Atletico Madrid 1-1 Man Utd: Match review

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Atletico Madrid were stung by a late Anthony Elanga goal as Manchester United made a 1-1 draw in the Spanish capital on Wednesday night, in the opening leg of the Champions League last 16.The reigning Spanish champions have let their crown slip this season but began the tie with a feverish intensity. Pressing their soporific hosts from the off, Atletico won their second corner in seven minutes from this proactive technique.

Manchester United could only half-clear the set piece which dropped to Renan Lodi. Belting the ball back into the box, Joao Felix snuck between Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane, tossing his head towards the vicious cross which he diverted past a dumbstruck David de Gea.

With a lead to protect, Atletico delivered possession to Manchester United, but allowed them the ball in exclusively and emphatically unthreatening positions. Morphing between a 4-4-2 and 5-3-2 depending upon how far the bumbling blue shirts advanced, Diego Simeone's side kept the Premier League team at arm's length.Choosing their moments when to catch United's painfully inaccurate passing, Atletico confined Ralf Rangnick's visitors into their own half for large swathes, denying them a single shot on target or touch in the opposition box in the very first half.

On the cusp of half-time a familiar set piece routine from Atletico hoodwinked their dopey challengers as Lodi scuttled down the byline. Flinging another cross into the box, his opposite wingback Sime Vrsaljko diverted the ball onto the underside of the crossbar by means of Victor Lindelof's face.United scarcely enhanced after the period but Atletico failed to build on their advantage in a game of few clear cut chances, gradually sinking deeper into their own half.

As the match ticked into its final ten minutes, United struck an equaliser through second half substitute Elanga, leading a clinically taken breakaway with their very first shot on target of the whole match.Antoine Griezmann was rejected through the crossbar in the 86th minute as United managed to - in some way - emerge from the Wanda Metropolitano all square.

 

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