Manchester United showed too much respect for AC Milan and it cost them the win

Manchester United drew with AC Milan 1-1 in the first leg of the Europa League Quarterfinals Thursday night in a clash of European greats.

Amad Diallo looked to have sealed a win with his first goal but a Simon Kjaer header off a corner in the 92ndminute rescued a draw for Milan and gave them a valuable away goal.

Milan looked the likeliest to score in the first half as they passed the ball around with ease, breaking Man United’s press a few times and creating some decent half chances because of it.

In the 8th minute Anthony Martial set himself up nicely after he took a ball off his chest well, his left footed shot was pushed over comfortably by Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Controversy struck in the 11th minute after Franck Kessie looked to have scored a beautiful goal, only to have it ruled out by VAR. The handball call was dubious and Manchester United looked to have gotten away with one.

Manchester United should have went ahead in the 38th minute. Bruno Fernandes flicked on an Alex Telles corner to the back post, only to have Harry Maguire miss a sitter.

It should have been 1-1 at the half. Milan were clearly the better side despite not having many of their key players.

The second half started bright for Manchester United, and were probably the better side overall in the half. Bruno Fernandes was fouled after a nice turn on Soualiho Meite.

United took the free kick quickly and Bruno found Amad in the box after the 18-year-old made a splendid diagonal run behind Fikayo Tomori. The finish was even better, Amad scored on a beautiful no look header that easily beat Donnarumma.

Milan had decent half chances throughout the game and could have tied after Rade Krunic got infront of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, but Krunic missed badly on the header.

United should have put the game to bed in the 72nd after Mason Greenwood played in Daniel James. James could not redirect the cross into an open goal, another sitter missed on the day. 

Milan leveled in the 92nd minute after Kjaer beat United to the near post. Dean Henderson did not have much to do on the day and could only get a hand on the header.

A draw is probably fair for both teams but Manchester United definitely would feel disappointed for giving up a goal at Old Trafford. The tie is still wide open despite Milan scoring.

Manchester United really could have put more of a stamp on the game, they let Milan pass around them at times too easily.

The Milan side that was fielded was not that impressive on paper, Kessie was amazing on the day, but he is a known commodity, besides Kessie no one scares you. Donnarumma is the only great player but can only do so much as a goalie.

Milan are managed well and they game planned well, United have the talent to outplay Milan at the San Siro in a week.

Manchester United Player Ratings

Every player starts with a 5.

The Man of the Match is a close one. I would have to go with Bruno Fernandes because of his pass to Amad but Eric Bailly played really well defensively, if Manchester United kept a clean sheet even though goal should not be blamed on Bailly, I would be more inclined to award him MOTM. Bruno will do.

GK- Dean Henderson: 4.5, Nothing really to do all night and when he had an opportunity to be a hero, he floundered. Henderson should have done better on the header.

RB- Aaron Wan-Bissaka: 5.5, AWB had some good tackles early in the game, but was poor with the ball, had some bad passes and got caught out of position a couple of times. Probably got subbed off because of fitness restraints.

CB- Eric Bailly: 7.5, Easily Man United’s best defender on the day. Bailly was marking Rafael Leao all game and dealt with the young striker’s pace extremely well. Had a great tackle on Calabria in the box that could have led to a chance. Bailly did not really put in a foot wrong the whole game. 

CB- Harry Maguire: 5, The captain did not have much to do all game. Playing in more of a sweeper role with Bailly playing the stopper, and marking Leao, Milan, not being hyperbolic did not play in a single long ball. There might have been a couple, so Maguire was not able to flex his talents as much defensively. SHOULD HAVE SCORED. Might be a miss of the season contender, was worse than James’s sitter.

LB- Alex Telles, 6: Played well enough for not playing much all season. Telles put in some dangerous set piece balls. Had a good defensive header on a Diogo Dalot cross that would have likely ended up with a Milan chance.

CM- Scott McTominay: 6, Lucky not to be sent off for a second yellow in the 83rd minute. McTominay had some good line splitting passes and some okay tackles, but was pretty passive in the second half especially being on a yellow card.

CM- Nemanja Matic: 5.5, Matic was pretty poor in possession, usually electing safer passes and when he did pass forward, he would often miss his target. Played decent defensively and had some good tackles, being able to go the full 90 was a plus.

CAM- Bruno Fernandes: 7.5, Should have had two assists if not for Maguire, but had a good game, always willing to get on the ball and find a pass. Would probably like to see him do more around the box and get some shots off. Brilliant pass to set up Amad for the goal. Subbed of in the 73rd.

LW/LM- Daniel James: 4, Probably the worst player in red on the day. James deserves a start, he is always willing to run and work, but today was not his day. He missed a sitter and was getting shredded in defensive duties by Davide Calabria. He had some pretty poor passing as well. 

ST- Anthony Martial: 4.5, Martial got subbed off for a reason at half time. Besides his chance that he did well to create, he was hardly seen. When United did have the ball in the Milan half, Martial would not try and get on the ball. In possession he hung around the shoulders of the Milan defenders way too often. Him going to the ball and trying to hold it up will allow Bruno to get into more dangerous areas around the box and create more opportunities. 

RW/RM- Mason Greenwood: 5, His only moment of the game was when he played in Dan James, he should have had an assist. Looked lethargic at times, was not tracking back when on the wing. Diogo Dalot was able to get into dangerous crossing positions because of it in the first half. Mason played better centrally when Amad came on, needs to go at the ball more like Martial. Needs to know when to use his pace, he had opportunities to run at defenders and did not, might be slightly injured.

Substitutes:

Amad Diallo: 7, Other than his goal, he looked lively, willing to get on the ball. Amad had some decent hold up plays for his age. The 7 is probably generous, but that goal was not a normal goal for a 18-year-old winger to finish. 

Luke Shaw: N/A, Shaw, Williams and Fred were all brought in at the same time, the 74th minute, all players did not see much action. Shaw saw some, as Milan were really pushing down the right, Shaw had some decent moments.

Brandon Williams: N/A, Just stood there mostly.

Fred: N/A, Ran around a lot. Had an opportunity in the 91st minute to play a ball more into the corner but elected to try and play in Greenwood. The pass was cut out and Milan were able to drive and get a corner. Time could have been wasted and United hold in Milan for the final two minutes.

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