Anyhow, thanks for your company - ta-ra.
- 2nd Half
- Cristiano RonaldoMatic90'
- Cristiano Ronaldo78'
- van de BeekFernandes66'
- 1st Half
- van de Beek41'
Villarreal CF - Manchester United
Follow the Champions League live Football match between Villarreal CF and Manchester United with Eurosport. The match starts at 18:45 on 23 November 2021.
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United are through to the last 16, and that's a very good effort, in the end. That defeat at Young Boys caused them grief, but they were solid and discipline tonight, all the things they've not been this season, and their attackers are good enough to score against anyone.
Full-time: Villarreal 0-2 Manchester United
Mata - remember him - replaces Sancho, who's been good - as he was, relatively speaking, at Watford.
United send on Matic for Ronaldo, who's earned a three-minute sit-down.
90’ - GOAL! Villarreal 0-2 Manchester United (Sancho) Again, Fred wins the ball, this time deep inside his own half, McTominay plays a fine ball into the channel where Ronaldo, out on the left moves it inside to Rashford. He goes on more to Bruno, who feeds Sancho, and what a strike, clattered high inside the near post and in off the bar! That's Sancho's first United goal and one that takes his new club into the knockouts!
United have seen this out really well...
Maybe they should give Carrick the job permanently - this is how this works, right?
Credit where it's due, Carrick has got his tactics right tonight - sort of. He planned, imagine, to keep it tight for an hour, then send on his best players. When he did, the game changed.
Ronaldo preys on weakness, he really does, and he reads Alibiol's weak back-header but can only get half of his foot around the ball, caressing just wide He's quite good, you know.
Villarreal send on Raba and for Estupinan.
GOAL! Villarreal 0-1 Manchester United (Ronaldo) OF COURSE IT'S HIM! Rulli rolls out to Capoue and Fred is onto him, dashing in to steal the ball - look what happens when you try to do stuff - and the challenge puts Ronaldo in! With Rulli way off his line, he instinctively knows to hoist the lob, and it's just an expert's finish! That's six in five Champions League games this season, with at least one in all of them! If United can hold out, they're through!
Excellent from Rashford out on the left, dipping inside Foyth to conjure a crossing angle, but Ronaldo and Fernandes are offside.
Fernandes presses and wins the ball back, allowing Ronaldo to find Rashford, whose low cross is kicked away by Torres. Momentum has shifted...
The substitutions have made a difference. Amazingly, United look better with their best players on the pitch.
Villarreal send on Chukwueze for Pino and Alberto Moreno for Trigueros.
Sancho drags the ball inside and finds Bruno then sets off into the box, where a perfect return-pass finds him! He skips inside his man and he's in! He's going to score his first United goal! But no! His low shot hits Rulli's leg and bounces away! Still, that's the best bit of play we've seen from either team tonight.
This is better from United - they're knocking the ball around and trying to build an attack.
United are pressing now, which might help them create something, but also might allow them to be passed around.
Maguire floats a fine ball over the top for Rashford, whose touch is loose, but the flag then goes up. Still, United at least had someone running in behind, which will give Villarreal something about which to think.
Maguire strides forward but United have to turn back. Still , it's more than they've done in a while and Rashford is quickly into the game, linking with Sancho. He thinks he's earned a corner, but the ref signals for a goalkick.
United send on Fernandes and Rashford for Van de Beek and Martial.
Gomez, who's been excellent, turns up back on the left where he started and crosses ... but Sancho blocks at source. The resultant corner is a poor one, and when the ball cois sent back in, it drifts behind.
United have barely been out of their own half since the break. They are absolutely miserable, and arranging to concede a late goal as they did against Young Boys.
Villarreal wander forward, Gomez playing off Danjuma, before pino lashes high and wide.
Rashford is being shown stuff from the playbook, and Fernandes also looks imminent.
It looks like Rashford will soon be with us - if so, I'd expect Martial to make way.
De Gea still gets beaten too easily at his near post, but his shot-stopping is right back where it used to be.
WHAT A SAVE DE GEA! Capoue into Gomez, whose shot is blocked but shoots across the box to Trigueros, who cracks into the turf ... and the keeper, his view blocked by the arse-showing Maguire, flings himself right to tip away! He's saved United yet again!
And here he is, with the chance to send Telles into space down the left. But the pass is too strong and runs out of play.
A few minutes ago, Matic was warming up, but McTominay seems to have run his twist off.
Estupinan sticks one in behind for Gomez, but Lindelof sees the pass into touch.
Villarreal are in charge here, Capoue prompting, but Maguire climbs all over him to avert imminent danger.
Yes, in 55 minutes of football, United have made the keeper make one save - from Fred's right foot. You've got to laugh.
Sancho has looked United's likeliest attacker and he makes ground down the right then finds Fred, whose right-foot shot is straight at Rulli and the first he's had to save all night.
But here's Martial trying to inject some - please do not adjust your sets - finding Telles, who sticks one in behind for Ronaldo. It's a decent idea, but the ball is too strong.
I've seen dead slugs with more pace than this game.
Parejo lifts a decent ball over the top that Wan-Bissaka reads well, hooking away from Estupinan.
Nice from McTominay, who beats his man and punches a good ball out to Martial. He then lands awkwardly, Martial can't control, and that'sj ust classic Manchester United. He should be ok, though.
Fernandes is warming up. Meantime, Villarreal win a corner that Lindelof clears at the back post.
My internet has vanished, so I'm currently watching on my phone - please forgive me. Truth is, if the second half is owt like the first, it's not going to matter much.
We go again.
Two poor sides playing a poor game, basically. United will be happy with 0-0, but could concede at any time.
Full-time: Villarreal 0-0 Manchester United
Wan-Bissaka tries to dribble out of defence, because that's exactly what he does well. Parejo duly robs him, finds Danjuma, and he tries to go outside Lindelof. But the defender closes down the angle well enough, so the resultant shot flies high and wide.
There'll be one additional minute.
United now have Sancho on the left, Martial through the middle and Ronaldo on theright.
United get the corner away and will be playing for half-time now.
Villarreal are back in the ascendancy, Fred and Parejo competing for a fifty/fifty and taking each other out before Gomez sends McTominay out for a bag of tapas and drags a low shot that Lindelof deflects behind for a corner.
...which Parejo swipes over the wall and over the bar.
Capoue spreads well for Foyth and his cross and the ball ends up down the left, Lindelof doing well to clear. But United can't clear and Van de Beek slides in on Estupinan, winning the ball but with his studs up and he's booked; Villarreal have a free-kick 20 yards out, left of centre...
United now look the likelier scorers, which isn't saying much, but is saying something.
Sancho is coming into this and he again eases forward, sliding a ball in behind for Van de Beek, who can't quite catch up with it.
Lindelof clatters into Danjuma and both stay down so the ref stops the game, but both are fine.
Matic is sent out to warm up, but I went too soon - Fred is back on the pitch.
Eeeeesh, Fred leans one way, then slips - I think his studs get stuck in the turf - and it looks nasty. Meantime, Villarreal counter, then the ref calls on the physio. I'm not sure he'll be able to continue.
United are growing into this and Lindelof drills a gorgeous pass from centre to left - they usually go to Rashford but this one is for Ronaldo, who collects well, eschews the shot when the angle presents itself, then tries a flick that Van de Beek doesn't read.
...to knock a tame effort straight into the wall.
Sancho drives forward and United move the ball left to Martial, who tries to slide Telles in behind. So Pino introduces arm to waist, earning himself a booking that means he misses the Atalanta game, and United have a free-kick 23 yards out, left of centre. Here comes Ronaldo....
United have grown in confidence these last few minutes so they're probably about to concede ... and they nearly do, Telles getting caught yet again as Pino crosses for Danjuma. But Lindelof gets to the ball first, at the top of the bounce, and the chance disappears.
Telles's corner is headed away at the near post but the ball comes back to him, and this time he picks out Ronaldo, who trampolines twice as high as everyone else, but heads straight at Rulli.
First bit of Sancho, taking the ball from Wan-Bissaka and rasping a tremendous cross between keeper and backline that Albiol sticks behind.
A long pass from Rulli - that's a great ball over the top - catches Telles pushing up and Pino's in behind him! He finds a really nice cut-back too, for Trigueros, who's run away from Fred, and he swings a decent low shot, first-time towards the far corner ... but De Gea, who kept United in the first game between the sides, gets a really good hand on it, not only saving but making sure there's no rebound for Danjuma.
Yeah, this is a little better form United, McTominay trying the big switch over the top for Martial. He puts a little too much on it, but it's an idea, at least. Any port in a storm and all that.
Martial is now protecting Telles. Pray for him.
I guess United have been better here than in the first 25 at Old Trafford, but one of the reaons their more solid defensively is because they're offering almost nothing in attack.
United seem to have switched Ronaldo and Martial and here's the latter, finding Ronaldo, who turns and sticks it down the line for Van de Beek ... who's on his heels. I'm not sure he was getting it anyway, but he's got to attack the space, not stand square.
United have been slightly better these last two or three minutes.
Villarreal are attacking and defending in numbers; United are just defending in numbers. But here's McTominay, sliding a decent ball into Ronaldo, whose first touch is a good one. But before he can take it on, Foyth barges him over and the ref appraises no foul.
United get the corner away, but Villarreal box them, then Pino slings a cross behind.
Villarreal knock it about in midfield, then Parejo flights a lovely ball over the top and out left to Estupinan, marauding unchecked; Wan-Bissaka jumps and twists, playground-style, and is fortunate to block behind for a corner.
I guess that's what you'd expect from the 12th-best team in Spain and the 8th-best team in England.
This is low-quality stuff so far.
Not a chance United's defence is good enough to hold out if the flow of the game continues likin this vein.
I'd forgotten Sancho was playing. United have given him nothing so far.
Villarreal have had 785 possession. That stat doesn't always tell you the truth about a game, but United are struggling to get anything going.
Van de Beek just got a touch. I think that's his first, and that's my biggest problem with him: games pass him by
The second corner swings outside the box and Fred charges brainlessly at Estupinan, who sees him coming, nips it away, and crosses for Torres who heads over the bar.
Danjuma crosses from the left and the ball hits Wan-Bissaka's arm; there are penalty shouts, but it was against his body so nothing doing. The corner is a good one too, Lindelof heading behind at the far post.
But Villarreal maintain pressure, and when a deflected shot sends the ball towards Pino, Telles gambles with a lunge ... but Pino allows it to run, taking the defender out of the game ... and slices his shot into the near side-netting. Another warning for United.
Danjuma comes short and tees up a cross from Gomes, that Maguire does well to turn away at the near post.
Ah, that's how United are defending their left: they're in a 4-4-2 out of possession, Fred moving across to help out Telles.
Villarreal are into the game now, Fred doing well to close down Trigueros, blocking his cross out of play.
El Madrigal has a look of Stamford Bridge about it, blue and boxy. That's a compliment.
And here they come now down the left, Gomez given time and space to skid a hard, low shot from 20 yards that De Gea pokes away on the dive.
I wonder how United plan to support Telles, because I doubt Ronaldo will chase back. Villarreal, on the other hand, have a winger and a full-back to send forward.
Telles swings in a terrific ball too, but Albiol does brilliantly to get up, flicking it away from Ronaldo. The ball carries on to McTominay, but instead of heading back across, he goes for goal, thunking into the side-netting.
The ground isn't full and is also really quiet apart from the away end. There's an strange feel to things so far, and United starting positively is abetting that, Martial driving forward until he's upended by Pino 30 yards out. Telles will swing one in...
Ronaldo is on the left, with Martial through the middle, and he finds Fred, who falls over then can't poke it through to the centre-forward.
And away we go. Van de Beek sends it back to Lindelof, who sends it into touch. Belter.
The United players take the knee.
Oh brilliant, here's Peter Walton with his insight. If they can't sort things, the game will still go ahead, he tells us. Great stuff.
Savage is back on about working hard, and he's still right/. If United had done the basics this season, Solskjaer would still be manager.
Er, they've still not sorted it. Fairly sure football went on for a fair old while without wired-up refs.
The teams are now knocking balls about between themselves but a lady with blue hair seems to have sorted stuff.
There's a delay as the officials' communication system isn't working.
United are huddling. What could there be to say that hasn't been said?
"Lads, think we should try hard here."
Here come the players!
I don't say this often, but Robbie Savage is bang-on, wondering if United might lower themselves to putting in effort - chasing, covering, and such. That is the cause of a lot of their problems.
over the last 18 months or so, United have started games extremely slowly. For a while they got away with it, and even in this group they did - in the game at Old Trafford, Villarreal ought to have been out of sight. If they can't get going tonight, there's a decent chance they find themselves out of the competition.
My experience is that this account is reliable in terms of United information.
Course you are sweetheart.
Scholes then notes that if United can't get a shift out of their wide attackers, which they haven't this season. they're n trouble - and does anyone expect that from Martial?
Back on BT, Ferdinand is now taking United's defenders apart - in particular, the lack of communication between Lindelof and Maguire. We see Watford's first goal, in which Lindelof is yards ahead of the front post, and Ferdinand notes that he'd never be that far from it, but that Maguire should be hauling him back. He says he did a lot of shouting and sometimes it wouldn't be helpful information, but the sound and volume of his voice would switch people on.
Carrick, wearing a v-neck under his blazer - dearie me - tells BT this is a fresh start, just as every game is. Asked what he wants to change, he says the result, and that he's got as gameplan to stick to, he trusts the players and wants them to go out there and deliver. Sometimes you can do too much talking, the next game is the biggest one, and other assorted cliches. Asked about Bruno, he doesn't say anything good, just that Van de Beek is a great player, he's got five subs, and the bench is important. Asked again, he notes that none of the players have been at their best, he loves Bruno as a player and a person, he ran himself into the ground at Watford, and he's there to make decisions. I'd like him to have been pressed for detail there, because I don't think we're any the wiser - which is how Carrick wanted it.
On my Twitter, people are telling me that Bruno is exhausted, a fair point. But I'd not be leaving him out of this one, because if United go out of this competition, their season is over at the highest level.
What Martial does give United is an out-ball, if he's in the mood - a big if. But if he is, he holds the ball up better than any of United's other forwards, which might be helpful.
Back to that United team, the players who really deserve dropping are defenders. Luke Shaw is concussed from the weekend [insert joke here], so Alex Telles gets a go; Diogo Dalot has been too poor to get Aaron Wan-Bissaka's spot; and Harry Maguire, who knows. He's suspended for the weekend too, but I guess Carrick is too mistrustful of Eric Bailly.
In a very open La Liga, Villarreal are a miserable 12th. Butdon't be deceived: their top level is a good level, and their pass and move style is extremely effective against the United's traffic cones.
As for Villarreal, they seem to playing a 4-4-2 tonight - at Old Trafford, they went 4-3-3. They're missing Gerard Moreno, their most reliable scorer, but Arnaud Danjuma, the best player on the pitch at OT, is up front - though he didn't play at the weekend, injured. Paco Alcacer is also out, but Etienne Capoue and Juan Foyth make it.
On BT, Paul Scholes is taking no prisoners, saying that he's mates with Carrick, but him and McKenna were tasked with coaching the team - Solskjaer was a manager - so he's no idea while they're still at the club and how they can feel comfortable enough to do it. Rio Ferdinand is more practical, saying he gets it, but football is cut-throat and he might never get the chance to manage United again, so what can you do.
I don't know, Martial is the last player I'd trust in a game like this, and I'm also not sure about the combinations - United now have very little pace in behind. I'd have played Van de Beek too, but I'd have played Bruno with him and, along with Sancho, used them to try and out-football Villarreal. I'm not certain what the attacking plan will be here.
So a bloke who might only be in charge for a week, drops the two best players in the team over the last two years, for the most important game of the season.That sounds nuts to me, even if Bruno Fernandes has been poor recently - he's also created more chances than any other player in the Premier League - and Marcus Rashford is coming back form injury. Fernandes is replaced by Van de Beek, who was excellent in the second half against Watford, while Rashford's place goes to Martial, who was excellent the season before last.
and we didn't even mention that United have just sacked their manager - on which point, Michael Carrick, the caretaker before the caretaker, hasn't mucked about with the team he's named...
This is an absolutely monstrous game. A win for either side takes them through; a draw would probably leave both wanting a win in their final group game, which for Villarreal is Atalanta away and for United is Young Boys home, which is to say the former would be concerned and the latter relieved; a defeat for Villarreal and they'd still probably need to win that last game, while a 1-0 or two-goal defeat for United and they'd need to hope Atalanta didn't win their last two, but otherwise a win in their last one would be alright. Got it?
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