Manchester United were held to draw at Ukraine as Taison scored the equalizer in the second half for the home side.
Manchester United dropped points against Shakhtar in what was a fairly subdued performance, especially in the second half. David Moyes’ men came into this game under a lot of pressure to perform after their disastrous performance at home against West Brom. Although they took a fairly early lead in the match as Danny Welbeck found the net from close range, United failed to dominate the game.
The second half saw a much improved performance from Shakhtar Donetsk as they went in search of an equaliser. United’s midfield was particularly put under pressure, although most of it was of their own creation as they gave the ball away cheaply at times. The equaliser, a deserved one, finally arrived for the home side as Taison blasted the ball into the roof of the net. In the end, the draw seemed like a fair outcome from a match where neither side did enough to win it.
Manchester United manager David Moyes was pleased with the draw away from home, especially against a side with an unbeaten record against English sides. Moyes also had a special word of appreciation for Ryan Giggs as he became the player with most number of appearances in the Champions League, beating the record previously owned by Real Madrid legend Raul.
“It is a good point. Shakhtar have a great record against English sides and the team stood up well to them. We got a good goal early doors and I thought we were going to stop them scoring.
“We said at half-time we needed to keep the ball better, but we actually gave it away more in the second half so I’m a bit disappointed with that. But we were really unlucky to lose a goal. It’s a point in the Champions League. We are going to have to win other games if we are to progress, but overall it’s a good point.
“The experienced players are very important as these are the boys that have been here and done it. I thought they played well tonight. [Ryan Giggs becoming the player with the most appearances in the UEFA Champions League] is fantastic. What a record and what a player.” – The Manchester United manager said.
Shakhtar manager Mircea Lucescu felt that the draw was a good result for both the sides, although he pointed out the fact that his side were better than Manchester United in ‘some respects’.
“The result satisfies both sides. United capitalised on our mistake and scored a fortunate goal. They are better than us on the break, but I wouldn’t say they were in control of the game. I can hardly remember more than that one effort on our goal. The draw is not the worst option for either team, but we weren’t thinking that before the match. I am happy we rose to the level of United and even got the better of them in certain respects.
“At half-time we said to continue playing our way, increase the tempo in the last 20 minutes and take some risks. That was the case. We delivered many balls into their box and it was a pity we scored just once. One team played with physical power and athleticism, the other with technical skill, and because of that we saw a spectacular game. This point allows us to stay in contention to qualify from the group. We were better then United in some respects and it is a pity we did not win, but don’t forget we were playing Manchester United.
“All our players looked good and there was no sense replacing them because it could have disrupted our game. That’s why I waited till the very end of the match to make substitutions. Taison and Douglas [Costa] looked good in the second half; Adriano made life difficult for their central defenders and had a hand in our goal. You make substitutions to strengthen the team, not for the sake of them.” – Lucescu said.
The above heat map shows the movement and positioning of Taison who was constant threat down the left and at times down the middle. He was almost playing in a free role, which made it difficult for the United defenders & midfielders to mark him on the pitch. Another crucial statistic from the game is shown in the image above – Manchester United had only one shot on target – which luckily for them turned out to be the winner.