Bayern Munich 4 Manchester United 3
Manchester United left the Allianz Arena empty-handed after a 4-3 defeat to Bayern Munich in our UEFA Champions League opener.
Erik ten Hag's side will feel the Group A encounter got away from us, as seven goals were scored in Bavaria, including three in a frantic finale.
Leroy Sane's shot evaded Andre Onana's grasp to make the breakthrough and, four minutes later, Serge Gnabry doubled the advantage to hand the Bundesliga giants a comfortable 2-0 lead at the interval.
Although Rasmus Hojlund pulled one back with his first goal for the Reds, any hopes of drawing level were quickly extinguished when the VAR advised referee Glenn Nyberg to view his screen for a potential handball by Christian Eriksen, when he could not get out of the way of a Dayot Upamecano header deep beyond the far post.
That decision was even harder to take when Casemiro struck to make it 3-2, only for Mathys Tel to restore Bayern's two-goal cushion in stoppage time. With seconds remaining, United's no.18 netted again to leave everybody wondering what could have been with the final score at 4-3.
FIRST HALF - A GOOD START UNDONE
As was the case on Saturday against Brighton & Hove Albion, United started brightly and should have scored inside the opening few minutes. Eriksen found space to play the ball through Upamecano's legs across to Facundo Pellistri, only for Alphonso Davies to make a goal-saving challenge. There was a great follow-up chance for Eriksen, as the ball broke to him, but Sven Ulreich made a crucial save.
As the game settled down, Marcus Rashford did well to cut inside Konrad Laimer but his driven ball towards goal was comfortably saved by Ulreich. At the other end, Lisandro Martinez had to make a timely challenge to thwart Gnabry after possession was surrendered inside the Bayern half.
Former Manchester City man Sane did get enough time to strike from the edge of the box, following a one-two with Harry Kane, and his shot crept out of Onana's grasp and opened the scoring in the 28th minute. Soon afterwards, Jamal Musiala burst through and made the most of a fortunate bounce off Diogo Dalot to tee up an unmarked Gnabry to double the lead and leave the Reds with a mountain to climb.
United responded with the best move of the half, only for Sergio Reguilon's centre to evade everybody, with Pellistri closest to being on hand to finish. Hojlund then headed well off target but Sane went as close as you can get when bending a tremendous drive inches wide of Onana's far post.
SECOND HALF - VAR CALL STUNS UNITED
Ten Hag's men clawed a goal back four minutes after the break to briefly raise the hopes of the travelling supporters. Rashford's instant pass fed Hojlund and his effort took a deflection off Kim Min-jae and rolled past Ulreich to spark passionate celebrations from the Danish centre-forward.
Instead of being a launchpad for the Reds, within seconds, Bayern had a three-on-two attack that resulted in Musiala's shot deflecting off Dalot and flying just wide. From the corner, Upamecano's header struck Eriksen's hand and, after a lengthy VAR review, the officials decided it was worthy of a penalty. Kane was unconcerned with any controversy as he buried the spot-kick beyond Onana's right hand.
Sane was denied by the base of a post after being released by Musiala in the 55th minute as the German champions threatened to run away with it, while Onana kept out a Kane attempt after the dangerous Musiala sped past Casemiro in midfield to create the opportunity.
Onana batted away a strange shot by Sane that moved in the air and produced the save of the night to push away a piledriver by substitute Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting. The Cameroon international also denied another sub, Kingsley Coman, as Bayern kept hunting a fourth goal. Choupo-Moting was next to test Onana again but some life was breathed into United with a couple of minutes to go.
A sustained attack involved Bruno Fernandes and Rashford before substitute Anthony Martial nudged it towards Casemiro. Although he was on the deck after being crowded out by Bayern defenders, the Brazil international cleverly hooked home to reduce the arrears.
However, we again conceded soon after finding the net ourselves, as Thomas Muller hit a post and the danger was not cleared, with impressive youngster Tel lofting high into the net when left unmarked to pick up a Joshua Kimmich through ball. Remarkably, there was still time for Fernandes's free-kick to be nodded in by Casemiro during a crazy conclusion to the tough assignment in Munich.
With Galatasaray coming from behind to draw 2-2 with FC Copenhagen, Group A is certainly off to a dramatic start.
Bayern Munich: Ulreich; Laimer, Upamecano, Kim, Davies; Kimmich (c), Goretzka; Sane (Tel 87), Musiala (Choupo-Moting 76), Gnabry (Coman 63); Kane (Muller 87).
Subs not used: Peretz, Schmitt, De Ligt, Mazraoui, Sarr, Kratzig.
Scorers: Sane 28, Gnabry 32, Kane 54 (pen), Tel 90+2.
United: Onana; Dalot, Lindelof, Martinez, Reguilon; Casemiro, Eriksen (McTominay 69); Pellistri (Garnacho 81), Fernandes (c), Rashford, Hojlund (Martial 81).
Subs not used: Bayindir, Heaton, Vitek, Evans, Gore, Hannibal, Forson.
Scorers: Hojlund 49, Casemiro 88, 90+6.