Manchester United drew 1-1 with Young Boys in the UEFA Champions League at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening. Mason Greenwood, assisted by Luke Shaw opened the scoring in the ninth minute with Jesse Lingard messing up to stop United from scoring a second. In the 42nd minute of the match, Fabian Rieder equalised for Young Boys in their bid to continue in European competition this season. Rangnick used all five substitutes, giving Tom Heaton, Teden Mengi, Shola Shoretire, Zidane Iqbal and Charlie Savage their debuts in the competition. It was good to see the youth trusted again.
This United side started the match in fine fettle, seeking to get the better of their Swiss opposition from the very start of the match. Rangnick made 11 changes for this match, choosing to rest the majority of his first team ahead of Saturday’s trip to Norwich City. United eventually took the lead in the ninth minute with Mason Greenwood finding the back of the net with Luke Shaw playing the assist to the forward. It was a great finish for the 20-year-old who had scored his fifth goal of the season with Shaw getting his third assist. United looked up for the challenge despite the number of players rested for this match.
United should have made it 2-0 in the first half but Jesse Lingard did not pay attention to the passing in the box, missing a chance to score for United and put them ahead comfortably. But many will say that Lingard is still a talent and will develop into a first team player at some point. The lad can’t seem to concentrate on the basics of football and when the pressure is on, he will chase nothing but shadows. He has proved that in this match. Still, he should be able to get back into the swing of things after playing in this match as he can do much better than this. United could regret not taking that chance.
In the 42nd minute of the match Young Boys equalised with a superb finish with Fabian Rieder beating Dean Henderson, which was a shame for United. It would give the Swiss side a chance to remain in European competition, provided they can win this match and the postponed match between Atalanta and Villarreal goes ahead with a favourable result for the Swiss side, or they will have played their last match in European competition this season. United seemed to respond well to conceding the goal but the first half ended with the two sides level and all still to play for, although it did not matter for United as they were already through.
There were no changes for either side at the start of the second half. United played some good football as they tried to get back into the lead again but the Swiss side did what they needed to stop any further goals being conceded. In the 61st minute of the match, Rangnick made his first substitution with Teden Mengi replacing Shaw, who was only going to be playing an hour this evening after his return from a head injury. United, despite being relatively inexperienced at this level, were still playing a good game and the Young Boys should really have capitalised, so perhaps it shows the level of the club and the players?
In the 68th minute of the match, Rangnick made a double substitution with Tom Heaton making his United and Champions League debut with Henderson coming off and Shola Shoretire, becoming the youngest United player to feature in a European competition, replacing Amad Diallo. There was a youthly look to this United side, with more youth players on the bench and two more substitutions remaining. United still held their own against their Swiss opposition with the crown in find fettle singing about the club to spur them on in their pursuit to win the match. Shoretire became the first player to be booked, picking up a yellow card in the 80th minute.
United kicked on and seemed happy with the draw, not that it matters as United had already won the group before this match. In the 89th minute, Rangnick made his final two substitutions with Zidane Iqbal replacing Lingard and Charlie Savage replacing Juan Mata. What a proud moment for all the players making their debuts in this match, even 35 year-old Heaton will be proud. United fought on into the five minutes of added time, even though that was in effect spoiled by three pitch invaders. The players on the pitch should be congratulated for their participation in this match, which allowed Rangnick to evaluate his players.
United will now await Monday’s round of 16 draw for the Champions League, which will see how they fair in the next stage of the competition. At least the club will not be participating in the UEFA Europa League next season, as that really would make the remainder of the season a little bit tougher. United will face Norwich City at Carrow Road in the Premier League on Saturday evening, after three home matches in a row. United will be seeking another three points in the league against the team at the bottom of the table. Following that match, United travel to Brentford on Tuesday 14 December with fixtures hotting up through the Festive period.
Goals: Mason Greenwood 9′; Fabian Rieder 42′
Assists: Luke Shaw 9′
Manchester United: Henderson (Heaton 68′); Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Matic, Shaw (Mengi 61′); Lingard (Iqbal 89′), Van de Beek; Amad (Shoretire 68′), Mata (Savage 89′), Elanga; Greenwood
Substitutes Not Used: Kovar; Hardley
Bookings: Shola Shoretire 79′
Written by John Walker