Man United were held to a 1-1 draw away at Club Brugge in the first leg of their UEFA Europa League Round of 32 tie as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s side battled back from a sloppy start to stretch their unbeaten run to five games in all competitions.
Emmanuel Bonaventure (commonly known as Dennis) scored a beautiful opener to put Brugge ahead but United equalized through Anthony Martial and he also hit the post as the Red Devils looked more dangerous as both teams had chances in a tight, tense encounter.
The two teams met for the second leg at Old Trafford next Thursday, Feb. 27.
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Brugge almost scored with their first attack as Dennis caused havoc behind Luke Shaw and a combination of Victor Lindelof and Nemanja Matic cleared the ball from danger from close range.
Andreas Pereira fired in a low shot which Simon Mignolet saved well but moments later Brugge were ahead.
Nemanja Matic thought he had won a corner kick but a goal kick was given and former Liverpool goalkeeper Mignolet caught out the entire Man United defense with a long ball over the top to find Dennis who lobbed the ball over a stranded Sergio Romero and in.
Hans Vanaken, Mats Rits and Dennis then all went close to doubling Brugge’s lead as United’s defense was all over the place.
United did draw level before half time as a loose throw-in from Brugge caused their own problems and Martial powered towards goal and calmly slotted home to make it 1-1.
Brandon Williams missed a good chance and Mignolet then pushed Martial’s shot onto the post as United came alive after their opening goal.
In the second half Man United continued to improve as Diogo Dalot‘s cross found Jesse Lingard who flicked wide, while Martial and Juan Mata then combined but Brugge managed to block the danger at the last moment.
At the other end Dennis was denied as Romero saved well down low at the near post and late on Dennis bamboozled Harry Maguire before crossing for Odilon Kossounou who somehow scuffed his shot wide.
Man United finished with a flourish as new signings Odion Ighalo and Bruno Fernandes came on off the bench to try and help the Red Devils grab a winner and although they both looked lively, United couldn’t find a late goal.