Bayern Munich nudges past Premier League heavyweights Manchester United 4-3 as the German champions kickstart their Champions League campaign with a thrilling victory at Allianz Arena. United keeper Andre Onana’s blunder helped Bayern with their first goal, and then it was a rout for Tuchel’s side, although seasoned veteran Casemiro left it late to score two goals at the dying minutes to salvage some pride.
A clash of the heavyweights
Manchester United and Bayern Munich are touted to be the favorites for a Champions League since years. With the might these two clubs possess, coupled with their brigade of stars, the UCL matchday one promised to be a nail-biter for every football fan. And as expected, it did not fail to deliver, as German serial winners Bayern Munich went past their sturdy opponents United, who are currently going through a dark phase in their career. Coming on the back of a heavy 1-3 defeat at the hands of Roberto De Zerbi’s Brighton in Premier League, very few would have expected a victory for Ten Hag’s victory. For Thomas Tuchel’s Bayern, the German champions are continuing their dream run as new recruit Harry Kane is swooning the German fans with his magic web at their den.
With a mouth-watering clash on the cards, both teams had fielded their strongest sides. The home side had an advantage over a faltering United, as they started with a 4-2-3-1 formation, with a strengthened defensive line-up comprising Davies, Min-Jae, Upamecano and Laimer. The midfield comprised of seasoned Champions League veterans in the form of Goretzka, Kimmich, Sane, Musiala and Gnabry, with Harry Kane stationed for spearheading the attack.
For United, Ten Hag had to explore his youth battalion as several of his stars like Sancho, Antony were left out of the squad due to disciplinary issues. He went with a 4-2-3-1 formation too, with defensive back having Dalot, Lindelof, Martinez and Reguilon. Their midfield comprised former real Madrid great Casemiro and Danish star Eriksen, with new recruit Hojlund up front accompanied by Rashford, Bruno and Pellistri.
Onana’s blunder gives the lead
Both the clubs were playing at tenterhooks, with neither giving a chance to the other. Manchester United had started the game with more positive intent compared to their fixture against Brighton, as they had got a chance to make the lead on the 4th minute, after Danish star Eriksen found youngster Pellistri in the box, who wanted to take the shot. With his first start in a Champions League game, the Uruguayan star Pellistri could have given a comfortable lead for the Red Devils, but Alphonso Davies was stationed to save the goal with a last ditch tackle, which went to Eriksen’s feet, as his shot was saved by Ulreich, thus stunting their chance of going ahead.
But, Bayern has been one of the top teams over last few years, as they had put a stamp on their authority when they went 1-0 up on the 28th minute, courtesy a Sane goal, and Onana blunder. Former Spurs front man Kane laid the ball to Sane, who had obliged to shoot the ball from a moderate distance. It could have been a easy save for any keeper, but for someone who is low on confidence like Onana, it was difficult. The ball went past his hands and Bayern were “gifted” a 1-0 lead. He later requested UCL officials to arrange a press meeting as he spoke about his mistake which cost the game for them.
Gnabry doubles the lead
After the first goal, Bayern got fired up to score a second one, and their star Serge Gnabry scored a goal, as his impressive form continued. Four minutes later the first goal, on 32nd minute, Musiala’s sprint coupled with a reverse skill paved the way for Gnabry to score the second of the night. The Germans were 2-0 up on 32nd minute, with Gnabry celebrating his goal with his traditional ‘cooking’ style, as Ten Hag’s brigade was looking hapless in the first half.
Hojlund scores his first goal
It has been a lovely week for debutants as some of them have found the back of the net in their first game. With Portuguese Joao Felix in the game against Antwerp, where he found the back of the net twice, and last night United’s new signing Rasmus Hojlund, both of them got off to a flying start in their UCL career, as the Danish scored his first goal on his Champions League debut. United’s record goal scorer last season and their homegrown star Rashford was instrumental in paving the goal, as he assisted Hojlund who struck a swift shot into the Bayern net. Although not being a fierce shot, but the deflection helped United to salvage some pride in the game, as the score line said 2-1.
Kane scores a penalty
Harry Kane, who has been striking the Allianz Arena with a “hurri-Kane” since joining Tuchel’s side from Spurs, was once again instrumental in giving Bayern a two-goal cushion. With Eriksen mistakenly touching the ball inside the box, only to be confirmed by VAR to be handball, the referee awarded Bayern with a penalty, and Kane took matters in his own hands. The seasoned attacker of Premier League, Kane did no mistake in slotting past the 3rd goal for the Bavarians, as he picked the bottom left corner, which was far from Onana. The Cameroon international guessed the trajectory right but the precision from Kane was enough to take the lead.
Seasoned Casemiro proves his class
Casemiro-Kroos-Modric, the impeccable trio of Real Madrid, who were instrumental in leading the Spanish giants to consecutive UCL victories, have been separated now since last season as Casemiro had joined forces with Ten Hag at Manchester United. Last night, he showed his class once again, as he was instrumental in winning one goal back in the favor of Red Devils. French forward Martial was responsible for the assist, as ‘Case’, as he is fondly called, flicks the ball past Bayern backline, as his shot traversed to the far bottom corner.
With this goal, United seemed to up their ante, but their uprising was soon subdued by youngster Mathys Tel, as German star Kimmich found Tel in a lovely position, and had helped him out with a lovely aerial ball. Tel perceived the first touch with his excellent footwork, and then hit the roof of the goal, past Onana, as Bayern secured their two-goal cushion, once again, as the score read 4-2.
Bruno Fernandes, the United skipper, had employed his best men in the Bayern backline when he was asked to take the free-kick. He whipped across the ball only to find seasoned veteran Casemiro, as the Brazilian swirled the ball past Ulreich once again, but it got too late for an equalizer as Ten Hag’s men had shown a lot of fight and character away from home, as the goal fest ended in the home team’s favor.