Di’Shon Bernard was the unluckiest player on the pitch last night as the young defender marked his debut with an own goal.
The 18-year-old was selected to start alongside Axel Tuanzebe at the back and was enjoying a comfortable debut until he diverted the ball into his own net.
This came amid a rare spell of pressure from Astana as they launched a second half fightback.
United had controlled the game before Tahith Chong missed an open goal and Astana went right up the end an equaliser Jesse Lingard’s first half striker.
Minutes later they attacked again and in Bernard’s efforts to clear the ball, he deflected it into his own net.
It was unfortunate, undeserved, and uncharacteristic, but it was a freak goal, rather than a piece of bad play.
He looked disappointed and Axel Tuanzebe helped pick him up off the turf as Astana celebrated.
To Bernard’s credit, he recovered well and was composed for the rest of the second half.
He made five clearances in total, more than any player on the pitch. He did this while maintaining a pass completion rate of 98 per cent.
Bernard also made two interceptions, the joint highest of any United player, and won one tackle.
United supporters were not critical of Bernard, who was making his full debut.
This was pure bad luck and Bernard could have been better helped by experienced left-back Luke Shaw who allowed Astana to attack down his side.
Support from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer voiced his support for Bernard after the game, praising his performance.
He told the club website: “[The own goal] is the only time [Bernard] put a foot wrong. He didn’t even put a foot wrong then, sometimes that [an own goal] happens in football, but I thought he was excellent.”
Speaking further to the MEN, Solskjaer added: “He was disappointed and he’ll remember that from his debut.
“But I wanted him to remember the other 92 minutes and every other touch he had.”
Bernard will hope to get another chance in the Europa League game against AZ Alkmaar at Old Trafford, although this could be impacted by Eric Bailly’s recovery from his knee injury and whether the Ivorian is ready in time.
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