Manchester United began their 2018-19 UEFA Champions League campaign with a 3-0 win over Swiss champions BSC Young Boys on Wednesday night.
Playing on the unfamiliar AstroTurf at the Stade de Suisse, Jose Mourinho’s men took time to get going, while the home side were off to a decent start, threatening on the counter. However, it was Manchester United who took the lead in the 35th minute, courtesy of a sensational left-footed strike from the captain on the day, Paul Pogba, that nestled in the top left corner.
United doubled their advantage towards the end of the first half, with Pogba converting from the penalty spot, after Young Boys’ right-back Kevin Mbabu was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box. The Manchester United captain was in the thick of things again, as he played Anthony Martial in, whose shot ended up in the back of the net via a deflection to make it 3-0 in the 66th minute.
It was a professional display from the Red Devils in unfamiliar conditions, following which they sit atop the Group H standings, ahead of Italian champions Juventus, who beat Valencia 2-0, on goal difference.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) September 19, 2018
Here’s how the Manchester United stars fared on the night in Bern.
David De Gea: 6/10
The Spanish international was alert to a couple of efforts from distance in the first period, but apart from that he had very little to do in terms of saving, as Young Boys barely threatened his goal.
Diogo Dalot: 7/10
Making his debut for Manchester United, the summer signing hardly looked overawed by the situation. Started off very positively, getting forward and delivering a couple of inviting crosses and continued to offer an outlet. Was caught out defensively on a couple of occasions, but his attacking intent and ability to beat his man were impressive. A promising start.
Chris Smalling: 7/10
There were a couple of nervy moments in the first period, but the England international defended very well in general against the physical Guillaume Hoarau, while commanding the backline with authority. Seems to be growing in confidence with every game and is establishing himself as a mainstay in Jose Mourinho’s side.
Victor Lindelof: 6/10
An early mix-up with Smalling contributed to an edgy start for the Swedish centre-half, but he got over it and improved with time. Defended diligently for most parts of the game, dealing with whatever the champions of Switzerland threw at him.
Luke Shaw: 8/10
The former Southampton man continued his excellent start to the season, after returning to the starting line-up for Wednesday’s game. Got forward with purpose and almost set Marcus Rashford for a goal. It was his cross that was handled by Mbabu, leading to the penalty. Defended solidly as well, making a few important tackles.
Paul Pogba: 8.5/10
Opened the scoring in the first period with a belter of a finish to score his first goal from open play in the ongoing season. Made no mistake from the penalty spot – Pogba has converted three of his four spot kicks now. Drove forward with purpose, although may have been ponderous on the ball at times. Set Martial up for the third goal brilliantly. A captain’s display from the World Cup winner.
Nemanja Matic: 6.5/10
The Serbian midfield general started a little slow and seemed to be overwhelmed by the pace with which the opponents broke early on. However, normal services resumed once United had taken the lead as he mopped up everything that came his way, dropping deep to help his defenders.
Returning to the starting line-up for the first time after the defeat to Tottenham Hotspur, the Brazilian endured a difficult outing on the artificial pitch. Caught in possession a number of times, booked in the first period for an unnecessary foul, while his corner kicks were below average at best.
There were a few positive moments in attack towards the end of the first period and he was involved in the lead up to the opening goal, but clearly the £52 million man needs more time to settle in.
Marcus Rashford: 5/10
Shunted out on the right flank, the England international struggled to make any meaningful impact on the proceedings. Hit the outside of the post in the first-half with a cheeky effort, but that was as good as it got for Manchester United’s No.10 in Switzerland. Showed willingness to run the channels, but very little went his way on the night.
Romelu Lukaku: 5.5/10
The big Belgian was deprived of service for most parts of the game, but that didn’t stop him from putting in another shift at the top. Held up the ball nicely, worked hard, but apart from hitting the side netting once, offered little in terms of goal threat.
Anthony Martial: 6.5/10
The Frenchman, handed a rare start by the manager, was nowhere to be seen in a dull first-half. Offered little going forward, and didn’t help Shaw defensively. However, turned things around brilliantly after half-time, with Martial showing a lot of flair and urgency, beating defenders with ease, while tracking back effectively as well. Deserved his goal – his first since January.
Juan Mata: 5/10
Replaced Rashford in the 68th minute. Saw an excellent effort miss by inches, blasted over the bar from a promising position and had a late goal ruled out for offside.
Marouane Fellaini: 6/10
On for Fred soon after the third goal. Added more muscle and power in the middle of the park, helping United see off the game.
Andreas Pereira: 6/10
Thrown on for Pogba for the last fifteen minutes or so. Energetic and tenacious.