Manchester United came off from a difficult away fixture at CSKA Moscow, with a respectable 1-1 draw, but the manner in which things went about, the Red Devils might feel that they could have won the match had Anthony Martial’s moment of madness inside the box not happened.
Manchester United were punished for the hand ball committed by Martial early on in the first half of the match. Man United goalkeeper David De Gea did manage to save the penalty, but Seydou Doumbia ensured that the ball ended up in the back of the net, which might have left Louis van Gaal’s men feeling very unlucky.
Martial however, redeemed his mistake in the second half by scoring the equaliser, and ensuring that the Red Devils come off from the match with at least one point to show for it. Manager van Gaal felt the same way about the error by the Frenchman, who was signed by Man United earlier this summer.
“It’s the first time he [Anthony Martial] has done it [handball in the penalty area] and there always has to be a first time, but it was very unlucky because we controlled the game,” van Gaal was quoted saying, in a UEFA press release, after the match.
Even Man United midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger came out in support of Martial, saying that this could happen to anyone. Schweinsteiger said to ESPN, “He didn’t let his head down because the penalty can happen to anyone and then he scored a great goal. After that we pushed on.”
Meanwhile, CSKA Moscow manager Leonid Slutsky said that his team did well, but ran out of steam by the end, which is why Man United could get the all-important equaliser.
“Looking at it, if you feel fatigue, mistakes happen,” Slutsky said, after the match. “And given the current condition of Alan Dzagoev and Roman Eremenko, and Bibras Natcho’s injury, we didn’t have a player to dictate play in the middle of the park.”
The two teams square off again at Old Trafford for their next Champions League match, with Man United playing the hosts this time round. A win for either of the teams could see them going top of Group B, if PSV beat Wolfsburg, in their corresponding match.
The onus however, would surely be on van Gaal’s men, to get the win, in front of their home fans and go one place closer to qualification for the Round of 16.