United are unable to break through.

Manchester United 0 Atletico Madrid 1

Tuesday 15 March 2022 22:15

Manchester United’s Champions League adventure came to an end at Old Trafford as Atletico Madrid snatched a 1-0 victory.

The stakes were high with a place in the last eight on offer following the 1-1 draw in Madrid three weeks ago.

But what appeared to be advantage Ralf Rangnick’s side from the first leg was overturned by Diego Simeone’s Atletico with a 41st minute goal from Renan Lodi ultimately being the winner on a disappointing night for the Reds.


Cristiano Ronaldo is thwarted by Jan Oblak in Atletico's goal.


Old Trafford was throbbing and it galvanised United as we dominated the chances at the start of this pulsating tie. The match was only three minutes old when Anthony Elanga got his head to a Diogo Dalot cross and sent an opportunity just over. He clashed with keeper Jan Oblak in the aerial duel and was harshly penalised for the challenge.

But it set the tone for the Reds and it was the Swede who came close again after 13 minutes when Bruno Fernandes's low cross to the near post was clipped by Elanga and his shot hit the face of Oblak, and then the woodwork and the chance passed.

There was a reminder, three minutes later, that the Spaniards might be happy to defend but they certainly know how to counter-attack. A shot from Rodrigo De Paul from long range needed a firm glove from David De Gea to keep the effort out of the top right-hand corner in front of the Stretford End.

Fernandes and Jose Maria Gimenez had an aerial tangle of legs after 21 minutes and certainly the Reds fans in the East Stand and the lower half of the Sir Bobby Charlton stand in the corner thought the Portuguese midfielder had claims for a penalty.

No award was given and the game settled down briefly from its frantic opening before Atletico had the ball in the net after 33 minutes when a sweeping move ended with Joao Felix side-footing home. The roars of the Spanish travelling fans died in their throats as the goal was ruled offside.

Four minutes before half-time, though, the visitors did go ahead.

The goal was shrouded in controversy. United were furious that referee Slavko Vincic didn’t blow for what looked a foul on Elanga by Gimenez in a Reds attack. The Slovenian official looked like he was ready to blow his whistle but then played on and, seconds later,  in the breakaway, Lodi headed home unmarked at the far post.

Fernandes had a swerving low shot saved just before the interval but United couldn't find an equaliser before the break.


United almost got off to the perfect start to the second half. Elanga, our scorer in Madrid, latched onto a clever Fernandes backheel and stormed past his marker and drove a low shot that just beat the far post. Close but not close enough to relight the Reds.

The frustration for United and let-off for the Spaniards allowed Atletico to prove they are one of the European masters of disrupting opposition tempo with keep-ball and taking their time over every set-piece.

It took the sting out of United’s hopes of an early second-half reply but a Dalot cross deep from the right was met superbly by a Jadon Sancho volley, which skimmed the bar after 59 minutes. Had it dipped enough, the goal would have been cancelled out for offside.

Nonetheless, it fuelled belief in the Old Trafford crowd. Atletico, however, came close after 63 minutes when a Gimenez header flew just over from De Paul’s corner.

With a triple substitution waiting on the sidelines, a Fernandes free-kick just missed contact by both Ronaldo and Harry Maguire. Ralf Rangnick then made his changes with Marcus Rashford, Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba entering the action for Elanga, Scott McTominay and Fernandes.

United had to be so careful as Atletico were dangerous on the counter-attack and, soon after the switches, Joao Felix cheekily attempted to chip De Gea. Rangnick threw on all his attacking aces when Edison Cavani replaced Fred after 75 minutes but it was defender Raphael Varane who had a chance to level two minutes later when he headed an Alex Telles free-kick into the arms of keeper Oblak.

Dalot also had a go after 80 minutes when he fired off target from long range.

It was all or nothing now and Rangnick took Maguire off to send Juan Mata into the fray. As the clocked ticked down, the frustration grew both on and off the pitch with our technical director and former player Darren Fletcher being yellow carded.

Hopes of another famous late dramatic goal to take the match into extra-time failed, even though De Gea was sent up with seconds to go to attempt to cause chaos and confusion as a final corner was slung over, but straight into Oblak's grateful clutches.

However, there was no late drama, only disappointment, and United were sadly KO'd.


Flying Ronaldo attempts to level for United in the second half.


United: De Gea, Dalot, Varane, Maguire (c) (Mata 84), Telles, Fred (Fred 75), McTominay (Matic 67), Fernandes (Pogba 67), Elanga (Rashford 67), Ronaldo, Sancho.

Subs not used: Henderson, Heaton, Bailly, Jones, Lindelof, Wan-Bissaka, Lingard.

Bookings: Matic, Dalot.

Atletico Madrid: Oblak, Gimenez, De Paul, Koke (c) (Kondogbia 80), Joao Felix (Felipe 89), Griezmann (Correa 93), Renan Lodi, Llorente, Savic, Herrera, Reinildo.

Subs not used: Lecomte, Christian, Suárez, Felipe, Hermoso, Serrano, Moreno, Martín, González, Cámara

Goal: Renan Lodi (41)

Bookings: De Paul, Herrera.