Manchester United’s Champions League adventure came to an end at Old Trafford as Atletico Madrid snatched a 1-0 victory.
SECOND HALF – REDS UNABLE TO BREAK MADRID RESISTANCE
United almost got off to the perfect start to the second half.
Elanga, our scorer in Madrid, latched onto a clever Fernandes backheel and stormed past his marker and drove a low shot that just beat the far post. Close but not close enough to relight the Reds.
The frustration for United and let-off for the Spaniards allowed Atletico to prove they are one of the European masters of disrupting opposition tempo with keep-ball and taking their time over every set-piece.
It took the sting out of United’s hopes of an early second-half reply but a Dalot cross deep from the right was met superbly by a Jadon Sancho volley, which skimmed the bar after 59 minutes. Had it dipped enough, the goal would have been cancelled out for offside.
Nonetheless, it fuelled belief in the Old Trafford crowd. Atletico, however, came close after 63 minutes when a Gimenez header flew just over from De Paul’s corner.
With a triple substitution waiting on the sidelines, a Fernandes free-kick just missed contact by both Ronaldo and Harry Maguire.
Ralf Rangnick then made his changes with Marcus Rashford, Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba entering the action for Elanga, Scott McTominay and Fernandes.
United had to be so careful as Atletico were dangerous on the counter-attack and, soon after the switches, Joao Felix cheekily attempted to chip De Gea. Rangnick threw on all his attacking aces when Edison Cavani replaced Fred after 75 minutes but it was defender Raphael Varane who had a chance to level two minutes later when he headed an Alex Telles free-kick into the arms of keeper Oblak.
Dalot also had a go after 80 minutes when he fired off target from long range.
It was all or nothing now and Rangnick took Maguire off to send Juan Mata into the fray. As the clocked ticked down, the frustration grew both on and off the pitch with our technical director and former player Darren Fletcher being yellow carded.
Hopes of another famous late dramatic goal to take the match into extra-time failed, even though De Gea was sent up with seconds to go to attempt to cause chaos and confusion as a final corner was slung over, but straight into Oblak’s grateful clutches.
However, there was no late drama, only disappointment, and United were sadly KO’d.
This content was originally published here.