Manchester United finished the Champions League group with a 1-1 draw at home against Young Boys as new interim boss Ralf Rangnick continued to put his stamp on the squad.
With United already assured of top spot in the group and therefore a seeded place in the last 16, Rangnick was true to his word about rotating and giving players a chance to impress – that included starts for exciting youngsters Anthony Elanga and Amad Diallo.
Even veteran third choice goalkeeper Tom Heaton got an opportunity off the bench, while there were also senior debuts for home-grown youngsters Zidane Iqbal and Charlie Savage.
The personnel were different but the continuation of what Rangnick’s United started against Crystal Palace was there to see – the intelligent pressing was such an effective tool.
Mason Greenwood’s opening goal was a moment of magic that once more reiterated his credentials as a superstar of the near future, improvising brilliantly to volley home a cross from Luke Shaw that had been played slightly behind him.
Amad was impressive but occasionally lacked composure at critical moments, notably seeing one very good chance on the counter go begging when he lost the window to shoot and mis-placed his final pass. Greenwood, meanwhile, showed coolness beyond his 20 years and a driving run later resulted in Juan Mata having a close-range effort excellently saved by Guillaume Faivre.
The equaliser came against the run of play in the final moments of the first half. Donny van de Beek had been very good for United but sloppily gave the ball away when attempting a cute pass and was immediately punished when Fabian Rieder bent a stunning effort into the top corner.
Elanga should have restored the lead with a big chance just before the hour mark after a swift breakaway, only to see his effort saved. Quentin Maceiras then should soon have put Young Boys ahead but couldn’t find the target from right in front of the goal.
The final quarter of the game was rather scrappy. Both sides had the ball in promising positions and it was end to end in many ways, but clear chances didn’t materialise.
Dean Henderson (GK) – 6/10 – Sharp when it came to playing the kind of ‘sweeper keeper’ role that Manuel Neuer is known for. Withdrawn to give Tom Heaton a chance to play in the final 25 minutes.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (RB) – 4/10 – Strode forward with purpose but wasn’t great in possession. On his heels when Young Boys equalised and may have been injured seriously in stoppage time after colliding with the advertising hoardings.
Eric Bailly (CB) – 8/10 – Made several key blocks, tackles and interceptions.
Nemanja Matic (CB) – 4/10 – Didn’t always look particularly comfortable in the back four and was bailed out by his partner more than once.
Luke Shaw (LB) – 7/10 – Marked his return to the side with an assist. Got an hour under his belt before being withdrawn.
Donny van de Beek (CM) – 6/10 – Seemed to be everywhere in an impressive first half performance. Let down by a sloppy touch that directly led to Young Boys’ equaliser and had a quieter second half.
Juan Mata (CM) – 6/10 – Has always been at his best playing centrally and it hasn’t happened enough throughout his eight years at Old Trafford.
Jesse Lingard (AM) – 7/10 – Pressed and countered well. Potentially a very good fit for Rangnick’s system moving forward.
Amad Diallo (AM) – 7/10 – First senior appearance of the season. Looked sharp and a threat, if lacking a little composure when it mattered most.
Mason Greenwood (ST) – 8/10 – Started the game in style with an excellent improvised volley to break the deadlock. Was a constant threat.
Anthony Elanga (ST) – 6/10 – Involved in the build up to the opening goal. Faded a little after that but made a bright start to the second half, although he missed a golden opportunity to restore United’s lead.
Teden Mengi (LB) – 6/10 – First senior outing since August 2020. Made a goal-saving block to make up for his own unfortunate slip.
Tom Heaton (GK) – 6/10 – Finally made his United debut 19 long years after he first joined the United academy at the age of 16. Not very busy.
Shola Shoretire (LF) – 6/10 – Involved quite a bit after coming on.
Zidane Iqbal (CM) – N/A
Charlie Savage (CM) – N/A
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