Anthony Martial was the game changer as Manchester United came from behind to hold Club Brugge to a 1-1 draw in the Europa League Round of 32 first leg.
Manchester United made a far-from-ideal start, with Club Brugge looking lively early on. In fact, the visitors were lucky not to concede a penalty when Sergio Romero brought Emmanuel Dennis. However, Romero was not so lucky when he came off his line moments later, as Dennis chipped the ball over him to hand Brugge the lead.
Manchester United, though, hit back twenty minutes later through Anthony Martial. Thereafter, United looked the better of the two sides for the remainder of the game, but a winner would never arrive. With the first leg of the Round of 32 tie ending all square, The Hard Tackle runs the rule over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men.
Sergio Romero: 4/10
An underwhelming evening for Romero, who was not quite at his best against Club Brugge. Quite lucky to come out unscathed after a rash challenge on Emmanuel Dennis early on. Not so lucky when he inexplicably came off his line, allowing Dennis to chip him easily and break the deadlock. Otherwise, it was a rather quiet game for the Argentine. A rare blip.
Diogo Dalot: 4/10
One of the two defenders who were culpable when Dennis put Brugge ahead. Showed little strength as the Brugge striker went through and scored. Continued to remain suspect for the remainder of the evening and carried very little threat going forward. An opportunity missed for the youngster.
Victor Lindelof: 5/10
Back into the side after recovering from the illness that kept him out against Chelsea, Lindelof made a decent start to the game, blocking an effort by Dennis. However, he was caught off pace at times and was caught out of position on a few occasions. Looked much better as the game wore on, with Manchester United taking control of the proceedings.
Harry Maguire: 6/10
After the highs of the Chelsea game, Maguire too, endured a blip here. The Manchester United captain was not poor as far as his own performance is concerned. However, he could have done better to take command of the backline and keep it more organised. Solid post the break.
Luke Shaw: 7/10
Another game that showcased Shaw’s growing comfort in the back three. The Englishman was wobbly to begin with, thanks in large part due to suspect positioning. However, he improved after appearing nervy early on and even showed an adventurous side to his game by carrying the ball into the opposition half.
Brandon Williams: 4/10
Continuing his stint in the team, Williams produced one of his poorer displays so far this season. The young full-back, like Dalot, should have done better when dealing with Dennis for the opener, although in fairness, the goal should never have stood.
Presented himself as an outlet going forward but his end product was poor. His finishing was also suspect as he squandered a great chance in the first half.
Juan Mata: 5/10
With Fred given a breather, Mata started in a deeper role so as to take charge of the forward movement during build-up play. However, the Spaniard was anonymous for much of the first half. Pulled the strings in a more efficient manner after the interval in what was a marked improvement from him. Still, an average performance.
Nemanja Matic: 6/10
A non-Matic-like performance by the Serb, considering his recent exploits. For much of the first half, Matic was overrun rather easily and he was wasteful with the ball at his feet as well. Like many of his teammates, he was much better when Manchester United took charge of the proceedings.
Andreas Pereira: 6/10
The best of the Manchester United midfielders, by far, although that does not say a great deal. Still, Pereira carried a great deal of threat in the final third and he came the closest to scoring for the visitors before Anthony Martial levelled things up. Passes were crisper than usual, but he often went into the spaces that Mata wanted to occupy. Nevertheless, a decent showing.
Jesse Lingard: 5/10
Back in the starting lineup, this was a performance that would put him out of the starting lineup for some time again. Making his 200th appearance for Manchester United, Lingard did not make a great deal of impact. Should have been the one to be taken off first.
Anthony Martial: 7/10
Anthony Martial has scored a Europa League goal every 92 minutes this season.
Very impressive rate. 🙌 pic.twitter.com/f0O1vUNzBw
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) February 20, 2020
Martial found the back of the net in a moment that showed that he has rediscovered his swagger again. On another day, he could have ended the game with a match-winning brace, after Simon Mignolet made a wonder save, tipping a thunderous effort onto the bar. Given a breather with a quarter of the game left. Solskjaer needs to manage the in-form Martial well now.
Odion Ighalo: 5/10
On for Martial, Ighalo fed off scraps, although he had a half chance coming his way. Still looks a bit off pace and will need to continue regaining sharpness.
Given the final 20 minutes, Fred played with purpose and looked to make a difference. In the end, it was not to be as the game ended in a draw.
Bruno Fernandes: N/A
A late introduction, Fernandes was an instant upgrade on every Manchester United starter against Brugge, but had little time to make an impact.