Manchester United’s Champions League campaign has begun with a 2-1 defeat away at Young Boys.
Here is a look at five things we learned from the fixture…
Ronaldo is relentless
Sure, we knew this already, but it is great to see Ronaldo reinforce it. The returning forward took just 13 minutes to score his first Champions League goal in a Manchester United shirt since 2009.
This time he scored with his very first shot, to pick up where he left off at the weekend.
Seeing Ronaldo line up in a United shirt with the Champions League anthem was like a dream come true again. As he has stated, he means business now he is back, and his performances already back that up.
It was just a shame he did not get a chance to follow up his early strike, starved of service with United reduced to 10 men. He felt he should have had a penalty in the second half after he was brought down inside the box.
Bruno to Ronaldo connection
When Ronaldo signed there was a lot of lazy punditry from radio pundits suggesting Bruno Fernandes could not play with him, based off of an interpretation of one or two appearances they saw at Euro 2020 for Portugal. Or perhaps it was just designed to be controversial for the sake of it.
Either way, Fernandes has made a mockery of those suggestions so far.
Fernandes provided his first assist of the season with a cross for Ronaldo to score the opener, with an incisive cross. This is just the start and it is a sign of what is to come.
United blew it
United’s game began almost too perfectly, with Ronaldo’s strike giving the team an early lead.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka then was sent off for a bad tackle in which he went over the ball and caught his opponent, resulting in a straight red.
This 35th minute red card caused a tactical reshuffle which saw Jadon Sancho substituted off and Diogo Dalot brought on.
Reduced to 10 men, United got put under more pressure from the home side and were glad to get to the break still 1-0 up.
Young Boys’ equaliser was coming, with the Swiss side netting on 65 minutes after a one-sided start to the half.
The red card changed everything and United arguably over-compensated for it, inviting pressure onto the reinforced defence by taking off two more forward players.
This was a case of three dropped points, caused by a poor tackle, and poor tactical adjustments afterwards.
Donny’s big night ends early
In some ways Donny van de Beek was fortunate he wasn’t taken off when Sancho was, such is his bad luck. But he didn’t last much longer.
Another tactical change saw Raphael Varane replace him at half-time as United re-adjusted after the red card.
Van de Beek had been making his first start of the season, and he didn’t put a a foot wrong in the opening 45 minutes.
It was a positive that Solskjaer trusted him enough to start the game, and just a shame that it did not get to play out as planned.
Last minute nightmare
A draw might not have been a bad result in the context of the evening. A defeat was disastrous.
Jesse Lingard’s 94th minute backpass was intercepted and Young Boys scord a late winner.
It was a nightmare for United, losing 2-1, a real sickener on a night where absolutely everything went wrong.
This will be costly. Memories of Istanbul Basaksehir from last season are still painful.
There are still five games remaining, but United are not safe from a second successive group stage exit. The next five games are going to be tough and this defeat adds to the pressure and opens the group right up.
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