The Madrid based club, Atlético, hosted their first leg-1 fixture of the Round of 16 of UCL in their home club, Wanda Metropolitano.
The game tied 1-1 after Anthony Elanga neutralised João Félix’s first-half header, giving his team to redo the wrongs, but in Old Trafford this time.
Sketch of the Game
Atlético Madrid had a very physical game and to even cope with their rigidity, Manchester had to put in extra work, that they failed to do in the early half of this torture.
7’⚽(1-0): Atlético won a corner and took, but it was cleared from United’s penalty box. Renan Lodi picked up the ball from right-wing midfield and provide João, who made an amazing run getting past Shaw and Maguire by just circling around harry and scored a beautiful, aerial header.
Some might say it reminded them of Robin Van Persie’s header from the FIFA World Cup 2014.
The early bit of the game was dominated by Atlético and there was not much that United could do about it, United failed to make it adequately hard for the ball to be poached and was incompetent in shielding the ball before passing it to another player and scanning their vicinity before passing, to avoid losing possession. Since Spanish football comprises possession as their greatest strength and Diego Simeone knows it very well.
Ralf Rangnick surely had some backs to be straightened in the halftime. After the second half began, United came in like a wrecking ball trying to poach the Spanish side and damage the lead as soon as possible.
80′⚽(1-1): Bruno Fernandes starts dribbling from the half-line beginning the counter, whole Atlético is rushing back to the base like they usually do, Anthony Elanga runs from the right side between Reinildo and Marcos Llorente and Bruno made no mistake to push the ball precisely between the two men marking Elanga’s movements and the Anthony defeats Jan Oblak in a 1vs1 with a clinical finish, to end his team’s misery in style.
It was rather a poor judgement from Jan Oblak than United outclassing Atlético, but the precise positioning at such a crucial time is purely instinctive and players are trained for it, no doubt. All praises to Anthony Elanga to save his team a crucial loss, making the comeback easier when the Spanish side visits Old Trafford and fights to reclaim their Quarter final’s spot.
What To Expect Now?
United is very likely to face a different side of Simeone in the second leg.
To lock the seat in the quarter-finals, United needs to find a way to break Madrid’s defensive overlay. On away grounds they tend to put their classic 4-4-2 or 4-5-1, fans call it bus parking too.
Now Pogba and Sancho play very strong roles in this second leg if we were to assume they’ll play offensive football in their home ground, in either of the rival side’s formation, to get past the final line, Pogba and Sancho’s Synergy needs to be at its fullest and hope that Ronaldo comes in the clutch too this time.
If they manage to lead with one goal in the first half and Maguire’s backline shows no sign of breachings, United just might walk away with a simple 1-2 aggregate win since the away goal rule is waived. Luis Suarez is a big threat to the plan for United but he didn’t play this time, so that’s one concern, fans have been looking for an answer. this whole time.
Some Stars Who Need Recognition From Yesterday
Alex Telles, You can’t say he was the best on the field but he really replaced Luke Shaw for good. Playing a Left-Back, he went past players multiple times and put up some decent crosses where their signature poacher Cristiano Ronaldo appeared to be away from the box, trying to pick up the ball far deeper than he should, you cannot expect the luxury to be provided in the box if you’re playing with such a suffering side of Man United.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s subordinate, João Félix had a phenomenal course of 76 minutes, where he appeared to be ruling the left-wing, meanwhile consistently making the striker-type runs for headers and tap ins between the lines.
Renan Lodi, the 23 years old Brazilian left-back cum midfielder, had so much composure and impact on the ball, even while playing against the likes of Varane, Pogba and Victor Lindelof. He and João’s substitution was praised by fans applauding for their respective performances.
Anthony Elanga needed to regain his confidence after missing the decider penalty against Middlesbrough in the FA cup. The 19 years old Swedish forward scored his first UCL goal last night and there’s yet more to come, there is no doubt that he comprises an unsurmountable amount of potential and his impact is clearly visible on the field.
Ralf Rangnick needs to put some serious words in his player’s head before the next fixture’s on its way. Ronaldo, who has an amazing reputation against Atlético needs to straighten out with his teammates and put on a decent show the next time these teams meet because fans are waiting for so much more than just a win from united, they’re waiting to find a reason to rub it on rival’s faces until the end of the season.