UEFA Europa League 2019-2020: Astana 2-1 Manchester United - 3 talking points
Manchester United travelled to Kazakhstan to face the team which was languishing at the bottom of the Europa League table, Astana. After qualifying for the next round, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer decided to field a team full of United academy graduates.
Kazakhstan champions FC Astana came back from a deficit at half-time to win the game 2-1 in front of their home crowd and give them a moment that they will cherish forever.
Jesse Lingard was given the captain's armband. Mason Greenwood, Tahith Chong and Angel Gomes all started the game. Lee Grant also got his opportunity to start his first game in Manchester United shirt.
Lingard broke the deadlock by scoring in the 10th minute of the game. Dmitriy Shomka scored the equalizer, and Di'Shon Bernard netted an unlucky own goal to hand Red Devils the first defeat of their Europa League campaign this year.
Here are the three talking points from Manchester United's 2-1 loss against FC Astana in the Europa League.
#3 A day for Jesse Lingard to remember
Lingard was finally able to register his name on the scoresheet after firing home last night. With the help of a slight deflection, his strike was able to beat Astana's goalkeeper, whose fully stretched dive went into vain.
It was the perfect day for Lingard to score a goal - fulfilling his childhood dream of leading the Reds, even though he and his teammates weren't able to capitalize on their headstart. He led his team from the front in the first half.
Like always, Lingard was full of energy and enthusiasm, trying to cover every inch of the pitch and pressing high to build pressure on the opposition. But as United entered into the second half, he, along with the team, started to fade which ultimately cost them the game.
With Andreas Periera failing to seal the attacking midfield spot, can Lingard start against Aston Villa and prove the world that he is worthy of that role?
#2 Tahith Chong's miss - The main reason for Reds defeat?
This was the turning point of the game. Luke Shaw did brilliantly to get past Rukavina before squaring the ball for Jesse Lingard and Tahith Chong.
The power behind the pass was too much for Lingard to touch the ball, but this wasn't the case for Chong. The goalkeeper was already on the floor, covering the area where Shaw can go for a strike directly.
Instead, the England international went for a better option, which was to pass, only to see Chong's attempt flying over the empty net. This horrific miss changed the tides of the game.
Not even a minute had passed, Astana was able to score an equalizer with the aid of Dmitriy. After seven further minutes, Di'Shon Bernard, who was playing his first senior game for Manchester United, added an unlucky goal to his name.
After going 1-0 up and having more than 65.5% of ball possession, Manchester United should have closed the game early and sealed the top spot of the group but they failed to do so. Even though they fired 20 shots, only one-fourth of their shots were on target. Chong, Greenwood had zero dribbles, whereas Angel Gomes had only one. United had 14 crosses, out of which only four were successful.
All this brings up that Nicky Butt still has a big job to do with these young lads. These youngsters are full of passion, but they have to improve their technical skills and have to get physically stronger. Wingers should add more creativity to their games and should be more daring to make incisive passes.