Diego Simeone’s plan against Manchester United on Wednesday evening seemed perfect: Atlético de Madrid opened the scoring in the 7th minute thanks to Joao Felix, on a superb diving header which made a re-entrant post, then stifled the English team for a long time in this round of 16 first leg. The Red Devils nevertheless managed to snatch a draw (1-1), on a cross shot from young Swede Anthony Elanga (80th), before the return match in three weeks in England. So far, the distribution was clear: the ball and possession in Manchester, but without great danger for Oblak; the chances for Atlético, with an untenable Lodi on the left side. On a cross from the Brazilian, Vrsaljko also found the crossbar of the head just before the break (45th).
Opposite, Cristiano Ronaldo was powerless, like this free kick at the entrance to the surface which ended in the cloud (79th). It was the young Swede, Anthony Elanga, who entered a few minutes earlier in place of Marcus Rashford, who gave hope to the Red Devils. Well launched by Bruno Fernandes, the 19-year-old striker placed a cross shot out of reach from Oblak (80th). Atlético de Madrid kept pushing until the end. Entering the game in the last quarter of an hour, Antoine Griezmann could have been the savior of his team but his curled shot ended up on the crossbar of De Gea (90th).
The French: Pogba struggling
There was this powerful and millimeter cross which could have launched Bruno Fernandes towards the goal at the start of the second period but before Paul Pogba had a frustrating match. He was never able to boost the attacking game of Manchester United, entangled in the defensive web of Atlético. The French midfielder was also replaced in the 66th minute. In central defense, Raphaël Varane was quite shy and did little to restart the game. Opposite, Geoffrey Kondogbia (former French international, now selected with the Central African Republic) made the match that Pogba could dream of: impactful on the recoveries of ball, precise in his transmissions and often in support of his attackers. Substitutes at the start of the game, Thomas Lemar and Antoine Griezmann came on in the 76th minute but weren’t decisive.
Atlético de Madrid has still not won at home this season in the Champions League (2 losses and 2 draws).