So Manchester United have emerged from Belgium with a crucial away goal despite a disappointing performance in dire weather conditions in the first leg of their Europa League round of 32 tie against Belgian side Club Brugge. United’s opponents are one of the most decorated clubs in Belgian football, the club have been crowned Belgian league champions 15 times, second only to major rivals Anderlecht.
Although Club Brugge are now winless in their last 11 meetings with English sides in all competitions (D3 L8) since a 1-0 win against Chelsea in the 1994-95 Cup Winner’s Cup quarter-final, they are breezing the Belgian league, having lost just the one game in 26. Paris Saint-Germain had hit five past Club Brugge in Belgium earlier in the season, and Brugge were squeezed out into third spot in a group also including Real Madrid in the Champions League.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side were looking to translate their positive domestic form onto the European stage, but the Boss opted for squad rotation, United having to play 7 games in 21 days, and only five players kept their place in the starting line up following the 2-0 win at Chelsea last Monday.
My United Man of the Match goes to Anthony Martial. His equalizing goal came out of nothing, with Martial capitalizing on a defensive mistake, and finished brilliantly, to level the score following an excellent run. He also struck the post soon after, with former Liverpool keeper Mignolet tipping his shot on to the woodwork. In the second half Anthony opted to be unselfish and feed Mata in the box when he arguably should’ve driven a shot across goal. Surprisingly he was substituted off for Ighalo with over 20 minutes remaining, perhaps with United’s upcoming fixture schedule in mind.
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