Young Boys vs Manchester United result: Champions League score, goals and report
Posted On September 14, 2021
It’s a fact that red cards change games, but should any side up to 10 men allow a game to change that much? The expulsion of Aaron Wan-Bissaka in Bern was the main reason why a comfortable start to the Champions League campaign this season turned into a damaging defeat for Manchester United – but it shouldn’t be. used as an excuse. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s handling of play in Europe will again come under close scrutiny, as his response from the sideline only encouraged Young Boys to achieve a historic victory.
It had all started so well. Cristiano Ronaldo scored his record 177th appearance in this competition with one goal – scoring the third goal in his homecoming after his third shot on target – but it would be the highlight of the night from United’s perspective. Wan-Bissaka’s sacking for a nasty challenge on Christopher Martins changed everything. United lost control and never regained it.
Jordan Siebatcheu’s late winner in the last minute of stoppage time was no less than the Swiss champions deserved. David Wagner’s side maximized their male advantage, equalizing first through Moumi Ngamaleu, and capitalized on Solskjaer’s questionable decision making on the sideline which saw Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes among the substitutes. A stray backpass from Ronaldo’s replacement Jesse Lingard played Siebatcheu for the winner.
The hope is that it won’t prove to be as damaging as the away game against the group’s weakest seeds last season – the 2-1 loss to Istanbul Basaksehir, which Solskjaer recently described as his lowest point in the work. Villarreal, winner of United in last season’s Europa League final, are next, while Atalanta have established themselves as a talented and competent team at this level in recent years. The two will travel to Bern hoping to take three points United were unable to.
Solskjaer made three changes from the weekend and surprisingly called on Donny van de Beek for only the 16th start of his United career, and only the eighth in the Premier League or Champions League. Van de Beek took on one of two deep midfielder roles, freeing Paul Pogba to take a more forward position on the left. The breakthrough came from that flank after 13 minutes, although it was shaped by Fernandes.
There has been a lot of speculation about how Fernandes will team up with Ronaldo, given that he has largely played in the superstar’s shadow while also representing Portugal. In 26 international matches together, Fernandes has only assisted his compatriot once. It was the first time they had combined in a United shirt and will perhaps be remembered as the best.
Fernandes’ cross, launched from the inside left channel, was slammed low with the outside of his right foot and through every hole as it was closed off by two Young Boys defenders. It was the type of pass only a few can play and which capitalized on Ronaldo’s smart and instinctive move. The 135th goal of his Champions League career was not scored cleanly, hitting the legs of goalkeeper David von Ballmoos and bouncing through them, but the timing of his run and Fernandes’ vision made it possible.
United stayed in the ascendant all the way to red, at which point the dynamics completely changed. Wan-Bissaka had been the only real weak link so far, failing to connect with his teammates while in possession, and he paid the price for this sloppy play. A bad first touch forced him to take on the 50-50 challenge with Christopher Martins and he arrived late, rolling his foot over the midfielder’s ankle. Fernandes walked over to the dugout and appeared to tell United backroom staff that this was, unfortunately, a clear expulsion.
Jadon Sancho had fought for influence and was sacrificed, presented with Diogo Dalot. The sight of Christian Fassnacht closing in for a volley a minute later probably inspired another change at half-time. Van de Beek’s rotten luck persisted, with Raphael Varane being drafted as part of a five-way backward move. It was as if Solskjaer expected to pass the second half on the back foot and that is exactly how it turned out.
Other than a late start from Ronaldo that ended in calls for a penalty, United had no way of relieving the inevitable pressure from Young Boys. It gradually built up until the crescendo of Ngamaleu’s equalizer, which came after United’s narrow defensive line gave Meschak Elia plenty of room on the right. Elia’s cross deflected Luke Shaw and Harry Maguire on his way to the six-meter penalty area, while Ngamaleu snuck past Varane on his way home.
Solskjaer’s changes hadn’t worked, but then came two of his more surprising ones. Fernandes and Ronaldo were both taken out to leave a five-man defense, a three-man midfielder and Lingard playing as a lone striker. The lack of physical presence up front meant that Young Boys’ counterattacks only returned faster and, just as United seemed to have emerged with an unsatisfying but commendable point, Lingard’s backpass allowed Siebatcheu to doom United to a calamitous defeat.