Atlético Madrid 1-1 Manchester United: Champions League Last 16, First Leg – As It Happened
David Hytner was our man in https://public.flourish.studio/visualisation/8989806/ the Metropolitano tonight. Here’s his report. Clickity click! Thanks for reading this MBM.
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Ralf Rangnick takes his turn to talk to BT. “I don’t know if I rescued it, but https://public.flourish.studio/visualisation/8989932/ after the performance in the first half, it could only get better. What we played in the first half, I still can’t believe what we did. We played without conviction, without all the necessary aggression, that’s why we really struggled. Second half we did better, and with another ten minutes, we might have even won the game. But we have to play better. I was very disappointed with our performance in the first half. We were far too apprehensive, and didn’t take any risks, without any deep runs or verticality. Anthony Elanga is playing as if his dream has come true. I wish a few other players would take him a role model, not because he’s doing everything right, but he’s enjoying himself on the pitch, and that’s what it’s all about. Football is an important ball game for the media and our supporters, but it’s still a ball game and you have to enjoy yourself on the pitch. This is what I wish us to do in the future, and when we play them again in a couple of weeks.”
United’s hero Anthony Elanga, brimming with confidence, and why not, speaks to BT. “That was my first touch as well! I’ve dreamt of moments like this, scoring in the Champions League. A big occasion like this, against a top European team like Atletico Madrid, is a dream come true. But it’s only the first half, and we’ve got to be ready for Old Trafford in a couple of weeks. I have told you how calm and cool I am. Whenever I get an opportunity I just want to repay the manager, and leave nothing in the tank. I give 150 percent every time I get on the pitch, and enjoy it. I always want to be the best player on the pitch. We didn’t play the best football, but we stepped up with the substitutions we made. Rangnick said to me, do what you always do, make the defenders scared. Hopefully the next leg will be even better.”
That wasn’t a performance that will live long in the collective United memory banks, but it was a fine result. A classic European away grift, in many ways, though of course away goals don’t count for anything extra any more. Still, United would have taken a draw at the start of the day; they’d have snatched your hand off for it after that half-time performance. But they did improve in the second half, and in Anthony Elanga they have one hell of a dancer. The second leg at Old Trafford will be played three weeks on Tuesday. Advantage United, then, just about.Anthony Elanga is congratulated by United’s interim manager Ralf Rangnick. Photograph: Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images
9.54pm GMT21:54FULL TIME: Atletico Madrid 1-1 Manchester United
Lingard aims for the bottom right from 20 yards. Oblak parries. There’s nobody chasing down the loose ball, and the keeper claims at the second attempt. And that’s that. Simeone trudges down the tunnel, while Elanga is congratulated by his mates. That pretty much tells the whole story on an evening when United were outplayed for the majority of the match, but hung on, battled hard, and snatched a fine equaliser. Lucky, according to Rio Ferdinand on BT, but hey, you make your own luck.Jesse Lingard of Manchester United shoots. Photograph: Nigel Keene/ProSports/Shutterstock
90 min +3: The ball bounces around in the Atletico box. Ronaldo and Fernandes sniff danger, but Kondogbia bustles away from danger and draws a foul.
90 min +2: Telles comes strong down the left a couple of times. A lovely dragback, then a cross that’s deflected out for a corner. If United score here, it’ll be one of the great unlikely European comebacks. Not exactly up there with 1999, but everything in context.
90 min: There will be four added minutes.
88 min: There’s a chance Griezmann might have been an inch or two offside upon taking that shot. VAR would have had to get the rulers out and squint quite a lot, mind.
87 min: The corner’s worked wide right to Griezmann, who opens his body and crashes a curler, meant for the top left, off the crossbar and away! That’s the second time the hosts have hit the woodwork tonight. This could be United’s night after all!
86 min: Lemar and Correa exchange crisp passes down the left to win a corner. Everyone into the box.
84 min: A free kick’s launched long into the United box. Gimenez heads harmlessly wide right. The United fans are going wild, having seen their team outplayed for the first 79 minutes of this game … but now look!
82 min: Sancho is replaced by Lingard, then Telles is booked for a late bundle on Llorente.
81 min: That was a lovely, collected finish by Elanga. It might not have been the crispest strike, but direction was paramount, and he threaded it across Oblak and in. It was United’s first shot on target all evening.
9.39pm GMT21:39GOAL! Atletico Madrid 1-1 Manchester United (Elanga 80)
79 min: Not this time. His curler is always flying well over the bar, and the denizens of the Metropolitano do their thing. Gimenez, incidentally, was booked for taking philosophical discussions far too far.
78 min: Correa shoulder barges Fred, just to the right of the Atletico D. It’s a cheap free kick, but United get the decision. Ronaldo’s eyes light up. He couldn’t, could he?!
77 min: … then Atletico make their first swaps, replacing the goalscorer Felix and the man who assisted him, Lodi, with Lemar and Griezmann. The latter’s arrival in particular is met with plenty of excitement. When play restarts, Llorente is booked for standing on the foot of Telles. A couple of minutes chock-a-block with admin.
76 min: Elanga comes on for Rashford …
75 min: Fred is booked for arguing the toss over the award of a corner for Atletico down the left. The ball did come off him last, though. Fred half clears the resulting set piece, the ball falling to Kondogbia, who hoicks high and wide from the edge of the box.
73 min: Fred’s cross from a deep position on the right momentarily threatens to loop into the top-left corner. Oblak, finally with an opportunity to showcase his skills, plucks from the sky with soft hands.
72 min: The corner’s headed across the front of the United box to Felix on the left. Felix has time to take the ball down but, full of confidence after his earlier goal, attempts the spectacular bicycle kick. He connects, but not with any power or direction. Goal kick.An acrobatic effort from Joao Felix of Atletico Madrid. Photograph: Quality Sport Images/Getty Images
71 min: Space for Llorente to run into down the right. He wins a corner off Telles.
69 min: On the United bench, Pogba cuts a frustrated figure, talking to himself in a very irritated fashion. On the pitch, his replacement Matic slips a cute pass down the inside-right channel to release Fernandes, who thinks he’s won a corner off Savic … but the flag goes up, correctly, for offside.
67 min: A triple change for United. Lindelof and Shaw, both on a booking, are replaced by Wan-Bissaka and Telles. Meanwhile Pogba makes way for Matic.
65 min: Llorente tries to counter up the right. Rashford isn’t having any of it, clipping his man and taking one for the team. Into the book he goes.
64 min: Pogba goes on a drive down the right and draws a foul from Reinildo. A free kick just to the right of the Atletico box. Fernandes curls in. Gimenez heads clear. Sancho tries to return it with interest but his shot is blocked bravely by Herrera.
62 min: Lodi dribbles around Lindelof on the left. He goes over easily, just outside the box, but there was contact from behind. Fortunately for United, the referee shows leniency. It would have been a very soft free kick, to be fair. It surely wouldn’t have been a second yellow.
61 min: Correa spins into the United box down the left. He wriggles and wriggles but can’t make enough space for a shot. The flag goes up eventually for offside.
60 min: United commit a few men forward, and apply a little pressure, probing hither and yon. But finally possession is lost, Felix cutely spins Lindelof, and the United defender is forced to bring him down to stop the counter, going into the book as a result.