Cristiano Ronaldo scored yet another late goal as he salvaged a hard-fought point for
United against Atalanta.
With the crucial game seemingly getting away from United, after yet another disorganised
performance, Ronaldo scored a sensational volley which kept United top of Group F and
now knowing a win in Villarreal will see progression to the knockout stages.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer kept the five at the back formation which had won convincingly at
Tottenham over the weekend with the only change being Bailly for the injured Lindelof
whilst Pogba and Rashford came into the side for Fred and Cavani respectively.
Atalanta, who are accustomed to playing five at the back, where still without some of their
first team with club captain Rafael Toloi still out injured as well as key wing backs Robin
Gosens and Hans Hateboer.
United nearly took the lead early on after Scott McTominay’s deflected strike wrong footed
the goalkeeper Musso before trickling onto the post.
However, in the 12 th minute Josip Ilicic’s shot squirmed underneath David De Gea to give
Atalanta the lead. De Gea who has been in magnificent form this season and seemingly back
to his best would have been disappointed with his attempts of the save despite the slickness
on the surface of the pitch.
United struggled to break down the Atalanta defence in the first half despite an enforced
change with Varane coming off with a hamstring injury for Greenwood prompting a change
Finally, just before the half time whistle United’s creative riches clicked into gear resulting
in a slick team goal finished off by Ronaldo.
In the second half United started off the strongest showing a bit more urgency to their play
as they usually do under Solskjaer yet still not creating enough to test Musso in the Atalanta
Just over ten minutes into the second half striker Duvan Zapata, who had troubled United
throughout, latched onto a through ball and flicked the ball past De Gea despite the United
defence adamant that Zapata was offside.
After a lengthy VAR check the claims of offside where to no avail and United had to come
back from behind yet again.
As the game progressed Atalanta seemed the more likely to score again with United getting
desperate even turning to forgotten men Donny Van de Beek and Jadon Sancho to spark
anything going forward.
Yet cometh the hour cometh the man with the clock ticking over the 90-minute mark
Ronaldo does what he does best and rises to the occasion managing to perfectly execute a
volley to gift United a point.
Attentions will now turn to Saturday lunchtime where Solskjaer, who is still under pressure,
will look to extend his good record in the Manchester derby against Guardiola otherwise the
calls to sack him will increase especially as the two-week international break swiftly follows.