Manchester United 3, Atalanta 2 (UEFA Champions League)
Cristiano Ronaldo scored the winner as Manchester United overcame a 2-0 deficit at Old Trafford to beat Atalanta 3-2 in a classic game.
If Manchester United are to win anything this season it will have to be with the support of the fans and they sang for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer before, during, and after an epic game against Atalanta.
And things looked bleak at the end of the first half in which Mario Pasalic and Merih Demiral scored for the Italians.
Atalanta lost Demiral to injury at half time and the tide turned the Reds’ way as United, with the full backing of a deafening Old Trafford, came back to win it through goals by Marcus Rashford, Harry Maguire, and – inevitably – a classic Cristiano Ronaldo header.
Jadon Sancho, Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic were dropped to the bench for the game against Atalanta after United lost at Leicester City.
They were replaced by Rashford, Scott McTominay, and Fred as United looked to get back to winning ways ahead of Sunday’s visit of Liverpool but things never did look like going to plan until United got their act together in the second half of this seesaw contest.
They will have to be a lot better than this on Sunday but the fans still – on the whole – back the manager.
PLAYER RATINGS – Manchester United 3, Atalanta 2 (UEFA Champions League)
David De Gea: 6. Could have done better with the first half goals but made two great saves from Duvan Zapata and Ruslan Malinovskyi to keep United in the game shortly before Harry Maguire levelled the scores.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka: 6. Little end product when he went forward.
Victor Lindelof: 6. Left exposed but also out of position for the goals.
Harry Maguire: 7. Abysmal defending early on, lost Mario Pasalic and Merih Demiral for their goals. Was he fit? Soldiered on and had a second half header saved by Juan Musso before he rammed home the equaliser from Bruno’s cross after Edinson Cavani ducked under it. Looked very tired by the end.
Luke Shaw: 7. First Atalanta goal came from his flank. Frustrated but provided the assist for Ronaldo to put United 3-2 up and kept battling.
Scott McTominay: 6. Left isolated in a deeper role but managed to hit the woodwork with a volley from Mason Greenwood’s cross after the break.
Fred: 6. Had a shot saved by Juan Musso and shot wide as he tried to be more expansive.
Mason Greenwood: 6. Little impact though he did some good through goals and passes before he was withdrawn.
Bruno Fernandes: 8. Below his best but still managed to thread some killer balls forward in the end, and he built the United comeback with assists for Marcus Rashford and Harry Maguire.
Marcus Rashford: 7. Offside when Scott McTominay sent him through for a shot that he screwed wide, also hit the crossbar just before halftime after staying onside – he had great pace but saw too much of the offside flag until he finally managed a goal back.
Cristiano Ronaldo: 7. Drifted around early on to little effect and shot straight at Juan Musso with just the keeper to beat and his free kick shortly afterwards bounced wide. Should have scored in the second half but in United’s hour of need he dominated the narrative again with a trademark header.
Edinson Cavani (on for Marcus Rashford, 66): 6. Worked harder than most of the United players during his time on the pitch.
Paul Pogba (on for Scott McTominay, 66): 6. Added something else for the Italians to watch out for.
Jadon Sancho (on for Mason Greenwood 73): 6. Not much of an attacking outlet on the right.
GOALS – Manchester United 3, Atalanta 2 (UEFA Champions League)
Man Utd 0, Atalanta 1: 15. Davide Zappacosta’s cross found Mario Pasalic from the edge of the six yard box with Scott McTominay trailing behind him as United’s defence went to sleep.
Man Utd 0, Atalanta 2: 28. Teun Koopmeiners’ corner was headed in easily by Merih Demiral beyond some weak United defending.
Man Utd 1, Atalanta 2: 53. Marcus Rashford pulled a goal back from wide on the left after a great ball from Bruno Fernandes.
Man Utd 2, Atalanta 2: 75. Harry Maguire lashed the ball home after finding himself unmarked and on the end of a ball across the box from Bruno Fernandes which Edinson Cavani ducked under.
Man Utd 3, Atalanta 2: 81. Cristiano Ronaldo rose highest to score a trademark header after getting on the end of a Luke Shaw cross after Atalanta failed to clear a United attack.
MATCH STATS – Manchester United 3, Atalanta 2 (UEFA Champions League)
Man Utd: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, McTominay (Pogba 66), Fred (Matic 88), Greenwood, Fernandes, Rashford (Cavani 66), Ronaldo
Man Utd subs not used: Henderson, Bailly, Mata, Lingard, Dalot, Sancho, Telles, van de Beek, Elanga
Bookings: Shaw 64 (foul on Davide Zappacosta)l; Nemanja Matic 90+3 timewasting; Cavani 90+4 (foul on Ruslan Malinovskyi)
Goals: Rashford 53; Maguire 75; Ronaldo 81
Atalanta: Musso, De Roon, Demiral, Palomino, Koopmeiners (Pezzella 80), Freuler, Zappacosta, Pasalic (Malinovskyi 68), Maehle, Ilicic (Miranchuk 68), Muriel (Zapata 56)
Atalanta Subs not used: Rossi, Sportiello,, Scalvini, Mirancuk, Lovato, Zapata, Piccoli
Booked: Lovato 55 (foul on Ronaldo), Pasalic 57 (foul on Scott McTominay), De Roon 57 (foul on Luke Shaw); Palomino 80 (foul on Bruno Fernandes)
Goals: Pasalic 15, Demiral 28
Referee: Szymon Marciniak