Manchester United Fall to BSC Young Boys in Shocking Fashion
20:03 GMT 14.09.2021 (Updated: 20:20 GMT 14.09.2021)
Manchester United fell to BSC Young Boys to start their Champions League Campaign. The loss raises fresh concerns over the direction of the team under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and could put their Champions League future in peril.
Defending Swiss Champions BSC Young Boys were the dominant side in the fixture. The boys from Bern outshot United nineteen to two. However, the game started well for United as they dominated the ball and held Young Boys to long-range efforts. For as much possession as United enjoyed, they were unable to create chances with it. Instead, their lone goal came in transition when, in the 13th minute, Bruno Fernandes played a lovely outside foot cross from the left side into a streaking Ronaldo, who converted the chance with poise.
The game turned on its head in the 35th minute when Aaron Wan-Bissaka was shown a straight red for a clumsy challenge. The referee decision is sure to draw the ire of United fans, but the Champions League, unlike the Premier League, has not directed referees to be as lenient with bookings. The sending-off prompted Solksjaer to sub off Jadon Sancho for Diego Dalot, and sacrificed offensive firepower for defensive solidity.
United went into the half up a goal, but down a man, and their halftime substitutions painted a clear plan to defend their one-goal lead. Out went Donny Van De Beek and in went Raphael Varane giving United three centre backs and a back-five to see out the final 45 minutes.
After dominating possession in the first half United was all too comfortable conceding it to Young Boys in the second half. United’s plan to sit back and counter almost came to fruition when Ronaldo was played in on goal and had a one-on-one with the keeper. Ronaldo, sensing the pressure of the defender, went to ground in an attempt to draw a penalty. The referee was not in a charitable mood and signaled no foul. Just like that, United’s best chance of the second half disappeared.
Young Boys kept up the pressure, and found an equalizer in the 66th minute when Nicolas Ngamaleu tapped in a cross from the right wing. With the game knotted at 1-1, United continued to favor defense over attack with their two 72nd minute substitutions. Solksjaer opted to bring on Nemanja Matic for Bruno Fernandes and Jesse Lingard for Cristiano Ronaldo.
In the 77th minute, a fan ran onto the field in front of Young Boys’ goal before being apprehended by security. It was the last time the Young Boys’ defense would be breached. However, United’s strategy of bunkering down almost worked. With the score still 1-1 and in the final minute of extra time, Jesse Lingard played a porous back pass that effectively played Jordan Siebatcheu in on goal. Seibatcheu calmly finished his chance and gave Young Boys a 2-1 lead as his teammates swarmed him in celebration.
United’s opening defeat could spell doom for their Champions League prospects. Atalanta and Villarreal are both higher quality opponents than BSC Young Boys and represent four of their five remaining matches. United remains the most talented team in the group and making it out to the round of 16 is still a possibility. However, their loss to Young Boys will make it much harder to win the group, and their inability to create chances has to be a major concern for a team with aspirations to win the Premier and Champions League titles.