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Teenager Elanga scores as Man Utd draw away to Atletico Madrid

Xinhua | Updated: 2022-02-24 09:24
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Manchester United's Anthony Elanga celebrates scoring their first goal during the match against Atletico Madrid in Madrid, Spain on Feb 23, 2022. [Photo/Agencies]

MADRID - Anthony Elanga's 80th minute goal gave Manchester United a 1-1 draw away to Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League last-16 tie on Wednesday night.

The result flattered United, who did very little in the game, but at the same time it was a punishment for Atletico for not taking chances and their tendency to defend a narrow lead.

The game was just seven minutes old when Atletico took the lead. United half-cleared a corner, but Lodi whipped the ball back into the area for Joao Felix to race in ahead of Harry Maguire and head the ball past David de Gea and in off the post.

United were struggling to connect in attack, while Atletico looked threatening every time they pushed forward, although having taken the lead, they were content to sit deep and look to play on the break.

On the half hour De Gea was United's savior as he denied Angel Correa when the striker was through on goal after robbing Raphael Varane, who moments afterwards again gave the ball away to Geoffrey Kondogbia.

As the half progressed, things got increasingly scrappy with Cristiano Ronaldo, booed every time he touched the ball, coming in for some rough treatment, before Sime Vrsaljko rattled the crossbar with a header when he should have scored following a cross from Lodi.

Any hopes that United would improve after half-time were soon dashed as they continued in the same vein that had seen them struggle in the first 45 minutes, with slack defending and too many misplaced passes.

Coach Ralf Rangnick finally reacted in the 67th minute with a triple substitution as Lindelof, Luke Shaw and Paul Pogba were replaced by Alex Telles, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Nemanja Matic.

The 19-year-old Elanga also came on for Marcus Rashford in the 76th minute, and he levelled the scores within four minutes. Bruno Fernandes found a rare gap in the Atletico defense and the youngster rolled the ball across Jan Oblak and into the back of the net.

It was his side's first shot on target in the whole game, but was enough to give them a good result for the return leg in three weeks.

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