Manchester United’s defensive issues cropped up on an important European night as RB Leipzig knocked out the Red Devils from Champions League. Needing just a draw to progress to the knockout stages, Manchester United conceded twice in the first 15 minutes to pile up the regret of losing to Istanbul Basaksehir on Matchday 3. A late comeback due to some fortunate refereeing decisions didn’t help United as they fell short to drop into Europa League.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s plan to play both his left-backs to counter Leipzig’s lightning pace and counter attacks was thrown out of window as early in the 2nd minute after Angelino drilled home the first goal from Sabitzer’s cross. Leipzig quickly doubled their lead after United’s defence was caught napping to allow an unmarked Haidara at the back post to slot home from Angelino’s cross. United were lucky not to concede a third after Forsberg’s effort from close range went inches wide of the post. Solskjaer’s men couldn’t assert any control on the game as Leipzig looked threatening with their every attack.
Donny van de Beek replaced Telles at half time as Solskjaer changed to a back four in search of a midfield control. United upped the intensity in the opening 20 minutes forcing Leipzig defenders to foul, but the set-pieces lacked any danger to threaten the defence. Bruno came close to scoring United’s opening goal, only to see his effort rebound off the bar from a free kick. Things went from bad to worse for United as Justin Kluivert scored Leipzig’s third from a cute chip after Maguire and De Gea hesitated to come for a deflected ball in the box.
Things looked done and dusted for Leipzig until Manchester United scored two goals in two minutes to come right back into the game. First, United were given a soft penalty after Greenwood went down in the box and Bruno stepped up to score in the 80th minute. Paul Pogba, whose agent claimed the midfielder’s Manchester United is over, scored United’s second from a corner, although replays suggested the ball flicked off Maguire’s hand. Manchester United’s customary second half comeback was almost complete in the last minute of stoppage time as Pogba’s low cross was diverted towards his own goal by Mukiele, only to be saved by Gulacsi who knew nothing about it. Leipzig held on to deservedly win the game and dump Manchester United out of the competition.
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