Evening all, my name is Daniel Lambert and I’ll be taking you through tonight’s clash between Villarreal vs Manchester United at the Madrigal Stadium. This is Man United’s first game with Michael Carrick in charge, following the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, so all eyes are on him.
We’re just over an hour from kick-off, so I’ll bring you the line-ups shortly.
Villarreal make five changes from their 1-1 draw with Celta Vigo, out go Alfonso Pedreza, Ruben Pena, Boulaye Dia, Vicente Iborra and Alberto Moreno. In comes Etiene Capoue, Pervis Estupinan, Arnaut Danjuma, Yeremi Pino and Moi Gomez.
Man Utd make four changes following their 4-1 defeat to Watford. In come Donny Van de Beek, Anthony Martial, Fred and Alex Telles. Out go Bruno Fernandes, Luke Shaw, Nemanja Matic and Marcus Rashford.
Kick-off is now looming and Utd will get us underway shortly. We’re waiting momentarily as there’s a few technological teething problems with his connections. The referee is getting some new batteries fitted s he’s uickly headed down the tunnel. Technological problems, ey?
1′ Utd get us underway.
3′ Pino commits a foul on Anthony Martial after some quick combination play from Ronaldo. The free-kick is whipped in by Telles and a flick-on to find Scott McTominay wo heads wide and brushes the ball against the side netting.
5′ Good save by David de Gea as Villarreal have their first chance of the game. Estupinan creates the space for Gomez making the overlapping run and Gomez decides to go for the driven shot across goal from the left hand side but De Gea palms the ball away fairly comfortably.
7′ Early signs showing United are playing a 4-4-2 out of possession. Fred shifts over as the ball-side left midfielder when the press triggers, Jadon Sancho tucks in as a right midfielder and Martial and Ronaldo act as a front two in the first block when sitting off the ball. We know both forwards faults when pressing so I expect them to be passive, especially Ronaldo who has come under scrutiny for his off the ball work of late.
10′ Pino drops the shoulder to create space to hit the ball as it sifts across his body first time. Being on the stretch, his shot ends up wide of De Gea’s left post, hitting the side netting.
15′ Both teams looking to suffocate either side with the ball, with a lack of fluidity in creating chances so far. A lot of turnovers, and a lot of the ball being played in the middle third of the pitch.
20′ Estupinan makes an overlapping run and looks to put the ball in the box but Aaron Wan-Bissaka blocks the cutback and it goes out for a corner. Nothing happens from the resulting short corner.
22′ Ronaldo feels aggrieved that he’s not given a foul for a push on the ball from Juan Foryth. Five seconds later Villarreal are gifted a ‘softer’ free-kick. Ronaldo looks furious, waving his arms in frustration.
25′ A little tactical change out of possession from Michael Carrick. Van de Beek is now part of the front two alongside Ronaldo, Fred has joined McTominay as the two central midfielders and Martial has shifted back to the wide left-hand side.
27′ Close for Villarreal! Manuel Trigueros takes a shot at goal which De Gea palms away. Lovely direct move from Villarreal, the move starting from a goal kick over the top of the Utd backline finding Pino before he laid a quick cutback for the late run of Trigueros.
29′ First real threat from Sancho tonight. He whips in an in-swinging cross to find Ronaldo in the box but a Raul Albiol header clears it away for a corner. The corner also gets cleared away but Utd capitalise on the second phase of the corner as they instantly whip another cross to find Ronaldo who heads the ball directly at Geronimo Rulli.
33′ Pino receives the first yellow card of the game for an intentional trip on Sancho just outside the Villareal penalty area. Martial cut inside and tried to thread through Sancho making an underlapping run that looked threatening before the referee blew for the free-kick.
34′ Ronaldo steps up to take the free-kick but it is hit straight at the Villarreal wall. No surprise with Ronaldo’s abysmal record with free-kick’s.
38′ Fred goes down injured, but eventually gets to his feet. Nemanja Matic is on the side-lines warming up anyway.
42′ Van de Beek gets a yellow card for a late sliding challenge on Estupinan and Villareal have a free-kick from 25 yards out. Parejo steps up to take it and it goes over the crossbar.
44′ Great skill from Gomez as he sends the incoming McTominay and takes a deflected shot that goes out for a Villarreal corner.
45′ One additional minute given by the fourth official. Wan-Bissaka tries to take on Gomez with tight footwork but gets dispossessed. Gomez plays Danjuma one v one against Victor Lindelof but his shot goes wide of the goal.
HT- Villarreal 0-0 Manchester United
I like how four time Bundesliga winner Owen Hargreaves feels the need to defend Jadon Sancho’s honour during the half time discussion. This feels like the age old dreaded Bundesliga tax conversation, that Southgate brought to the boil not long ago.
46′ The second half commences as Villarreal get us back underway.
52′ Neither side are able to string periods of possession together thus far, the game is very much end to end still.
59′ Outstanding save from De Gea!!! The ball finds kindly to Trigueros after a Gomez effort and Trigueros hits a half-volley that looks as if it’s only going in but the athleticism from De Gea to tip the ball over the bar was exceptional.
71′ After a clever one-two with Fernandes, Sancho is played through on goal but the onrushing Rulli, makes a fine block to prevent an opening for Man Utd.
78′ GOAL! Villarreal 0-1 Man Utd (Ronaldo) Who else other than Ronaldo. Great pressing from Fred high up the pitch after Rulli played a short ball out from the back. Rulli, is out of position, and Ronaldo pounces at the opportunity lobbing the ball over Rulli and into an empty net.
84′ Nearly another for Ronaldo. A similar chance to his earlier goal, as he tries another lob over Rulli but it goes wide of the far post.
90′ GOAL! Villarreal 0-2 Man Utd (Sancho) Fred wins the ball back high up again. Ronaldo plays a through ball to Marcus Rashford who cuts the ball back on the edge of the box to Fernandes. Fernandes squares the ball to Sancho who fires the ball into the roof of the net, hitting the upright of the crossbar in the process.
90′ Three additional minutes given by the fourth official.
90+1′ Substitution for Man Utd. Ronaldo comes off to a standing ovation as he is replaced by Nemanja Matic.
90+3′ Final sub for Man Utd. The goal scorer Sancho is replaced by Juan Mata.
FT- Villarreal 0-2 Man Utd
Thanks for joining my coverage of the group stage game between Villarreal and Manchester United. Utd’s win seals their qualification to the last 16 of the Champions League. For Villarreal, there’s still work to do..