A brilliant injury-time equaliser from Cristiano Ronaldo, to go with his brilliant first-half equaliser earned a very poor Manchester United a 2-2 draw with Atalanta. They now top Group F and need three points from two games to reach the knockout stages, but the euphoria of the moment will not obscure the poverty of the performance.
United shaded the early stages during which Scott McTominay had a shot deflected onto the post, but Atalanta gradually asserted themselves ands on 12 minutes took the lead, Josep Ilicic’s shot squirming under David de Gea - who really ought to have kept it out. United were rotten thereafter, but when Raphael Varane went off injured, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer replaced him with Mason Greenwood, and in first-half injury time, he combined with Bruno Fernandes to craft a tremendous equaliser for Ronaldo,
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The second half was fairly even, both teams trying to force things but struggling to find requisite quality, so when the breakthrough came, it was no surprise that it came in strange circumstances. On 56 minutes, José Luis Palomino clipped over the top, and as the United back five dithered, Zapata raced on to score only for the flag to go up for offside ... but after two long minutes, what looked a clearly incorrect decision was eventually reversed.
Though United tried hard to find the equaliser, they looked more likely to concede than to score until Ronaldo intervened yet again - but the reality remains: they cannot go on like this.

TALKING POINT

After an improved performance at Tottenham, Manchester United were back to their nauseating worst, carelessly frittering another opportunity to play well then saving themselves with two moments of inspiration. It should be enough to see them into the knockout stages of the Champions League, but they still have big issues that they don't look likely to address under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
At their best, United are good enough to beat anyone, but their modal level is far too low for a team of such talent. This is partly because whatever organisational work they do in training isn't translating onto the pitch, but also because the players aren't taking responsibility tor doing the basics properly.
United have been like this since the very start of Solskjaer's stewardship, so there's no reason to think that's going to change now, which is whyh a change in management still feels inevitable,

MAN OF THE MATCH

Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United) Two brilliant goals, again, the second of them coming when pressure was at its greatest.

PLAYER RATINGS

Atalanta: Musso 6, De Roon 7, Demiral 6, Palomino 7, Zappacosta 6, Freuler 6, Koopmeiners 6, Maehle 7, Ilicic 7, Zapata 8. Subs: Djimsiti 6, Muriel 6.
Manchester United: De Gea 4, Wan-Bissaka 6, Maguire 5, Varane 6, Bailly 8, Shaw 5, McTominay 6, Pogba 4, Fernandes 7, Rashford 5, Ronaldo 8. Subs: Greenwood 7, Cavani 6, Matic 6, Sancho 7, Van de Beek 7.

KEY STAT

At 36 years and 270 days, Cristiano Ronaldo is the oldest player to score 2+ goals in a single game for Manchester United in European competition.

KEY MOMENTS

5’ - Shaw reads a loose pass from Koopmeiners and steals possession, driving forward and finding Rashford, who dips inside his man but can't quite find a shooting lane, seeing his effort blocked. Pogba then picks up the ball, finding McTominay, whose shot is deflected ... and it wrongfoots Musso ... but trickles into the post and Atalanta clear!

12’ - GOAL! Atalanta 1-0 Man United (Ilicic) A deflection off McTominay takes a poor pass into the path of Zapata, who's away from Wan-Bissaka. He slides a cut-back to the edge, which Ilicic sweeps goalwards through the legs of Shaw, and though perhaps De Gea was unsighted, he's no business letting that squirm through him and in. He's been great so far this season, but that was very poor. .

45+1’ - GOAL! Atalanta 1-1 Manchester United (Ronaldo) Bruno snaps into Ronaldo across the face off the box, he touches off to Greenwood who finds Bruno, now inside the box, and a gorgeous backheel arrives into the path of Ronaldo and you know the rest: touch, look, bang. United in a nutshell there - capable of such nonsense but also such beauty.

56’ - Palomino clips over the top and Zapata is in down the left of the United box! Maguire can't get across in time and the finish is true, but the flag goes up for offside. United didn't defend that well at all - it was tight, and they're checking. For what it's worth, it looked on for me...

58’ - GOAL! Atalanta 2-1 Manchester United (Zapata) Drama! A ball over the top from Palomino, Maguire sleeping then appealing, and Zapata gets away from him, steadies - because De Gea stays on his line - and sweeps a scoop inside the near post! I don't think I've ever seen a call take that long, but here we are!

90+2’ - OH MY ABSOLUTE DAYS! GOAL! Atalanta 2-2 Manchester United (Ronaldo) Ronaldo battles his way across the face of the box, trying to make something happen, and when the ball bounces up, Greenwood pokes it on, and from 20 yards, he volleys into the ground and into the far corner! That's an expert's finish; how is he still astounding us?
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