Manchester United beat Atalanta in matchday three of the UEFA Champions League group stage. The win leaves The Reds top of Group F on six points. Solskjaer’s side got off to a very poor start, but there was another late twist in the tale involving Cristiano Ronaldo.
Atalanta’s bright start
Gian Piero Gasperini’s side scored two quick-fire goals inside the opening half hour. Mario Pasalic put Atalanta ahead with 15 minutes on the clock. The well-worked goal caught Manchester United cold at the back. Luke Shaw was slow to get out to Davide Zappacosta, who got the assist. With 28 minutes gone, Juventus loanee, Merih Demiral made it 2-0. United failed to create a real number of chances, although Fred and Marcus Rashford went close. The Reds were booed off at half-time by the Old Trafford crowd.
Manchester United came out looking a completely different side for the second half. Cristiano Ronaldo had his effort saved shortly after the break, with Rashford pulling a goal back in the 53rd minute. A lovely ball from Bruno Fernandes gave Rashford his 2nd goal since returning from injury at the weekend.
United peppered Juan Musso’s goal, with Scott McTominay hitting the post. On the other side, Duvan Zapata caused Victor Lindelof problems, with David de Gea called into action with a spectacular double save. Lindelof’s centre-back partner, Harry Maguire levelled up with his first Champions League goal. The goal sparked United into life, with most believing Solskjaer’s players would pull it out of the bag again. The comeback was complete in the 81st minute. Luke Shaw’s wonderful ball in was met by Ronaldo. The Portuguese international marked his 300th United game with his 137th Champions League goal.
Looking back, it was a thoroughly entertaining game for all. However, things don’t look promising for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The reality is, Manchester United shouldn’t need incredible comebacks against Villareal and Atalanta in the group stage.
United welcome in-form Liverpool to Old Trafford on Sunday. Solskjaer and his coaching staff must prepare for Jurgen Klopp’s side much better than they did for Atalanta. Bruno Fernandes is said to be a doubt, which could be a huge blow for Manchester United.