So United have conceded the first goals in the competition, and thus suffered their first defeat. This result ended a run of 15 Europa League games without defeat for Manchester United. This, in spite of United having had superior possession, had more shots on goal, more corners, and played almost double the number of effective passes than their opponents.
I however agree with the Manager’s decision to give seven players – of which six where teenagers – their full club debuts. We will surely reap the benefits in the future. United also played their third choice keeper, aged 36 years and 305 days old. Lee Grant is now the oldest ever player to make his debut in major European competition for United.
The result could of course have been different. But after Tahith Chong spurned a glorious chance to double the visitors’ lead – which would have put United in a comfortable position – Dmitry Shomko hauled Astana level just 38 seconds later. The game then turned on its head from an unfortunate own goal by debutant Di’Shon Bernard who directed a cross into his own net at the near post seven minutes later.
United had opportunities to equalize; however the Astana keeper pulled off some acrobatic saves, thus allowing Astana to end a run of six consecutive defeats in the Europa League, scoring more goals tonight (two) than they did in each of those six previous matches in the competition combined (one).
My United Man of the Match would be Jesse Lingard. Apart from a mature performance as captain of the team, he has finally claimed his second goal of 2019 with a smartly taken finish. Here’s hoping this will a turning point in his season.
Article contributed by Contributor Kenneth. Comments are appreciated on our Facebook page.