Elanga celebrates after scoring against Atletico Madrid.
Manchester United draw 1-1 with Atletico Madrid
By Valentine Amanze
Manchester United’s eratic form continued Wednesday night as they managed a 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid in a Champions League round of 16 match first leg played at the Wanda Metropolitano.
Anthony Elanga’s late goal rescued the Premier League club, which struggled all through the match.
Atletico took the lead via Joao Felix’s heading into the net in the first 10 minutes of the match.
But rather than extend their advantage, Atletico squandered it. Elanga racing onto a Bruno Fernandes through ball and applying a cool finish with 10 minutes left to earn United a draw that felt like a victory.
On the second half comeback, the Manchester United boss Ralf Rangnick said, “I told them this is not enough.
“We have to have more energy. It’s not about game-plans or tactics. It’s about conviction. It’s about belief. This is not enough. This is the Champions League.”
Before then, Atletico’s Sime Vrsaljko had already hit the crossbar at the end of the first half and Antoine Griezmann was also denied a late winner by the woodwork after Elanga’s equaliser.
But while United will breathe a sigh of relief at the result, this was another performance to prompt serious concerns about their progress and direction under interim coach Ralf Rangnick, according to AFP.
In the first half, they failed to register a single touch in the Atletico Madrid box, the first time that has happened to a United side in the Champions League since at least 2005.
Cristiano Ronaldo was up against a familiar foe in Atletico, with 25 goals in 35 games against Diego Simeone’s team and 10 in his last 10, including three hat-tricks.
But the Portuguese cut a frustrated and isolated figure up front, his biggest contribution as a target for the enthusiastic whistling and booing from the Atletico supporters.
Both Rangnick and Simeone have a veteran scorer whose needs perhaps come at the expense of the team, but while Rangnick started the 37-year-old Ronaldo, Simeone dropped the 35-year-old Luis Suarez, with Felix and Angel Correa named up front instead.