Hello, I am Alex Gendler Smith and tonight I’ll be taking you through the UEFA Champions League match day five fixture between Villarreal and Manchester United, who sit first and second in the group, both on seven points.
A New Beginning?
After the embarrassing 4-1 loss to Watford at Vicarage Road on Saturday, Ole Gunnar Solskjær was relieved of his duties. Many Manchester United fans were happy with the sacking and have been calling for this for some time. Solskjær’s former assistant, Michael Carrick, is in temporary charge whilst the club search for a new manager.
Michael Carrick’s first game in temporary charge sees some big changes in the lineup. Bruno Fernandes is on the bench and Donny Van De Beek gets a rare start, along with a rare start for Anthony Martial. Fred and Scott Mctominay keep their places and Jadon Sancho joins Cristiano Ronaldo in attack.
Villarreal’s main man Gerard Moreno misses out through injury. A couple of familiar faces for the English fans watching are former Premier League players Juan Foyth and Ètienne Capoue. Capoue, Yéremi Pino and Arnaut Danjuma are all fit to start after missing the weekends fixture.
Not exactly kick off yet, referee Felix Brych’s communication systems seem to not be working.
1′ after the delay, we are underway here at the Estadio de la Cerámica.
2′ early signs are that Cristiano Ronaldo is playing off the left, with Anthony Martial through the middle.
3′ Scott Mctominay has a header hit the side netting after a good ball in from an Alex Telles free kick.Embed from Getty Images
5′ Moi Gòmez hits a shot from range which David De Gea has to dive to his left to push wide. A good save from De Gea but one he would be expected to make.
10′ Arnaut Danjuma has a shot from the left deflected out to Yéremi Pino whose control takes him past Telles but his shot crashes into the side netting.
11′ Villarreal players all appeal for a penalty after Danjuma’s cross hits Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s arm. VAR checks and doesn’t give the penalty.Embed from Getty Images
12′ Pervis Estupiñán with a beautiful touch to get past Fred and whips in a good cross, only for United summer target Pau Torres to head over.
22′ Juan Foyth takes Ronaldo down, but no foul is given, then Villarreal win a cheap free kick. Ronaldo reacts to this and shouts at the referee but escapes a card.
26′ Manchester United with only one shot and 36% possession so far…
27′ Manu Trigueros blasts a shot first time across goal and De Gea does well to push away and not into the path of Danjuma.
30′ Telles whips in a delightful cross and Ronaldo leaps highest but his header is straight into the hands of Gerónimo Rulli.Embed from Getty Images
33′ Telles is taken down by Pino who is booked for the challenge, he pulled his left arm out to stop Telles getting onto the through ball. Pino now suspended for Villarreal’s final group game against Atalanta. Now Ronaldo to step up for the free kick…
34′ …into the wall.
36′ Fred is sent the wrong way by Dani Parejo and his foot gets caught in the ground, his ankle didn’t look great in the motion, but after some treatment he’s up and ready to come back on.Embed from Getty Images
41′ Donny Van De Beek mistimes a 50/50 and gets a yellow card for the challenge just outside his own box.
44′ fantastic footwork from Gómez on the edge of the United area leads to a shot, but it’s deflected wide for a corner to Villarreal.
Half Time: Villarreal 0-0 Manchester United
So far no bounce-back from the weekend for United who look poor, their best chance coming from a Ronaldo header which was straight at the goalkeeper. Villarreal have dominated proceedings so far, hitting the side netting and having a penalty shout which would be denied by VAR. Manchester United have struggled to keep possession, especially in the first 25 minutes. Their fans will not be happy with the performance so far and will be hoping of a completely different second half. Maybe United should be looking to bring on the likes of Marcus Rashford or Bruno Fernandes?
Half Time Stats:
FOUR – Cristiano Ronaldo has completed four dribbles in the first half.
SEVEN – Villarreal have drawn seven of their 13 LaLiga games this season, and one of their four Champions League games before tonight.
DUELS – Juan Foyth has won the most duels.Embed from Getty Images
46′ we’re back underway here, both sides making no changes at the break.
52′ United haven’t changed since the first half, they’re still losing possession cheaply and Villarreal looking the more dangerous side. Surely they have to make a change soon as Fernandes is warming up?
54′ Fred fires a shot but Gerónimo Rulli palms the ball down and holds onto it, first time Rulli has been tested in the game.
59′ the ball falls to Trigueros inside the box and he hits it on the half volley into the ground and forces De Gea into a top class save. Villarreal corner.
63′ after some nice play from Villarreal down the right hand side, the ball comes across to Danjuma coming in from the left, who’s curling shot fires well over the bar.
64′ Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford are ready to come on.
66′ Van De Beek and Martial, two players with rare starts, make way for Fernandes and Rashford.
71′ Sancho and Fernandes play a one two on the edge of the box, a great first touch from Sancho gets him past his man, but the left footed effort is saved well by Rulli. That would’ve been his first goal for the club.
73′ Pino makes way for Samuel Chukwueze and Trigueros for Liverpool ‘legend’ Alberto Moreno.
GOAL! Villarreal 0-1 MANCHESTER UNITED
78′ RONALDOOOOOO! Who else? Fred does well to press a short pass from Rulli and the ball falls to Ronaldo who chips the goalkeeper. Viva Ronaldo being sung from the United fans up in the Gods.Embed from Getty Images
79′ Villarreal make their third change of the night, Estupiñán makes way for Dani Raba.
82′ Capoue with an absolute bullet header, just a shame it was about two goals too high.
84′ Gómez is off for Boulaye Dia.
86′ Fernandes with a half volley from the edge of the box looked goal bound until its deflected wide by Torres. United with another corner.
GOAL! Villarreal 0-2 MANCHESTER UNITED
90′ Jadon Sancho has got his goal! Ronaldo starts the move with a nice flick and the ball ends up with Rashford on the break who slides it across to Fernandes. Then he slides it one more over to Sancho who smashes it onto the underside of the crossbar and in the back of the net. United are qualified with a game to spare.Embed from Getty Images
90′ Nemanja Matić and Juan Mata come on for Ronaldo and Sancho.
Full Time: Villarreal 0-2 Manchester United
Manchester United have qualified for the round of 16 in the Champions League. After a poor first 60 minutes, Carrick subbed on Fernandes and Rashford who gave United that attacking edge. A rare clean sheet for United but they will be hoping to see a lot more of them in the coming weeks. Ronaldo scores again, Sancho finally scores, United are back? Viva Ronaldo!Embed from Getty Images