Young Boys won their 2021/22 UEFA Champions League Group F opener 2-1 against English giants Manchester United to open their European campaign with a deserved three points.
Manchester United flew out of the blocks against their Swiss opponents, Young Boys, at the Stade de Suisse Wankdorf. It took only 16 minutes for the away side to open the scoring through the competition’s record goal scorer Cristiano Ronaldo.
Manchester United’s Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes played an exquisite pass with the outside of his foot to find the back post run of Ronaldo, whose first time finish squirmed in through the legs of Young Boys goalkeeper David von Ballmoos. The Portuguese superstar continued his fine start to his return to Manchester United by adding his 135th Champions League goal to the brace he scored on his debut at the weekend.
Manchester United struggled to break down a disciplined Young Boys setup and dug themselves into a hole when right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka was sent off ten minutes before halftime. The Englishman received his marching orders when he ended up planting his studs into the ankle of Young Boys midfielder Christopher Martins in a bid to regain possession after a heavy touch took the ball away from him. The Red Devils managed to keep their advantage intact and went into the break still in possession of a 1-0 lead.
The second half started with Young Boys asking all the questions as 10-man Manchester United struggled to keep up. The home side finally breached the defence of the Red Devils six minutes past the hour. Meschack Elia put in a low cross that was turned in at the near post by Nicolas Ngamaleu to send the crowd into raptures.
The Swiss side continued to dominate the match as they forced their more illustrious opponents to retreat further and further away. Ngamaleu came close to a second after some good hold up play by Jordan Siebatcheu, but the forward slashed wildly at the shot and missed the target. Central defender Sandro Lauper also tested Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea with a dipping strike from 25 yards that the Spaniard had to tip over his crossbar in the 88th minute.
The game looked set to end in a deadlock before a momentary lapse in concentration saw Jesse Lingard gift all three points to Young Boys. The home side continued to press high in search of a winner in added time. In a bid to ease the pressure on his side, Lingard under-hit a pass towards his goalkeeper in the last minute of added time, allowing American striker Siebatcheu to pounce on the ball and slot home beyond De Gea, sparking wild celebrations from the home side and its fans.
The result against Young Boys means that Manchester United have now won only four of their 11 UEFA Champions League matches under Ole Gunnar Solksjaer and already find themselves behind after only one round of matches in their group.
In the group’s other game, Atalanta were held by 10-man Europa League champions, Villarreal, to a 2-2 draw. The Italian outfit took the lead through Remo Freuler before Manuel Trigueros equalised. Dutch winger Arnaut Danjuma gave the Yellow Submarines the lead before Robin Gosens equalised for Atalanta late on.