Young Boys 2-1 Manchester United: Champions League – as it happened
Here’s Jonathan Liew’s match report. Thanks for joining me. Tschüss!
“Has anyone checked on Jonathan Wilson?” asks Pedro Padilha. “I would imagine he’s walking around Guardian Towers shouting VINDICATION!”
We’ll have a match report from a wild night at the Wankdorf online soon, but for now, it’s time to sign off. Join Paul Doyle for Chelsea v Zenit, or Scott Murray for the Champions League clockwatch:
I feel for Lingard, who has worked so hard to get a chance in this United team. But it’s even harder to begrudge the hosts, who were relentless in their pursuit of a winner. There was almost a karmic force at work, punishing United for spending the whole second half camped in defence and hoping for the best.
Full time! Young Boys 2-1 Manchester United
That’s the last kick of the game, and what a dagger for 10-man United, who thought they had held on for the draw. It was at least, from a neutral perspective, rather amusing.
A final attack was broken up, and all Lingard had to do was hoof it away. Instead, he tried for some reason to play it back to David de Gea. Jordan Siebatcheu races clear, fires home – and the crowd goes absolutely wild!
GOAL! Young Boys 2-1 Manchester United (Siebatcheu 95')
OH. MY. DAYS. Young Boys have won the game, thanks to a howler from Jesse Lingard!
94 mins: Or are they? A long ball from Garcia finds Kanga, who speeds down the touchline but has a lack of options alongside him.
93 mins: United get a throw-in, then a slightly fortunate free kick, and are slowly getting to the finish line.
“Time after time, Lauper shows his true colours,” honks Kevin Wilson.
91 mins: Two more Young Boys head into the fray – striker Wilfried Kanga and defender Cedric Zesiger, who replace the excellent Elia and Sandro Lauper.
90 mins: Shaw gets his head to another long ball, but there’s still no outlet upfield for United. Five added minutes ...
88 mins: A fourth change for United, with Anthony Martial replacing Fred, who looks tired.
87 mins: Centre-back Sandro Lauper steps forward and belts a shot from 30 yards that De Gea is forced to tip over. They’ve got threats from everywhere, this lot.
85 mins: Siebatchu chests down a long ball, and Ngamaelu’s snap-shot swerves wide of goal. United have absolutely no control here.
83 mins: The hosts are regrouping for a final push for a winner, and Ngamaleu’s cross is blocked by Shaw. The corner is slabbed away by Harry Maguire.
81 mins: Lindelof goes down after a clash of heads with Christopher Martins. The all-action midfielder is being replaced by Fabian Rieder, while right-back Hefti is replaced by Miralem Sulejmani, a creative midfielder.
78 mins: Dalot swings the ball in and it lands to Lindelof, who can only prod it half-heartedly towards Varane, who is being closely marked.
76 mins: United have the chance to whip in a free kick from deep. Dalot is over it, but play is stopped by a pitch invader, who shows a nice turn of pace to evade one steward before being bundled in the traditional style.
74 mins: Pogba gets into the opposing half but then loses the ball, and Young Boys charge forward again, not unlike an angry swarm of bees. Varane has to be alert to cut out a dangerous low cross, and United would take the draw now, no question.
72 mins: Lingard is playing as a nominal forward, but United are set up in a 5-4-0 now. Matic will beef up the midfield, but it’s strange that not one of Martial, Greenwood or Sancho is on to try and cause a counter-attacking threat.
71 mins: Ronaldo is replaced by Jesse Lingard, while Matic comes on for Bruno Fernandes.
69 mins: The home fans are making one hell of a noise now, as their team continue to go after United at pace. Elia, who had never played in Europe before joining the club in 2020, has been absolutely electric.
68 mins: Ngamaleu is immediately presented with another chance from Elia’s pass, but lifts his shot over the bar.
Elia drifts out wide again and his deflected cross falls to Nicolas Moumi Ngamaleu, who gets in front of Varane at the near post and fires home!
GOAL! Young Boys 1-1 Manchester United (Ngamaleu 66')
And now the hosts are level!
65 mins: Dalot, who has also done well since being thrown into the mix, reads a one-two and makes the interception. United can’t really get out of their own half, though ...
63 mins: Varane, who has shored United up considerably, is booked for time-wasting.
60 mins: Hefti’s cross is blocked by Shaw, prompting cries of handball from the stands, if not the Young Boys players. Elia then overruns the ball at the byline as he tried to make space for a cross.
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57 mins: Replays show Ronaldo almost waiting for Camara to barge him over, but the defender slowed up and leaned in – contact, but not enough. I’m not sure why Ronaldo didn’t just have a shot.
56 mins: Elia smashes a shot over the bar, under pressure from Dalot. Plenty of blood and thunder from the hosts since Wan-Bissaka went off, but aside from Fassnacht’s chance, they’ve struggled to trouble De Gea.
54 mins: The ball is heaved upfield towards Ronaldo, the only United player in the opposing half. His presence alone is enough to unsettle Camara, who loses his footing and allows Ronaldo to get in on goal! He makes up ground and Ronaldo goes over in the area – no penalty. Ronaldo is not impressed, but I think that’s the right call.
53 mins: Hefti’s cross is cleared away, Pogba collects and United can counter ...
49 mins: Martins, who was fouled by Wan-Bissaka in the red-card challenge, gets booked for a foul on Maguire.
I missed this earlier, but it seems that an errant Cristiano Ronaldo shot in the warm-up hit a steward, who needed medical attention. Ronaldo went to check on the steward – other details are sketchy, but we hope they’re doing OK.
46 mins: So, it looks like a back three for United, to tackle Young Boys’ considerable threat from crosses. Dalot and Shaw are the wing-backs, with Pogba dropping into central midfield.
Here we go again
Time for the second half. Changes for both teams, with Raphaël Varane replacing poor old Donny Van de Beek. American forward Jordan Siebatcheu is on for Young Boys, in place of Vincent Sierro.
“Having not seen him play in the Bundesliga, I have never seen Jadon Sancho do anything other than wander around in a generally disinterested manner. Am I the only one?” asks Gary Harley. “We could have bought quite a decent midfielder for the same money.”
He was excellent at Dortmund, to the extent that £73m looked a decent fee. It’s still very, very early days but it can be tough for players who move on from Dortmund, who are geared to let young players shine.
In Tuesday’s other early game, there have been four penalties given. Sevilla scored theirs, Red Bull Salzburg scored one and missed two, and it’s 1-1 at half-time.
Will Ole be reaching for the emery board again at half-time? It’s this week’s Squires:
Half time: Young Boys 0-1 Manchester United
Ronaldo put United ahead from Bruno Fernandes’ brilliant cross early on, but United were unimpressive even before Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s red card. It could be a long second half for the visitors, but they lead at the break.
46 mins: Christian Fassnacht goes into the book after treading on Fred’s toes.
45 mins: Garcia launches another dangerous deep cross which rebounds to Sierro, who is quickly closed down. Elia has a sight on goal, but swipes at his shot. One minute of added time ...
44 mins: Fassnacht’s cross is cleared by Fernandes as United hold on for half-time.
42 mins: Sierro fires in a low shot that causes David de Gea no problems.
40 mins: Young Boys continue to pour forward, until a hefty challenge by ... Silvan Hefti on Luke Shaw earns United some breathing space.
38 mins: The hosts really ought to be level here. A deep cross from the left finds Fassnacht, in absolute acres, and he drills his volley inches wide of the far post. Yikes!
37 mins: Wan-Bissaka’s red card is bad news for Jadon Sancho, who is hooked in favour of Diogo Dalot.
Wan-Bissaka waits for Martins to get up, and checks he’s OK. Which is a nice touch, but probably won’t improve Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s mood. I don’t think he meant any harm, but the replays show it was dangerous, and Martins was lucky not to be more seriously hurt.
Red card! Wan-Bissaka is sent off!
Christopher Martins and Aaron Wan-Bissaka go for a 50-50 ball and the full back overstretches, his boot landing hard on his opponent’s ankle!
32 mins: Aebischer barrels forward and blasts a hopeful shot high, high over the bar.
“He had barely touched the ball – but now Cristiano Ronaldo has fired United ahead! – I reckon you might want to set up a keyboard shortcut for that sentence this season,” says Chris Gibson.
I’ve got a few lined up, Chris. [paste] United have been unconvincing defensively, but Ronaldo’s early goal has them 1-0 up. [/paste]
28 mins: Ronaldo drops into midfield and starts a counter-attack with a swinging diagonal ball to Sancho. The winger takes a little too long to get his head up, and Ulisses Garcia does well to close down and intercept, with Pogba and Fernandes galloping into the box.
26 mins: United get a free kick 25 yards out. Ronaldo stays in the middle, with Bruno and Fred gathered over the ball. The attempted low ball into danger is cleared away.
25 mins: Straight down the other end we go, and Ronaldo races into the area. From a tight angle, he still stings the palms of Von Ballmoos with a vicious effort!
24 mins: Things are heating up now! Fassnacht is given too much time, lines up a shot from distance, and forces De Gea into an awkward low save, down to his right ...
“On the Spanish feed in the states, they call Ronaldo ‘Mr Champion’,” notes Mary Waltz.
21 mins: Young Boys win a corner, which Sierro takes. It’s not dealt with and when it comes back in, Camara can’t get enough on his header!
“I play on astroturf myself with no issue, but already I’ve seen two United players slip in crucial moments,” notes Matthew Richman. No need to brag, etc. I do find it odd that a Champions League game can be played on artificial turf, but Sutton United had to get rid of their 3G pitch in order to play in League Two.
17 mins: There are away fans present here, after Covid travel restrictions threatened to keep them away. It was a nervous first 10 minutes, but that goal has understandably deflated the hosts a little.
Ronaldo’s prior United goal in the Champions League came more than 12 years ago – that’s another new record, for the longest gap between goals for the same club. He takes the record off Javier Zanetti, who still holds Most Consistent Haircut.
It was absolutely textbook late-era Ronaldo, made by Fernandes whose frankly outrageous cross, curled with the outside of the boot, landed to Ronaldo six yards out. His first-time shot slipped through the keeper’s legs, and just over the line!
GOAL! Young Boys 0-1 Manchester United (Ronaldo 13')
He had barely touched the ball – but now Cristiano Ronaldo has fired United ahead!
12 mins: Elia picks up on a long ball and shimmies past Lindelof, before powering the ball across goal to no-one in particular. He had done the hard bit, but the cross was lacking.
10 mins: Fernandes canters into the box and tries to pick out Sancho, who has moved into central areas a couple of times already. Young Boys clear and Van de Beek fouls Ngamaleu as the winger tried to break away.
8 mins: It’s been a leisurely start, in keeping with the leisure-centre vibe of the playing surface.
5 mins: Fernandes prods a through ball on towards Sancho, but it runs through to the keeper. It looks like Pogba is on the left of midfield, with Van de Beek joining Fred in the centre.
3 mins: Oof! An early chance for the hosts as Sancho loses the ball in midfield. Meschack Elia gets Lindelöf isolated, twists and turns but drags a tricky shot beyond De Gea’s far post.
2 mins: The hosts are in black and yellow halves, while United wear their blue and white, early-90s-tinged away kit.
Here we go!
Both sets of players take a knee, met by applause from all sides of the ground. The referee, France’s François Letexier, then gets us under way.
The players are out and lined up for the Champions League anthem, which is partly obscured by another tune leaking through the PA. The Uefa suits will be livid. Behind the teams, the home fans form a snazzy wall of black and gold.
Here’s Ole Gunnar Solskjær: “We had a good day, a professional day [on Saturday] but this is a new game. Coming from Norway, I’m used to the astroturf – the players have trained on it, I’ve got no complaints.”
On Van de Beek, he says: “We know what he’s capable of, he’s been working really hard over the summer. He’s stronger, fitter and we’re looking forward to seeing him in action.”
As if this wasn’t a tough enough assignment for the hosts, they are without a number of injured players including their captain, Fabian Lustenberger, and last season’s Swiss league top scorer, Jean-Pierre Nsame.
In Nsame’s absence, his Cameroon compatriot Moumi Ngameleu and DR Congo forward Meschak Elia will carry the goal threat, while winger Christian Fassnacht featured in Switzerland’s impressive Euro 2020 campaign.
United fans might recognise one name on the Young Boys bench – midfielder Alex Jankewitz, who was sent off after two minutes for Southampton as they lost 9-0 at Old Trafford in February.
Here’s today’s Fiver, on Big Cup and DJ Snake:
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Previously: United began their Champions League campaign on the artificial turf here back in 2018, when Paul Pogba scored twice in a 3-0 win. They finished second in the group, shocked PSG in the last-16 and then were well beaten by Barça in the quarters. Young Boys finished bottom of Group H but earned a memorable home win over ... Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus. Him again!
Young Boys (4-2-3-1): Von Ballmoos (c); Hefti, Camara, Lauper, García; Sierro, Martins Pereira; Fassnacht, Aebischer, Ngamaleu; Elia.
Subs: Zbinden, Faivre, Zesiger, Spielmann, Kanga, Sulejmani, Jankewitz, Bürgy, Siebatcheu, Mambimbi, Maceiras, Rieder.
Manchester United (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Wan Bissaka, Lindelöf, Maguire (c), Shaw; Fred, Van de Beek; Sancho, Bruno Fernandes, Pogba; Ronaldo.
Subs: Heaton, Kovar, Bailly, Dalot, Varane, Mata, Matic, Lingard, Elanga, Greenwood, Martial.
The Manchester United team is in! Ronaldo starts in what looks like a 4-2-3-1, with Donny Van de Beek getting a shot in midfield – that will likely mean that Paul Pogba moves to the left, alongside Fernandes and Sancho. Victor Lindelöf starts in central defence, with Raphaël Varane on the bench. Team news for the hosts to follow ...
Cristiano Ronaldo’s last Champions League appearance for Manchester United may still haunt him to this day. It was the 2009 final, when Lionel Messi and Barcelona wrestled the trophy away, completing the tiki-taka takeover and clearing the path for his inevitable exit to Real Madrid. Ronaldo won four European Cups in Spain, but his interminable battle with Messi for individual supremacy goes on.
Ronaldo starts tonight and moves level with Iker Casillas as the Champions League’s top appearance-maker, another individual bauble successfully pocketed. United lost another final to Barça in 2011, but haven’t been past the quarter-finals since. With Ronaldo back and their squad reinforced, this is a rare season where a run to the latter stages feels like a realistic target.
The long road to St Petersburg starts here against Young Boys, the Group F outsiders who won the Swiss league by 31 points last season. They also lost manager Gerardo Seoane to Leverkusen, replaced by a familiar face to English audiences in David Wagner. The former Huddersfield manager has form when it comes to upsetting United, who have not always enjoyed their trips to Switzerland.
Ronaldo’s time at Juventus was judged on their Champions League failings, so his return to Old Trafford automatically raises the bar – now United must avoid clattering into it. With the always dangerous Atalanta and Europa League conquerors Villarreal also in the group, United will be keen to make a strident start. Kick-off at the Wankdorf Stadium (no giggling at the back) is at 6.45pm local, 5.45pm BST.