Bruno Fernandes.

Manchester United 1 AC Milan 1

Manchester United suffered Europa League first-leg stoppage-time agony at Old Trafford as AC Milan struck a late equaliser to cancel out Amad's first Reds first-team goal.

United looked set to head to the San Siro next Thursday night for the second leg of this last-16 tie with a narrow lead, thanks to Amad's 50th-minute goal. The 18-year-old came on for Anthony Martial at half-time and, after only five minutes on the pitch, the Ivorian made the breakthrough.

But just as it looked like we'd be heading to Italy with a precious lead, Simon Kjaer headed home the equaliser with seconds to go.

The visitors were injury hit, including our own one-time key man Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but they proved a stubborn and often adventurous side to overcome, causing the Reds a few headaches and that painful Kjaer away-goal means there is a tough task ahead in the second leg.

Milan had our own Diogo Dalot, on loan from the Reds, in their starting XI and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made four changes to our side that had memorably beaten Manchester City 2-0 at the Etihad Stadium in the derby last Sunday.

FIRST HALF - MAGUIRE GOES CLOSE BUT NO BREAKTHROUGH

 It was a lively start to the first leg with both United and Milan having chances and the Italians were at the centre of a highly controversial VAR moment.

Milan had the ball in our net after just five minutes when Rafael Leao broke clear to put his shot past Dean Henderson, but the Portuguese was clearly offside and there were no complaints when the goal was chalked off. Anthony Martial carried on his Manchester derby form with a brilliant chest-and-swivel to force a tip-over from goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Then the visitors thought they’d taken the lead after 11 minutes when Franck Kessie controlled a throw-in and then crashed a half-volley past Henderson. There were no protests from the Reds but, a little surprisingly, there was a lengthy VAR goal-check and it was ruled out for handball. The decision seemed harsh but was very welcome as Milan had started well.

United were finding it difficult to get into any kind of rhythm and ex-Manchester City player Brahim Diaz had a good chance but, fortunately, his finish in the box was weak and an easy one for Henderson. Our keeper then had to beat away a shot from Alexis Saelemaekers after half an hour as the Italians continued to be in charge of the match.

How on earth United did not take the lead after 38 minutes was a complete mystery when Harry Maguire met a Bruno Fernandes flick-on at the far post. Our captain was virtually on the Milan goalline as he nudged it onto the woodwork with his shin and the ball spun away. It was an astonishing moment that needed plenty of views of the replays and even those couldn’t explain how the ball had not gone in.

SECOND HALF – AMAD SCORES BUT REDS SUFFER LATE AGONY

Martial had picked up an injury in the first 45 minutes and was replaced at the interval by the boss. It proved an inspired choice of replacement when, five minutes later, Amad opened up his senior United goal account when he put the Reds ahead.

The architect was Bruno Fernandes, as he perfectly picked out the teenage sub’s run behind the Milan defence. It still needed a superb finishing technique by the youngster as he executed an expert back-headed flick to send the ball sailing over Donnarumma.

 Milan were not shaken by United going in front and were back on the front foot as they searched for an equaliser. They almost levelled in the 67th minute as a right-wing cross from Davide Calabria found Rade Krunic charging in ahead of Aaron Wan-Bissaka at the far post and getting in a header that powered wide when a goal seemed certain.

As the rain lashed down, Solskjaer made three changes to his side after 74 minutes bringing on Fred, Brandon Williams and Luke Shaw for Fernandes, Wan-Bissaka and James but we couldn't add to Amad's opener and, in the end, were made to suffer.

In the 92nd minute, Kjaer headed home from a corner, with Henderson getting a touch but unable to keep it out, to level the match up and snatch a key away goal at Old Trafford.

 

 


 

 

 

 

MATCH DETAILS

United: Henderson, Wan-Bissaka (Williams 74), Bailly, Maguire, Telles, McTominay, Matic, James (Shaw 74), Fernandes (Fred 74), Greenwood, Martial (Amad 50|).

Subs not used: Grant, Bishop, Lindelof,  Tuanzebe, Shoretire.

Scorer: Amad (50)

Bookings: McTominay

Milan: Donnarumma, Calabria, Tomori, Kjaer, Dalot, Krunic, Meite, Kessie, Saelmeaekers (Castillejo 69), Leao, Diaz (Tonali 69).

Subs not used: Tatarusanu, A Donnarumma, Kalulu, Tonin, Gabbia. Goals: Bookings: Saelmeaekers

Bookings: Saelmeaekers

Scorer: Kjaer (92)

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