Manchester United’s Champions League campaign got off to the worst possible start, slipping to a shock 2-1 loss to Young Boys in Switzerland.
The Red Devils ran out 4-1 winners against Newcastle at the weekend, as Cristiano Ronaldo stole the headlines with a brace on his return, and the Portuguese picked up where he left off as he opened the scoring in Bern early on.
Man United had dominated possession in the early stages, and in the 13th minute, Bruno Fernandes would receive the ball on the left, before sending in a sumptuous outside-of-the-boot cross to his international teammate. Ronaldo met the ball at the back post and poked it between the legs of despairing goalkeeper, David von Ballmoos, who despite getting a touch, was unable to prevent the spinning ball from crossing the line.
The Red Devils would, however, be reduced to 10 men 10 minutes before the interval as Aaron Wan-Bissaka was shown a straight red card. The full-back misjudged his challenge as he stretched into a tackle on midfielder Christopher Martins, going over the top of the ball and clattering into the ankle of the Luxembourg international before receiving his marching orders.
The red card would massively alter the flow of the game and the Swiss champions quickly looked to capitalise on their man advantage and went close through Christian Fassnacht who fizzed a volley narrowly wide, while they also had a number of efforts from distance.
The sending off had seen Jadon Sancho immediately removed and replaced by Diogo Dalot, before Ole Gunnar Solskjaer withdrew Donny van de Beek at half time for Raphael Varane as he changed to a back three in a bid to strengthen defensively.
Young Boys had the vast majority of the ball as the Red Devils struggled to string two passes together, though they rarely threatened the United goal, with a number of shots coming from outside the box.
However, they would finally produce a moment of quality midway through the second half as Meschak Elia got down the right and fizzed a ball into the box, Nicolas Moumi Ngamaleu getting in front of his man to stab home from close range.
Man Utd have now played 12 Champions League games under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
They have kept a clean sheet in just one. pic.twitter.com/DLfbupizbE
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) September 14, 2021
Just as it looked as though Manchester United would grind out a point, they would throw it away with virtually the last kick off the game as substitute Jesse Lingard played a slack back pass toward De Gea in the 95th minute. That pass was pounced upon by Jordan Siebatcheu who coolly slotted past the Spanish ‘keeper to send the Wankdorf stadium wild.
Speaking after the game, United skipper Harry Maguire insisted that there were no fingers of blame being pointed towards Jesse Lingard for his costly backpass.
“That’s football,” he told BT Sport. “People make mistakes – we’re not blaming Jesse. I’m sure everyone on that pitch today has made a mistake. I’m sure Jesse will pick himself up.
“It’s the first game in the group. We’ve got many games to bounce back and we must do. We’ll try and pick up three points in our next game and build momentum from there.
“We started the second half well. I think the changes helped us defend crosses a lot better. We couldn’t really control the box with a back four. They didn’t really have any major chances. It’s disappointing to take at the end.”
Next up for United is a trip to face West Ham, the London Stadium a familiar stomping ground for Lingard following his loan spell last season.
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