Manchester United were beaten 2-1 by Young Boys in the opening UEFA Champions League group stage match of the season. Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring, assisted by Bruno Fernandes in the 13th minute of the match. Aaron Wan-Bissaka was sent off for a bad foul in the 35th minute of the match, leaving United with ten men. Nicolas Moumi Ngamalo found the equaliser in the 66th minute of the match with United doing so well at that stage. United tried to hold out but Jordan Siebatcheu found the winner in the fifth minute of add time with the Swiss side getting all three points from the match.
The Young Boys started the match well, capitalising on a mistake by Jadon Sancho and pushing forwards to scored, but did not get that far. It was an early shock for United, who now knew that the Swiss side were not going to sit down and let United take the victory easy. United then started to find their feet in the match, playing on a synthetic surface. In the 13th minute of the match, Bruno Fernandes played the ball through to Cristiano Ronaldo, who fired at goal with the goalkeeper trying to make the save and the ball rolling across the line. It was Ronaldo’s 121st goal for United, 4,515 days since his last Champions League goal for United.
It all seemed to be going well for United, scoring an early goal once again and getting their Champions League campaign up and running but the Young Boys were causing a few problems for the Premier League side. In the 35th minute of the match, Aaron Wan-Bissaka fouled Christopher Martins Pereira, stepping on his foot with the player seemingly writhing in agony and the referee showed the United right-back a straight red card. It was unfortunate for United that they were now down to ten men. Solskjaer had to made his fist substitution in the match, bringing Diogo Dalot on for Jadon Sancho in the 37th minute.
United now needed to see the game out with the men on the pitch but they have the insurance policy of the early goal, needing another to secure the three points as the Young Boys will be throwing all they can at them in the second half, so defensively, United will need to be astute. Solskjaer does have up to five substitutions to use, and there is plenty of ability on the bench with Raphael Varane, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood, not to mention Anthony Elanga, who also made the match day squad. Solskjaer made his second substitution during the break with Raphael Varane replacing Donny van de Beek.
It looked like Solskjaer was advocating for the back three in the defence in the second half with Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire and Varane in the centre of the defence and both Dalot and Luke Shaw playing in the wing-back roles for United. A second goal would start to kill off the game for United, which is what they need to be striving to get from this half, or just maintain their 1-0 lead, which is shaky territory for United. Ronaldo was through on goal within ten minutes of the second half starting, seemingly fouled in the box with him going down, but nothing was given. The Young Boys were throwing all they had to get an equaliser.
In the 66th minute, Nicolas Moumi Ngamalo found the equaliser which made the home supporters erupt. He was assisted by Silvan Hefti. United will have to settle for a draw or go for the win, which did not seem to be coming. Solskjaer made a double substitution in the 72nd minute with Jesse Lingard replacing Ronaldo and Nemanja Matic replacing Fernandes. United were trying to carve out some chances, but being down to ten men was the major problem with the Young Boys attacking with all they had in a bid to get the three points in this group stage match in the competition. 1-1 all and lots to play for from both teams.
With ten minutes left to play, Lindelof suffered a head injury, trying to beat Meschak Elia but both players trying to head the ball, colliding heads instead of winning the ball. After a few minutes, Lindelof was back on his feet and able to play on with the home side making a few substitutions to throw all they had at United to try and carve out a win. United had one substitute left for this match. It was expected that this was going to be an easier match for United, which started out that way – after an initial scare but the sending off turned it into a chaotic encounter with United being pushed for all they had. It happens in football though.
United were tested again in the last few minutes of the match which saw David De Gea to stretch to make a save to deny the home side from taking the lead for the first time in the match. It could have been so much different for United. It just depends on how much added time will be played at the end of this match. Anthony Martial replaced Fred in the last minute of the match – to keep United attacking. The Young Boys got the winner though with United having their backs to the wall. Jordan Siebatcheu got the winner to give all three points to the Swiss side after the opening match in the group.
1 David De Gea
Top performance from the Spanish international in his first Champions League outing of the season. Unfortunate to conceded in the 66th minute of the match but made a great save in the last two minutes to deny the home side. The winner came in added time though, which was a shame.
29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka
Started the match well with United getting an early goal, through none other than Ronaldo. Sent off for a bad foul in the 35th minute of the match.
2 Victor Lindelof
Seemed to play better with both Varane and Maguire playing with him in a back three. So food for thought there moving forward. Needs to improve defensively though, Did well at the end of the match, getting a head injury trying to win the ball.
5 Harry Maguire
Dominant display at times but was dragged towards the ball, which resulted in the equaliser. He will not be happy with that at all. United will bounce back from their first defeat of the season.
23 Luke Shaw
Gave United some much-needed width in attack in the first half but after the sending off, if became a defensive display from Shaw for the remainder of the match.
Needed lots of energy in this match but still seemed like the weak link in the midfield, playing on his own in the area before Matic came on. Did well, considering. Better opposition would have capitalised against this team down to ten men though. Replaced by Martial in the 90th minute of the match.
34 Donny van de Beek
Did well in the first half, with United down to ten men for ten minutes at the end of the half. It was good to see him start but his match fitness will need improvement, which will happen when he played more minutes. Replaced by Varane during the break as Solskjaer changed the formation.
25 Jadon Sancho
Did not start the match all that well as he lost the ball with Young Boys on the attack. Seemed to improve but after Wan-Bissaka was sent off in the 35th minute, he was replaced by Dalot two minutes later.
18 Bruno Fernandes
Got his first assist of the season with Ronaldo opening the scoring in the 14th minute of the match. After Wan-Bissaka was sent off, United had little attacking presence. He was replaced by Matic in the 72nd minute.
6 Paul Pogba
Had some impact in the match, but not much. Started on the left in the attacking positions behind the forward. Seemed to get more of a grasp to the match in midfield.
7 Cristiano Ronaldo
Scored his first Champions League goal for United in 4,515 days, scoring a brace against Arsenal on the 5 May 2009, putting United ahead against the Young Boys in the 14th minute. Could have had a second but seemed to be fouled in the box, which was not given. Replaced by Lingard in the 72nd minute.
20 Diogo Dalot
Replaced Sancho 37′. Did well despite United being down to ten men. Tried to create something going forward, playing in a wing-back role. Good to see him get some game time – should have perhaps started.
19 Raphael Varane
Replaced Van de Beek 46′. Should have started as he did more defensively than most players in about ten minutes in the second half. United conceded twice though, losing the match with Varane involved in the equaliser.
14 Jesse Lingard
Replaced Ronaldo 72′. Came on to create something late in the game but was a marked man. Made a big mistake late on which cost United their draw, turning it into a defeat.
31 Nemanja Matic
Replaced Fernandes 72′. Helped the midfield tick and did the defensive work. This is why United need another defensive-minded midfielder. Can’t wait until McTominay is back. Should have come on at the break maybe?
9 Anthony Martial
Replaced Fred 89′. It was a cameo which gave nothing but he was on the pitch for a minute plus added time. Not the best impact, but it was never going to be magical.
Goals: Nicolas Moumi Ngamalo 66′, Jordan Siebatcheu 90+5′; Cristiano Ronaldo 13′
Assists: Silvan Hefti 66′; Bruno Fernandes 13′
Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Fred (Martial 89′), Van de Beek (Varane 46′); Sancho (Dalot 37′), Fernandes (Matic 72′), Pogba; Ronaldo (Lingard 72′)
Substitutes Not Used: Heaton, Kovar; Bailly; Mata; Greenwood, Elanga
Bookings: Christian Fassnacht 45+1′, Christopher Martins Pereira50′; Aaron Wan-Bissaka 35′ s/o, Raphael Varane 65′
Written by John Walker