Manchester United needed at least one point to qualify for the Champions League knockout stages, but face a motivated RB Leipzig side in their final group stages game. They were unable to do so, falling to a 2-3 loss to get knocked out of the tournament. The Red Devils started the game in dreadful fashion, with the hosts taking an early lead in the 2nd-minute with Angelino blasting the ball into the bottom corner.
Things went from bad to worse for United as Angelino assisted Amadou Haidara to double Leipzig’s lead with another solid finish from close range in the 13th-minute. United just weren’t able to get that goal despite being present plenty of chances and Leipzig put the game to bed in the 69th-minute, making it 3-0 when more poor defending from the Red Devils allowing Justin Kluivert to score an easy tap-in from close.
United pulled one back in the 80th-minute, with Bruno Fernandes scoring a penalty they were lucky to earn. But that one quickly turned into another, when Paul Pogba outjumped everybody to score from a corner in the 83rd-minute. But United were unable to complete the comeback this time and this loss means they’re back to the UEFA Europa League after a topsy-turvy UCL group stages.
Manchester United Player Ratings
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (3.0) –
After saying in the pre-match presser that he wouldn’t go for a 0-0 draw, Ole’s system today was exactly meant to drag out a draw. Reverting to a back-three with Shaw just coming out injury didn’t feel right and blew up in his face instantly, with United getting completely dominated in the first-half. His luck also ran out as his side couldn’t complete a phenomenal comeback despite all his attempts.
Ole was just tactically outwitted by Julian Nagelsmann and got a lot of things wrong. In the end, it’s some of his poor decisions which cost United a chance to progress into the knockout rounds. His job still remains safe (for now), but one too many similar errors could land him in a lot of trouble going forward.
David de Gea (5.0) –
De Gea couldn’t really do much about either of the first two goals, which were both quality finishes. Tried to stand up to Kluivert before his strike, but couldn’t do much to stop that either. Didn’t look motivated enough to pull in a Superman-esque performance that’s expected from DDG in such a big game.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (3.5)-
Poor start from Wan-Bissaka, completely losing track of Angelino and allowing him to score easily. Too easily allowed Angelino to assist Haidara’s goal too. He lost the key duel against Angelino on his side, made too many errors and eventually cost United dearly. Again clueless going forward as well.
Victor Lindelof (5.5) –
Lindelof couldn’t cover for Wan-Bissaka as much as he normally sees and saw both goals get started through his side. He didn’t really make any grave errors in the game, but could’ve also reacted better to deny the third.
Harry Maguire (3.5) –
Maguire didn’t really act like a leader at the back for the first half-hour, being unable to set up his defence strongly and witnessing them concede two poor early goals. Booked for an ugly challenge in the 62nd. Looked completely dumbfounded and lost track of Kluivert’s presence, allowing him to score too easily. Could not lead from example and did not deserve to be captain for that dismal performance.
Luke Shaw (6.0) –
Shaw returns after a month out and plays as the left-sided centre-back in this system. Actually looked more of the stable defenders on the day, making some solid challenges to regain possession. Moved to left-back in the second half. Couldn’t do much from that role and subbed off after the hour-mark amid questions on his fitness.
Alex Telles (5.0) –
Telles’ defensive vulnerabilities on show for Leipzig’s second goal, as he couldn’t spot Haidara making the late run into the box for his strike. Some of his crosses were decent, but Telles’ defensive work had question marks around it again.
Nemanja Matic (6.5) –
Matic gets a start as United’s deepest lying midfielder, and could’ve done better to close down Sabitzer who provided the assist for the opener. Recovers from a sloppy start really well, making some terrific interceptions and holding up against Leipzig’s sparky style really well. Stopped a lot of Leipzig’s swift-breaks and kept things from falling apart multiple times. Bit unfair to be subbed off.
Scott McTominay (4.0) –
McTominay’s birthday did not start well with United’s poor first half-hour. He himself looked rattled by Lepzig’s intense style and struggled to assert his authority in the middle. He was extremely lackluster in the final third, having no influence in creating or scoring any chances. McTominay’s limitations held him back today and showcased why he still has lots to learn.
Bruno Fernandes (7.5) –
Bruno was clearly frustrated by the poor start to the game and picked up an early yellow card for dissent. Sent Greenwood through on goal with a delightful pass in the 8th. Creates another one in the 32nd by sending Rashford through into the box. Struck a stinging effort to test the goalkeeper well in the 66th. The hits the bar two minutes later with a great free-kick.
At least his persistence to get among goals was fulfilled, as he scored the penalty perfectly to pull one back. Then gets the assist for Pogba’s goal. To his credit, Bruno worked absolutely his ass out to try scrape a result after that disappointing performance and deserves to keep his head held high after that.
Mason Greenwood (5.0) –
Greenwood managed his first UCL goal against Leipzig in the reverse fixture but scuffed a glorious chance to equalize the game, hitting a weak shot from open range into the keepers hand’s in the 8th. Gets a chance to score a header in the 24th, but his attempt goes well over the post. Got an eye on goal from close range again in the 37th, but his shot is deflected wide.
Created a chance for himself in the 72nd-minute with some great trickery before taking a swipe at goal, only to see his attempt saved. At last, sees his hard work pay off by helping earn the penalty for United. But his finishing uncharacteristically lacked power and if he didn’t miss his chances, things could’ve turned out different.
Marcus Rashford (4.0) –
After his heroics coming off the bench in the reverse game, Rashford stars this one. Getting pressed with extreme intensity early on and given no space to move at all. Received a big scoring chance in the 32nd, but his hesitation in taking the shot cost him a possible goal. Sent through on goal in the 38th, but again displays poor decision-making to scuff his chance.
Managed a shot straight at the goalkeeper late on but he was poor in the second half, not being able to do anything despite getting in some good positions. His finishing was extremely poor and he couldn’t produce even half the performance as he did in the reverse fixture.
Donny van de Beek (6,0) –
Van de Beek automatically added more energy to the United side after coming on and looked well adapted to Leipzig’s style, not getting pressed that easily. His passing was crisp and disciplined, but he couldn’t really create anything definitive in a game United craved for moments of individual brilliance.
Paul Pogba (7.0) –
After comments from his agent suggesting he wants to move on from United soon, Pogba has a lot to do to win over support from the fans. He does just that by forcing in the second goal with a brilliant leap from the corner. Almost forces an own-goal in the dying moments which could’ve scraped a result for United. He might leave soon, but it seems Pogba intends to leave as a superstar.
Brandon Williams (5.5) –
Williams got a big chance to impress, but didn’t really do anything to earn more minutes in the first-team. Very predictable in the final third and unable to create anything.
Axel Tuanzebe (N/A) –
Tuanzebe was brought on late towards the game to add more freshness to United and ensured that his side didn’t at least concede more than 3.
Timothy Fosu-Mensah (N/A) –
United’s backup right-back was called upon to add some spark through the right but had little to no effect on the game whatsoever.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Bruno was United’s best player on the pitch again, but Marcel Sabitzer deserves this one for running the show and orchestrating the win for RB Leipzig.