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Ronaldo gives United an early lead before Wan-Bissaka shown a straight red for poor tackle
Young Boys dominate second half, scoring the winner in the dying seconds
Cristiano Ronaldo had whispered something into Jesse Lingard’s ear when he was replaced in the 72nd minute with the scoreline level but, if he had envisaged his Manchester United team-mate playing some part in a winning goal, this was not what he would have had in mind. It was Lingard’s careless back pass in the fifth minute of stoppage time that gifted substitute Jordan Siebatcheu a dramatic late winner and Young Boys the most famous win in their history on a night in Bern when a 10-man United paid a familiarly heavy price for two alarming errors of judgment and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s substitutions again came under scrutiny.
What had threatened early on to turn into another Ronaldo show ended up being a damaging start in Europe and if United are serious about leaving an imprint on the competition, they are going to have to demonstrate far more nous and discipline than this. Woeful lapses of concentration had cost them against Istanbul Basaksehir last season, a defeat that went a long way towards seeing them exit at the group stage, and if they do not wise up quickly they could yet find themselves making heavy weather of what is supposed to be one of the most favourable groups.
Ronaldo’s 135th Champions League goal on a record-equalling 177th appearance in the competition had given United the perfect platform, but their game plan went out of the window when Aaron Wan-Bissaka was sent off for a brainless lunge in the 35th minute and Young Boys set about their bedraggled opponents with a relish that was rewarded in quite spectacular fashion. By the end, the Swiss champions had recorded 19 shots to United’s two and so, while the manner of the defeat will hurt Solskjaer, who was aggrieved Ronaldo was not awarded a penalty early in the second half, it would be wrong to characterise this as a smash and grab from David Wagner’s bold, enterprising side.
Wagner was in charge of Huddersfield Town when they beat United 2-1 in October 2017 with the help of an error-strewn display from Victor Lindelof. His Young Boys know how to punish mistakes, too.
Lingard just put his head in his hands after a disbelieving Siebatcheu, a half-time substitute, collected his errant back-pass and coolly slotted the ball past David De Gea with virtually the last kick of the match as the Wankdorf Stadium erupted. Solskjaer had resolved to try to see the game out by removing Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes and bringing on Lingard and Nemanja Matic. But the moment Ronaldo left the pitch, Young Boys felt more confident committing men forward from defence and United were just pushed deeper and deeper.
The night had got off to a great start. Fernandes speared a stunning pass with the outside of his right boot between two yellow shirts before the ball bent past Mohamed Ali Camara and then Ulisses Garcia to the back post where Ronaldo, with superb timing and movement, was on hand to squeeze the ball past David von Ballmoos.
United were not getting it all their own way by any stretch before Wan-Bissaka was sent off, but the red card turned the game on its head.
If anything, it is a surprise Wan-Bissaka’s poor control has not got him into more trouble by now. Wan-Bissaka took a heavy touch receiving the ball back from Donny van de Beek after a quick one-two and suddenly found himself lunging at Christopher Martins. It was not a malicious challenge, but he could have pulled out. Instead, Martins’ poor foot felt the full force of Wan-Bissaka’s studs and referee Francois Letexier had no choice but to dismiss the United player.
Young Boys should have punished United almost immediately, but Christian Fassnacht fired wide from Garcia’s cross and if those nervy 10 minutes up until half-time told Solskjaer anything, it was that United needed to change shape from a back four. Jadon Sancho had already made way for Diogo Dalot and at half-time Van de Beek was removed for Raphael Varane as United went to a back three.
This was now a test of concentration and game management for United, who sought to soak up the pressure then hit on the counter when the opportunity allowed. The one moment they managed that Ronaldo went down under a challenge from Camara, but Letexier felt there was not enough contact to warrant a penalty, to the annoyance of Solskjaer who later referenced the referee’s inexperience.
The pace of Meschack Elia and Moumi Ngamaleu was a persistent threat and it was no surprise when they combined for the equaliser. Elia’s cross from the right deflected off Luke Shaw before Ngamaleu, attacking the front post, steered a superb controlled finish beyond the diving De Gea. Sandro Lauper later drew a fine save from De Gea, but the game looked to be heading for a draw before Lingard’s fatal rush of blood to the head.
Young Boys 2 Manchester United 1: As it happened...
FULL-TIME: Young Boys 2 Man Utd 1
Wow. United thought they had the point in the bag and a horrible error has cost them. Horrible night for Manchester United, historic win for Young Boys.
GOOOOOOAAAAAAAAL! (Siebatcheu) Young Boys 2 Man Utd 1
Oh dear. Lingard attempts a back pass with seconds to go. Siebatcheu latches onto it and puts it past De Gea first time. What a moment for Young Boys.
90+4 min: Young Boys 1 Man Utd 1
United are nearly there. They have been dominated all half but are minutes away from a valuable point.
Matic is fouled in his own half and there is no rush to take it. Dalot breaks down the right but it tackled and Young Boys counter. Kanga fires a cross into the box but no one is there to meet it.
90+2 min: Young Boys 1 Man Utd 1
Elia curls in a dangerous cross but Maguire does well it to head it away before Dalot hoofs it long.
90 min: Young Boys 1 Man Utd 1
Martial is on for Fred who has been excellent this evening. There will be five added minutes!
87 min: Young Boys 1 Man Utd 1
Maguire heads the corner clear but Young Boys come again. Ngamaleu fires a shot with good power but it is wide of the post.
Lauper nails a shot from distance, forcing it to be tipped over the bar. Nothing comes from the corner.
85 min: Young Boys 1 Man Utd 1
There is no doubt that Young Boys are going for the win and United are trying to cling on for draw. The Swiss side win a corner down the right.
82 min: Young Boys 1 Man Utd 1
Lindelof is down after going for a header. He looks like he will be ok. The impressive Martins is coming off for Young Boys, replaced by teenager Reider.
79 min: Young Boys 1 Man Utd 1
Pogba is fouled in Young Boys half. Dalot whips it into the box and it hits Maguire on the top of the head before falling to Lindelof who cannot do anything with it.
76 min: Young Boys 1 Man Utd 1
Pogba is dispossessed and the Swiss side break down the left. Ngamaleu runs at Dalot who puts it behind for a corner. It is taken quickly and Varane just about deals with it. United were nearly caught napping there.
74 min: Young Boys 1 Man Utd 1
Young Boys come again. Successive crosses are just about dealt with before Fassnacht fires a shot into the packed stands.
72 min: Young Boys 1 Man Utd 1
Ronaldo is coming off, replaced by Lingard. Matic is also on, replacing Fernandes. Lingard's speed will be handy on the break.
70 min: Young Boys 1 Man Utd 1
The Swiss side look more likely to double their lead than to concede. United continue to sit deep. They have really struggled with 10-men.
GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAL! (Ngamaleu) Young Boys 1 Man Utd 1
A low cross is fired across the United box and Ngamaleu just pokes it home with his toe! The stadium erupts! Youngs Boys are good value for that goal.
65 min: Young Boys 0 Man Utd 1
This match is becoming a little tetchy, with challenges flying in and constant complaints of time-wasting by the visitors.
62 min: Young Boys 0 Man Utd 1
De Gea is getting the hurry-up form the Swiss crowd who think he is taking too long to kick.
Pogba holds up the ball on half-way, earning a free kick.
60 min: Young Boys 0 Man Utd 1
It is a very even game at the moment. Young Boys dominating possession, United looking dangerous on the counter.
57 min: Young Boys 0 Man Utd 1
Young Boys win another corner much to the delight of an animated David Wagner. The ball is headed away and Elia then fires a shot way over the bar.
55 min: Young Boys 0 Man Utd 1
The electric atmosphere in the stadium has only intensified since the break.
Fernandes hits a spectacular first-time through ball and Ronaldo latches onto it, breaking in behind the defence. He goes down in the box under a challenge from behind by Camara but no penalty is given! Ronaldo is furious but there was not a lot of contact there.
52 min: Young Boys 0 Man Utd 1
Dalot concedes a corner under pressure. Varane heads the delivery away and Ronaldo looks to counter. He loses the ball but there is no harm done. United win it back, spreading the play to the right. Fred then draws a foul on half-way.
50 min: Young Boys 0 Man Utd 1
The Swiss side come again but Dalot makes an important tackle. Fernandes goes down as United break, the ref calls it back after United lose the ball. Martins is eventually booked for his high challenge on Fernandes.
47 min: Young Boys 0 Man Utd 1
Young Boys start brightly, sending a cross into the box from the left wing. It is well defended by the visitors.
Here we go!
Varane is on for Van de Beek at half-time. Back three for United it looks like.
Not a stat Wan-Bissaka will want to see...
2013 - Aaron Wan-Bissaka is the first Manchester United player to be shown a straight red card in a UEFA Champions League match since Nani against Real Madrid in March 2013. Studs.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 14, 2021
United were well on top until the red card
After the visitors took the lead, it looked like they were going to run away with it but the straight red card awarded to Wan-Bissaka has brought Young Boys well and truly into the contest.
An intriguing second half awaits.
HALF-TIME: Young Boys 0 Man Utd 1
The Swiss side attack again but United cling on. There is one minute of added time.
Fred is caught by Fassnacht who is booked for a clumsy challenge. And that's the half.
43 min: Young Boys 0 Man Utd 1
Elia breaks down the left but Lindelof tracks back well, forcing him to turn back. The ball comes to Sierro who releases a weak shot from long range.
41 min: Young Boys 0 Man Utd 1
Young Boys have been on top since the red card. They are dominating possession with United looking to make it to half-time unscathed.
Elia crosses into the box and Maguire heads clear. Shaw then goes down under a challenge from Hefti. Just a free kick.
38 min: Young Boys 0 Man Utd 1
Fassnacht should score for Young Boys! A low cross reaches him at the back post but he drives his shot just wide. He had so much time!
37 min: Young Boys 0 Man Utd 1
Sancho has been sacrificed, replaced by Dalot who will got to right back. The red card just gives Young Boys a sniff.
Wan-Bissaka is shown a straight red for going over the top of the ball and stepping on the ankle of Martins. A fair decision for a poor challenge.
34 min: Young Boys 0 Man Utd 1
A botched goal kick lands at the feet of Fred. He plays it right but the chance is snuffed out.
Van de Beek tries to pick out Fernandes with a through ball but it does not reach its intended destination.
32 min: Young Boys 0 Man Utd 1
Sancho gives away the ball once more.
Aebischer breaks forward and fires a shot over the bar.
30 min: Young Boys 0 Man Utd 1
Sancho finds space down the right but cannot deliver a final ball of any quality. He has looked a little off the pace so far tonight.
Wan-Bissaka looks for Ronaldo at the back post but his cross is intercepted by the keeper.
27 min: Young Boys 0 Man Utd 1
Ronaldo is fouled by Camara as they both leap for the ball. Will it be Fernandes or Ronaldo? Ronaldo yields, heading into the box. A cross may be coming from the wide-ish angle. A quick pass is attempted in the end but Young Boys snuff it out.
25 min: Young Boys 0 Man Utd 1
Fassnacht curls a long range effort with his left peg towards goal, forcing a save from De Gea. United break and the counter ends with Ronaldo having a shot saved by van Ballmoos. He went for power but it was straight at the keeper.
23 min: Young Boys 0 Man Utd 1
Young Boys win a corner. It is taken short and a cross is lofted to the back post. Camara rises highest but the defender barely makes contact with his header. Opportunity wasted.
36 - Young Boys are the 36th different team Cristiano Ronaldo has scored against in the UEFA Champions League, with no player scoring against more (also Lionel Messi on 36). Collection. pic.twitter.com/xVk4EDZnnC
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 14, 2021
21 min: Young Boys 0 Man Utd 1
Shaw is having some joy down the left, finding space and driving past his marker. Young Boys just need to try and get some possession, it has been all United since the goal.
18 min: Young Boys 0 Man Utd 1
The home crowd remains as noisy as ever. Elia has looked lively for the hosts, the in-form striker causing a few problems for United.
15 min: Young Boys 0 Man Utd 1
It had been a fairly even game and then United struck clinically. Fernandes and Ronaldo on the same wavelength.
GOOOOOOAAAAAAAL! (Ronaldo) Young Boys 0 Man Utd 1
United counter. Fernandes executes an outrageous cross with the outside of his foot leaving Ronaldo a tap in from close range! Superb pass and good movement from Ronaldo.
10 min: Young Boys 0 Man Utd 0
Shaw fires a pass into the feet of Fernandes on the edge of the box. He does well to control it, turning and then prodding a pass to Sancho who is tackled.
Van de Beek then puts in a meaty challenge which does not go down well with the home crowd.
7 min: Young Boys 0 Man Utd 0
Van de Beek wins the ball in midfield before being fouled. Good, solid play from the Dutchman.
Shaw breaks down the left but is tackled before he can get his pass away. There really is a terrific noise being generated by the Young Boys fans.
4 min: Young Boys 0 Man Utd 0
Elia drives at the goal for the hosts and hits a low shot wide of the right hand post. Half-chance with minimal closing down on offer from United's defence.
Fernandes flicks a pass towards Sancho who cannot control it in the penalty area.
2 min: Young Boys 0 Man Utd 0
Young Boys stadium makes use of an artificial surface. There is nothing artificial about the atmosphere which is bouncing already.
United make a sloppy start, losing possession with a loose pass. Pogba has started down the left with van der Beek and Fred in the middle.
Here we go!
United get us started in Bern.
We are less than ten minutes to kick-off
United are clear favourites this evening but they have struggled in the Champions League under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. There is a superb opportunity to change that tonight.
It feels like a big night for Donny van de Beek
The Dutch midfielder has struggled to get game time since his move to Old Trafford from Ajax. There is plenty of competition in his position but van de Beek gets a chance to impress from the off tonight.
Showing an understanding with new recruits Cristiano Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho could help his case for more regular action.
Solskjær will want to improve his record this evening...
6 - Manchester United have lost six of their 10 UEFA Champions League matches under Ole Gunnar Solskjær (W4) – as many as they lost in 20 games in the competition under Louis van Gaal and José Mourinho combined (W10 D4 L6). Educational. pic.twitter.com/OWlQOAFmyf
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 14, 2021
There will be a familiar face on the Youngs Boys bench this evening
Young Boys manager David Wagner is set to take charge of his first ever Uefa Champions League match – he faced Manchester United four times in all competitions as Huddersfield Town manager, losing three of his four games (W1) – Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s second match in charge of Man Utd was a 3-1 win over Wagner’s Huddersfield in December 2018.
Man Utd team news recap
Cristiano Ronaldo starts for Manchester United as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer makes just three changes for their Champions League opener at Young Boys.
The 36-year-old made his second debut for the club on Saturday, when he scored a brace in a 4-1 victory against Newcastle, and plays again in Bern.
Donny van de Beek, Victor Lindelof and Fred come into the side in place of Nemanja Matic, Raphael Varane and Mason Greenwood.
A Ronaldo fan has arrived at the ground nice and early...
And here is Man Utd's opposition this evening
So spielt YB heute Abend gegen Manchester United 💛🖤
Nicht dabei sind: Lustenberger, Nsame, Petignat, Monteiro, Maier (verletzt), Toure, Lefort (nicht im Aufgebot).#BSCYB #YBMUFC #UCL pic.twitter.com/SdAU8wGD5y
— BSC YOUNG BOYS (@BSC_YB) September 14, 2021
Ronaldo equals Champions League appearance record tonight
Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo will equal the all-time Uefa Champions League appearance record in this match, levelling with Iker Casillas on 177 matches. Ronaldo is already the leading scorer with 134 goals, 15 of which were scored during his first spell at Man Utd between 2003 and 2009.
The Man Utd team news is in... and Ronaldo starts!
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) September 14, 2021
Hello and welcome to Telegraph Sport's live coverage of the returning Champions League
By James Ducker in Bern, Switzerland
Listening to a determined Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Monday, it was hard to escape the feeling that the Manchester United manager believes this team have served their apprenticeship in the Champions League and that now it is time they start to master their craft. Elimination at the group stage last season stung, just as a tepid 4-0 aggregate defeat to Barcelona in the quarter-finals the year before exposed the shortcomings that an extraordinary comeback against Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16 had helped to mask.
But with Cristiano Ronaldo and Raphael Varane, with nine Champions League winners’ medals between them, added to the mix this summer to supplement the likes of David De Gea, Harry Maguire, Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes, Solskjaer gave the impression of a man who knows there are no excuses now not to seriously kick on in a competition that has largely confounded the club since Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure.
“We’ve had enough disappointments, that’s for sure,” the United manager said ahead of their opening Group F match against Swiss champions Young Boys in Bern. “We’ve had some big moments, too, of course but this team has grown and matured over the last few seasons.
“That was always the plan back in the day when I came in three years ago that we’d have a squad with the experience and quality to challenge. With players like David, Harry, who has had a couple of years here now, we’re getting the spine of the team and you can see experience and quality.
“And with Raphael and Cristiano they add, not that last bit because you can never say it’s the last bit, but they add that something extra that you have to buy unless you win it four times yourself. We’ve definitely learnt, the group is special I have to say, as a unit they look after each other. The atmosphere is really good and that’s going to stand us in good stead, definitely.”
Eyes will naturally be drawn again to Ronaldo who, after scoring twice in a 4-1 homecoming win against Newcastle on Saturday, is in line to make his 177th Champions League appearance tonight and equal his former Real Madrid team-mate Iker Casillas’ competition record. But United will also need Pogba to step up in Europe this season if all roads are to lead to the final in St. Petersburg next May.
Only Ronaldo and Varane (with 83 Champions League appearances) have played more games in the competition than Pogba of those players Solskjaer will have available at the Stadion Wankdorf. The murmurs at the moment are that Pogba - out of contract next summer - is leaning towards staying, a situation influenced in no small part by Ronaldo’s arrival last month. Yet while Solskjaer suggested it was down to United to get the results on the pitch to influence Pogba’s thinking, the manager will hope this outing against Young Boys proves the precursor to better things for the Frenchman than the club’s previous visit here.
Pogba scored twice and was captain when United beat Young Boys 3-0 in their opening group game of the 2018/19 Champions League campaign under Jose Mourinho. But three days later the France midfielder was questioning Mourinho’s tactics after a dismal 1-1 draw at home to Wolves and the following week he was stripped of the vice-captaincy and embroiled in a training ground bust-up with the manager. Their relationship never recovered and Mourinho was sacked three months later and replaced by Solskjaer.
Pogba is in a much happier place now, despite the uncertainty over his future, and Solskjaer has high hopes for his midfielder, even if he did suggest his total of seven assists this term was a little misleading.
“Paul’s come back in good shape and he’s worked really hard over the summer, he came back lean and fit,” Solskjaer said. “But what does an assist consist of? A square pass to Bruno and Bruno hits the top corner [against Newcastle] or when Paul plays a great pass through to Mason and runs past [to score].
“Paul's always been a top passer, he’s one of the best passers in European football. He’s probably not got his assists from his best passes this season so I don’t count these assists - that’s just this social media [stuff] - but Paul’s played well that’s for sure.”