Player Ratings: Manchester United vs CFR Cluj
CFR Cluj scored a historic win at Old Trafford, but failed to make it to the knockout stages of the Champions League. It was a fairly entertaining and open match which could have seen a lot more goals. Here’s how the players fared.
Man of the match – Mario Felgueiras
David De Gea– 6
Didn’t have too much to do on his return to the starting lineup. Pulled off a good reflex save off a Smalling deflection, but could do nothing about the goal.
Phil Jones – 7
Did well going forward in a 4-3-3 formation, to provide width to United’s play. Sent in plenty of crosses, but failed to have a telling effect on the final scoreline.
Chris Smalling – 6.5
Did well to get close to scoring on a couple of occasions from set-piece situations. Was solid in defence, but could have closed down better on the goal, and nearly scored an own goal after a deflection.
Scott Wootton – 6
Seems to lack a sense of awareness on occasion. Was solid in the air, but got caught out a couple of times with timely runs. Put in a good late block to deny Sougou an almost certain goal.
Alexander Buttner – 6.5
For a change, he looked better defending than going forward. Still showed a couple of minor slips in attention, but was not really punished by the opposition.
Tom Cleverley – 6
Provided a sense of urgency and creative spark to United’s play. Unfortunate to have picked up a knock, as United missed the little one-two’s that he plays so well in midfield.
Ryan Giggs – 5.5
Very flat performance from the veteran campaigner. Helped out the defence at times, but failed to contribute much going forward. Also gave away possession on a couple of occasions, uncharacteristically.
Nick Powell – 7
Seems the right type for a future at United with yet another promising performance. Couldn’t make the most of opportunities to score, but got into good positions and showed good movement off the ball as well.
Danny Welbeck – 6.5
More effective in the first half than in the second. Displayed some excellent awareness to catch out the opposition players on a couple of occasions, but needs to do more than that to get into the first team regularly.
Wayne Rooney – 6.5
Playing on the right side of a three pronged attack, he showed his usual willingness to work for the team. Seemed to really miss the understanding that he has developed with van Persie though, as no key passes were successful. Nearly scored with a delicate lob.
Javier Hernandez – 6
Full of running, he caused quite a few problems for the opposition defenders, but was wasteful with a couple of good chances to score. Really needs to get some goals when he starts matches.
Paul Scholes (Cleverley 45′) – 5.5
Had a telling influence in the game, as a poor pass conceded possession and led to the goal. Didn’t have too many good runs in front of him to play his traditional passes, but tried a couple of delicate chips that nearly worked. Couldn’t impress with his long range efforts either.
Federico Macheda (Powell 73′) – 5.5
Showed good positioning skills, but didn’t get much reward for it. Could have had a great chance to score, but the ball was met by Hernandez in front of him.
Darren Fletcher (Giggs 86′)– N/A
Came on at a time when all he needed to do was pass the ball along.
Mario Felgueiras – 8.5
Pulled off some magnificent saves, particularly in the first half from Welbeck, Hernandez, Rooney and more. Was absolutely vital to keeping his team in the game till they could score, and will go down as the best player on a night that Cluj beat the mighty United.
Ivo Pinto –6
Managed to stop United getting down the wide on Cluj’s right side, but let Powell get past him goalside on a couple of occasions. Played the offside trap well along with the rest of the defence.
Marshalled his defence really well to dictate how they dealt with the United attack. Was key to working the offside trap that made Hernandez ineffective.
Felice Piccolo – 6.5
Made several clearances, particularly when Jones sent crosses into the box. Was a good option to have upfront as well when Cluj won set pieces.
Ionut Rada – 6.5
Did a great job of keeping Rooney relatively quiet, but let Jones slip past him a couple of times as a result. Managed to catch United’s full-back out with a couple of forward runs himself.
Rui Pedro – 7
Brought a real sense of purpose to Cluj’s play with an energetic display. Will be disappointed at having had too few opportunities for all his hard work.
Luis Alberto – 7.5
The man who scored a scorcher for the winning goal. Was combative and productive in equal measures, and ensured that his team were always a threat going forward.
Gabriel Muresan - 7
Was key to his team maintaining a clean sheet with several tracking back moves that denied United the space and time they needed. His shooting was off the mark on the night, though.
Camora – 6
Made a lot of runs in front of the United defence, but couldn’t manage to get in behind on any notable occasions. Could have done worse, but definitely could have done better.
Modou Sougou – 7
Was a constant threat when Cluj attacked, and managed to get himself into the box regularly. Needed too much time to take the shot when clear on goal, and allowed Wootton to make the block.
Rafael Bastos – 6.5
Kept the United centre halves tied up well with his direct style of attack. Would have had more to show for his hard work, if not for some good defending from Smalling.
Mattias Aguirregaray (Pedro 71′) – 5.5
Was brought on to try and keep the ball to protect the lead. Did just that, as he knocked the ball around and tried to keep the United attack at bay.
Vasile Maftei (Bastos 78′) – 5.5
Cut a pretty lonely figure as the attacker when Cluj were sitting back and soaking up the little pressure United put. Didn’t give away the ball cheaply though, so well done.
Pantelis Kapetanos (Sougou 90′+2) – N/A
Sent on simply to waste a few precious seconds as United made one final push.