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Player Ratings: Manchester United vs Athletic de Bilbao

MANCHESTER UNITED

Some fine saves from De Gea have kept United in the tie

David De Gea (9): Its not always that a goalkeeper gets a 9 despite letting in 3 goals. Managed to keep out most of the shots as Bilbao amassed 25 goal attempts. Denied Muniain thrice in the second half with full stretch saves. Certainly the 21 year old’s best performance since joining the club.

Rafael da Silva (4.5): Another disappointing performance from the young Brazilian. Failed to notice Muniain on the rebound for Athletico’s third goal. To his credit, managed to last for the entire match.

Chris Smalling (5): The England center back, playing with a headband following an injury in an international friendly against the Netherlands, had a pretty ordinary outing. Failed to mark Llorente for Bilbao’s first goal. Had to be substituted in the 55th minute after his wound opened up.

Jonny Evans (5.5): Looked lost amidst the one-touch passing of Bilbao’s players. His lack of pace was exposed by Susaeta on more than one occasion. Needs an experienced player like Rio Ferdinand to play alongside.

Patrice Evra (5): The United skipper found it difficult to contain Susaeta and Iraola. Provided able support while attacking.

Ashley Young (5): Failed to recreate the magic of his recent performances. Looked completely out of sorts and failed to provide the ball into the box. Gave away possession too.

Phil Jones (5.5): A horrific performance in the midfield during the first half from the 20 year old. Looked assured while playing in defence in the second half. Made a couple of his usual mazy runs forward.

Ryan Giggs (6.5): Probably the best outfield United player. Troubled the Bilbao fullbacks with his usual trickery. Played an important part in the build up of United’s opener.

Ji Sung Park (4.5): Offered little in attack and gave away possession way too cheaply for United’s liking.

Wayne Rooney (7): Was everywhere on the pitch. Scored the first and last goal of the match with a striker’s finish. Was left frustrated by the incompetence of teammates. Defended well in his own half and on set pieces.

Javier Hernandez (6): Ran his heart out on the pitch as usual. Couldn’t keep hold of the ball on a couple of chances when he could have been through on goal.

SUBS:
Michael Carrick (6.5): No wonder the England midfielder has been praised time and again by the United gaffer. Made an immediate impact after coming on for Smalling in the 55th minute and carried on the dirty work of shielding the defenders.

Anderson (5): Looked rusty. Failed to contain De Marcos as the Spanish U23 international’s shot landed for Muniain on the rebound.

Nani (5): Came on for Ryan Giggs in the 75th minute when United were desperately in need of a goal. Didn’t get enough time to leave a mark on the game as the Portuguese was caught out of possession on several occasions.

Bilbao players celebrating Llorente's goal

ATHLETIC de BILBAO

Gorka Iraizoz (6): Wasn’t as busy as his Manchester United counterpart but managed to remain alert for the entire 90 minutes. Was unlucky for United’s opener from the rebound after managing to keep out Chicharito’s attempt.

Jon Aurtenetxe (6): Looked comfortable on the ball. Made a couple of important interceptions. The 20 year old looked mature enough to play at Old Trafford.

Mikel San Jose (6): Managed to keep hold of Chicharito. The 22 year old sent in a couple of crunching tackles to keep his side ahead.

Andoni Iraola (8): The 29 year old fullback played in the opposition half for almost the entire duration. Had a couple of attempts on goal saved by De Gea.

Ander Iturraspe (6.5): Was a rock in the midfield. Attacked and defended in equal measure.

Ander (7.5): Continuously kept supplying long passes to his front players. Provided the chip over United players for de Marcos’ goal.

Javi Martinez (7): Heavily linked with a summer move to the premier league, Martinez proved his talent by a composed performance. Controlled the midfield by some fine passing and defensive display.

Markel Susaeta (7): Troubled Evans for most of the match with his pace. Provided an assist for Bilbao’s opener with a killer cross into the box.

Iker Muniain (9): The highly regarded 19 year old started on the left and proved to be a nightmare for the United defenders with his skill and trickery. Was spectacularly denied by De Gea in the second-half, before reacting quicker than anyone to score his side’s third.

Oscar De Marcos (7.5): Scored the second goal for his team with a wonderful left-footed volley into the bottom corner of the net. Handed the ball in the dying stages of the match to allow United a penalty.

Fernando Llorente (7.5): Opened the scoring for the visitors with a precise header. Looked lively with his link up play before being substituted in the latter stages of the match.

SUBS:

Gaizka Toquero: Came on in the 83rd minute and still managed to force a spectacular save out of David De Gea with a thunderous strike on goal.

Inigo Perez: Came on minutes before full time and had little to do.

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