary Pallister, Ferguson opted for the inexperienced Philip Mulryne and Michael Clegg, who came in for Irwin and Sheringham late in the game, as United held on to their slender lead for victory. Ferguson was not pleased with the state of the pitch and said: 'I thought it was difficult to play through balls or long passes because of the pace. Short passes appeared to be better.' The Old Trafford boss then added: 'This is our first trip to Asia since 1989. But with our fan base growing we might be back within two or three years. 'It will be difficult next year because there is the World Cup. If our boys are playing up to July it will mean their countries are doing well and it won't be possible to travel. Our pre-season will then be domestic.' South China: 1-Iain Hesford; 14-Yau Kin-wai, 5-Aurelio da Silva, 16-Shum Kwok-pui (8-Leslie Santos 45), 21-Ignijic Radislav; 11-Lee Kin-wo (2-Poon Man-tik 78), 18-Song Lianyong, 9-Dale Tempest (13-Chai Chi-hong 61), 12-Wu Qunli; 10-Lee Bullen, 7-Au Wai-lun. Manchester United: 1-Peter Schmeichel; 3-Denis Irwin (15-Michael Clegg 78), 4-David May, 5-Ronny Johnsen, 2-Philip Neville; 8-Karel Poborsky (20-Terry Cooke 58), 11-Brian McClair, 6-Roy Keane, 7-Paul Scholes (14-Jordi Cruyff 58); 9-Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (18-Ben Thornley 58), 10-Teddy Sheringham (17-Philip Mulryne 78).