Match report: Young Boys 2 United 1
Cristiano Ronaldo scored for the third time in two games but Manchester United were beaten 2-1 by Young Boys in Bern after Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s sending off.
Our no.7 was on hand to convert Bruno Fernandes’s clever pass with 13 minutes gone, but the game turned when Wan-Bissaka was dismissed for a foul on Young Boys’ Christopher Martins, just after the half-hour mark.
The home side dominated for large parts after that, going close through Christian Fassnacht, before Moumi Ngamaleu equalised with 24 minutes left on the clock.
Young Boys pushed hard for a winner late on, but it seemed like the Reds, inspired by David De Gea and Raphael Varane, would cling on to earn a point in Group F.
But Jordan Siebatcheu popped up with virtually the last kick of the game, taking advantage of a mistake to give the Swiss side victory.
FIRST HALF - RONALDO ON THE MARK AGAIN
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made three changes to the side which overpowered Newcastle at the weekend, with Victor Lindelof, Fred and Donny van de Beek coming in to replace Varane, Nemanja Matic and Mason Greenwood.
Ronaldo retained his place in the starting line-up and in doing so equalled the competition appearance record of 177, set by Iker Casillas three seasons ago.
Much of the talk prior to the game surrounded the artificial surface at Wankdorf Stadium and it did take the Reds a little time to get used to it. Meschak Elia was allowed to race through in the opening stages, although the Congolese forward fired past De Gea’s far post.
Elia was proving a tricky customer for the home side with his pace, shimmying inside on 12 minutes and firing the ball across the United goal; thankfully no yellow-and-black shirt was there to capitalise.
Moments later, the Swiss champions were made to rue not making the most of their early promise, as Ronaldo scored his first Champions League goal for United since the semi-final double at Arsenal in May 2009.
The Portuguese star latched on to compatriot Fernandes’s sumptuous outside-of-the-foot pass, and his first-time shot was too hard for Young Boys goalkeeper David von Ballmoos to handle, the ball squirming through his legs and over the line.
Astonishingly, that was Ronaldo’s 135th goal in the Champions League and our no.7 almost upped that tally on 25 minutes. De Gea had palmed away Christian Fassnacht’s long-distance sighter and from that United launched a breakaway as once again Fernandes played Ronaldo in to shoot, only for von Ballmoos to offer a strong hand and deflect the ball behind.
Then came the major talking point of the half, as Wan-Bissaka was shown a straight red card by referee Francois Letexier. The right-back arrived late on Young Boys’ Martins and the French official showed no hesitation in dismissing our no.29 for only the second sending off of his professional career.
With United now looking at 55 minutes-plus with 10 men, Diogo Dalot was introduced in place of Jadon Sancho to shore up the defence, but the home side almost equalised straightaway, with Fassnacht arriving unmarked at the back post.
Luckily, the Swiss international’s radar was off and Solskjaer was able to get his side in a goal up at the break, ahead of the prospect of a tricky second half.
SECOND HALF - HOSTS WIN IT LATE ON
Varane was introduced from the bench for van de Beek during the interval, as United switched to five at the back in a bid to temper the home side’s comeback effort.
The Frenchman was on hand to head away several early crosses from the Swiss side, as a pattern of attack versus defence looked to be set.
Ronaldo was left up front as the breakaway option and the 36-year-old believed he had a case for a penalty on 54 minutes when he raced clear and was challenged by Mohamed Ali Camara, but Letexier was unmoved.
United were aiming to take the sting out of the game, as the home crowd grew increasingly frustrated that their side couldn’t make the man advantage count.
But Ngamaleu stuck out a toe on 66 minutes to divert a deflected cross beyond De Gea and suddenly Wankdorf Stadium exploded into life, sensing a real shock.
Ronaldo and Fernandes were sacrificed as Solskjaer introduced the fresh Nemanja Matic and Jesse Lingard, the latter asked to plough a lone furrow up front and help United get out.
Varane was once again forced to intervene to prevent half-time substitute Siebatcheu from converting a corner while, at the other end, Lindelof couldn’t quite get a shot away when the ball dropped to him from a rare foray forward.
As the pressure cranked up in the closing stages, Ngamaleu struck one wide, before De Gea was forced to stretch to turn Sandro Lauper's rasping drive over the crossbar.
Then, in the last minute of added time, Siebatcheau reacted quickest to Lingard's misplaced backpass and slotted home to cause euphoria in the Swiss capital.
United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire (c), Shaw; Fred (Martial 89), van de Beek (Varane 46); Sancho (Dalot 37), Fernandes (Matic 72), Pogba; Ronaldo (Lingard 72).
Subs not used: Heaton, Kovar, Bailly, Mata, Greenwood, Elanga.
Goal: Ronaldo 13
Sent off: Wan-Bissaka.
Young Boys: von Ballmoos (c); Hefti (Sulejmani 83), Camara, Lauper (Zesiger 90), Garcia; Sierro (Siebatcheu 46), Martins (Rieder 82); Fassnacht, Aebischer, Ngamaleu; Elia (Kanga 90).
Subs not used: Zbinden, Faivre, Spielmann, Jankewitz, Burgy, Mambimbi, Maceiras.
Goals: Ngamaleu 66, Siebatcheu 90+5.
Booked: Fassnacht, Martins.