After the delirium of the dazzling return of Cristiano Ronaldo, this brutal return to reality has come for Manchester United.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may think he now has a “special” squad, with Ronaldo, Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho on board, but they are still capable of self-inflicting damage, as this loss has proven.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka was the first villain in the play, his bad touch and reckless action to try to redeem him, leading to a direct red card in the first half which ultimately cost United the game.
Then it was the turn of substitute Jesse Lingard to play the role of the culprit, his kamikaze back pass in the 95th minute leaving Jordan Siebatcheu, who scored in front of David De Gea to secure a famous victory.
Until Wan-Bissaka’s sacking, United were in charge of their first Group F game, thanks to Ronaldo’s third goal in just his second game since his return, set up by compatriot Bruno Fernandes.
But the influx of blood at the head of Wan-Bissaka ultimately shifted the momentum in favor of the Young Boys, who equalized and then took the opportunity to claim the victory in the final minute of added time.
Full-time match stats told the story of this one-sided competition, with the spirited and bubbling Swiss champions producing 20 attempts on goal against the skinny two United.
Despite all the flair and attacking options available to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, that statistic is a dismal comeback for United, who have once again been caught out in Europe.
Solskajer claimed his players learned lessons from last season, when they failed to exit the group stage, and then suffered a shock loss on penalties to Villarreal in the Europa League final.
But United looked as naive here as they were in Europe last season, and must be wise quickly if they are to make a good impression on the Champions League campaign this season.
A group that contains Young Boys, Atalanta and Villarreal should be led easily by United, but they can’t afford many more nights like this if they are to reach the knockout stage.
As expected, Ronaldo started and led United’s attack, just as he did during his moving return to Old Trafford this weekend, when he scored twice in a 4-1 win over Newcastle.
Ronaldo’s 177th Champions League appearance equaled the record set by former Real Madrid teammate Iker Casillas, but it was not an evening to bask in such personal accolades.
The Young Boys, led by former Huddersfield boss David Wagner, had completed three qualifying rounds to reach the group stage and fully deserved their historic triumph.
They had to come from behind, Ronaldo returning the ball over the line in the 13th e minute on a scandalous pass from Bruno Fernandes, from the outside of the right foot.
But that impressive start evaporated with Wan-Bissaka’s direct red card for a studded lunge on Christopher Martins Pereira as the United defender initially missed the ball.
AFP via Getty Images)
Wan-Bissaka couldn’t complain about the decision and from that point on it was a tough battle for United, a battle they were unable to win.
The pressure from the hosts was finally revealed in the 66th minute, with Moumi Ngamaleu scoring at the near post to bring the score to 1-1.
Solskajer knocked out Ronaldo and Fernandes in a double change with 18 minutes remaining, with both players unimpressed by their early retirement.
This decision was made worse when Ronaldo’s replacement Lingard handed the winner to Young Boys at the end with his insane back pass, which was intercepted by Siebatcheu, who swept the ball into the net to send the home fans wild and United in a painful investigation.