Thursday, 1 October 2015

Man United Vs Wolfsburg

Scorers: Caligiuri 4', Mata PEN 34' , Smalling 53' |
Champions League | OT attendance: 74,811
- Louis van Gaal pleased by victory over Wolfsburg
- Juan Mata voted Man of the Match for second
successive match
- Chris Smalling delighted with winning goal
- Morgan Schneiderlin says team spirit was key to
Manchester United returned to winning ways in the
Champions League on Wednesday as goals from
Juan Mata and Chris Smalling secured an
invaluable 2-1 comeback victory over Wolfsburg.
The Reds had lost the opening Group B match at
PSV Eindhoven earlier this month and, as a result,
needed a positive result on matchday two at Old
Trafford ahead of a potentially difficult trip to CSKA
Moscow, who bagged an impressive 3-2 triumph
over the Dutch champions elsewhere in Russia.
Although the importance of this match was
emphasised by Louis van Gaal ahead of kick-off,
United made a disappointing start and fell behind
to Daniel Caligiuri’s goal in the fourth minute after
the German-born Italian dribbled down the right
flank to exchange passes inside the penalty box
before finishing past David De Gea with aplomb,
much to the delight of the continuously vocal
travelling fans in the away end.
United responded well and Bastian Schweinsteiger
hit a speculative half-volley at an open goal just
moments later following a dodgy clearance from
goalkeeper Diego Benaglio, before Mata’s curling
effort was headed over by the physically imposing
former Bayern Munich defender Dante. Anthony
Martial then went close with a mazy run from the
right that led to the Frenchman firing just off
The visiting Germans appeared to be content with
their early lead and understandably held a deep
defensive line for much of the first half, essentially
asking what United had got in attack. An answer
was almost given in the 25th minute when Martial
superbly got to the byline and found Wayne Rooney
with a driven pass across the area, though the
captain blazed his shot over the bar from around
six yards. Memphis was then frustrated as his
header from Mata’s superb pass was saved by the
The Spaniard was quickly celebrating, however,
after his cross was handled inside the area by
Caligiuri and United were rightfully awarded a
penalty in front of the East Stand, which our no.8
calmly stroked into the bottom corner to inspire
scenes of great relief and ecstasy at Old Trafford.
The mood was only dampened slightly by the sight
of yellows cards for Morgan Schneiderlin and
Schweinsteiger for separate fouls on Maximilian
Arnold, just before the half-time break.
Possession: United 61% Wolfsburg 39%
Shots at goal: United 11 Wolfsburg 2
Shots on target: United 4 Wolfsburg 1
Corners: United 2 Wolfsburg 0
Van Gaal intervened during the interval by replacing
right-back Antonio Valencia with Ashley Young, who
had previously made a positive impact as a
substitute this season, and United swiftly took the
lead through an unlikely source when Smalling
latched onto Mata’s superb backheel to prod home
at the back post on 53 minutes, notching his 10th
career goal for the Reds in the process.
Andreas Pereira excelled on his first competitive
start against Ipswich Town a week earlier and the
young Brazilian entered the fray just after the hour
mark, taking the place of Memphis after the
Dutchman was perhaps unfairly booked for
apparently catching Christian Trasch with a flailing
Wolfsburg made their own changes on 70 minutes
by introducing Andre Schurrle and Nicolas
Bendtner, two players who are both familiar to
United fans as a result of their previous spells in
the Premier League with Chelsea and Arsenal. The
former almost scored with one of his first touches,
too, after dragging a low shot from the right flank
just wide of De Gea’s post.
Chances were ultimately few and far between in
the closing stages as United looked to consolidate
the advantage and a potentially crucial victory,
basically by dropping deeper and soaking up all
pressure that Wolfsburg tried to apply in the final
third. This led to a nervous finale at Old Trafford
and, in truth, the Germans looked like the team
more likely to score as the clock ticked towards
Schneiderlin could and perhaps should have been
sent off for a second bookable offence following a
foul on Julian Draxler, which led to Ricardo
Rodriguez curling a powerful free-kick inches wide
on 85 minutes. That proved to be the final
opportunity and United held on to claim three
important Group B points.
Possession: United 53% Wolfsburg 47%
Shots at goal: United 15 Wolfsburg 7
Shots on target: United 6 Wolfsburg 2
Corner: United 3 Wolfsburg 2
United: De Gea, Valencia (Young 45'), Smalling,
Blind, Darmian, Schneiderlin, Schweinsteiger (Jones
72'), Mata, Rooney, Memphis (Pereira 62'), Martial.
Subs not used: Romero, McNair, Fellaini, Wilson.
Booked: Schneiderlin, Schweinsteiger, Memphis,
Wolfsburg: Benaglio, Trasch (Jung 76'), Naldo,
Dante, Rodriguez, Guilavogui, Arnold (Schurrle 70'),
Caligiuri, Kruse, Draxler, Dost (Bendtner 70').
Subs not used: Grun, Schafer, Klose, Seguin.
Booked: Caligiuri
Louis van Gaal: "It was a very good win, it was a
must-win and it was very difficult when you start
with one goal beind in the first four minutes, when
they scored a fantastic goal, I have to admit."

Chris Smalling: "It was a great feeling and, with
Juan, you never know what he’s going to do with
those tricks and flicks; he does them every day in
training. You just have to gamble.”

Morgan Schneiderlin: “It was very important, we
knew it was a must-win after the PSV Eindhoven
result and that is what we did. We’re happy with
the win."

Mata was voted United's star man for the second
match in a row, after scoring the opener from the
penalty spot before setting up Smalling's winner.
The Spaniard earned 63 per cent of fans' votes on


Schweinsteiger: Important #UCL win! It is never
easy to come back after an early 0-1. Great
Martial: Good win tonight, thanks for your support.
Blind: Great result and team spirit! Amazing
atmosphere inside the stadium - thanks!
Smalling: What a feeling! @ChampionsLeague night
are special!
Mata: That was a special night... Atmosphere at
Old Trafford was something different. Well done
Jones: Love @ChampionsLeauge nights and they're
even better with a win! Next stop Arsenal!


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