Manchester United advanced into the last 16 of the Champions League in Michael Carrick’s first game at the helm thanks to two late goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho.
Following a cautious first half from the visiting side, things improved in the second 45 minutes, and Fred’s tackle on Etienne Capoue in the 78th minute sparked them into life.
The former Watford midfielder received a risky pass from goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli, and the tenacious United player pounced, allowing Ronaldo to expertly lift the ball over the onrushing shot-stopper.
United looked well-organised and compact throughout the 90 minutes but rarely threatened the opposition goal until the final stages.
However, Jadon Sancho made up for a tame effort when one-on-one with Rulli in the final stages of the closely-fought encounter, smashing in the ball off the underside of the crossbar to slam home his first goal for the Red Devils.
Despite their success on the counter-attack late on, though, the most impressive element of United’s play was undoubtedly their resolute defending.
David de Gea was forced into two tremendous saves from Manu Trigueros, yet overall, the Old Trafford outfit’s back four stood firm against their Spanish opponents, and the standout performer was undoubtedly Victor Lindelof.
Was Lindelof United’s best player?
With summer signing Raphael Varane currently injured, the 27-year-old took his chance to shine, playing a pivotal part in United securing just their third clean sheet of the season.
As per SofaScore, Lindelof was awarded a match rating of 7.7 out of 10, the joint-highest total received by any player on the pitch at the Estadio de la Cerámica.
The Sweden international won all five of his duels, made a whopping eight clearances and achieved a passing accuracy of 92%, highlighting his impressive performance and reborn status under interim manager Carrick.
Manchester Evening News journalist Tyrone Marshall was also impressed with Lindelof, writing: “Stood up well to the task and tried to play out from the back,” after awarding him a seven out of 10.
With Varane set for an extended spell on the sidelines, Lindelof will be hoping he can maintain this level of performance in the weeks to come, cementing his place in the starting XI as a result.
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