The dam broke late for Manchester United, who saw Amad Diallo’s stunning first Red Devils goal a mere part of a draw thanks to a stoppage-time header from AC Milan’s Simon Kjaer.
Milan deserved the point, if not more, out-attempting United 15-7 and forcing four saves out of Dean Henderson.
But that doesn’t change the fact that the Red Devils came within moments of keeping dangerous (if shorthanded) Milan without a goal heading to the away leg.
[ THREE THINGS: Man Utd – AC Milan ]
“Very disappointed to conceded with one of the last kicks of the ball or head,” said Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. “That makes it harder of course, but it was always going to be going down to the second game there, anyway. … I’ve seen [Henderson] save them, but it’s the structure that we lose. We dropped too deep and we get blocked off and they get the header on. We should have attacked the ball with the men we had there.”
The light of day will find Solskjaer happy to take a point from the match, as Milan had two goals rightly taken away by VAR in a match both teams were without stars.
United didn’t have Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford, Donny van de Beek, and Edinson Cavani, while Milan couldn’t use Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Theo Hernandez, and Hakan Calhanoglu, and Mario Mandzuklic.
Solskjaer said a little bit of intensity might’ve been missing despite the import of the tie and the European giants involved in it.
“We were a bit too slow with the possession,” Solskjaer said of the 90 minutes. “That’s the learning we have to get into ourselves, we have to perform every single week. We’re playing against good teams. Probably a draw is a fair result.”
The late concession takes some of the attention off of Diallo, the 18-year-old who dazzled with a terrific, turning, back-to-goal header over Gianluigi Donnarumma off of a long Bruno Fernandes pass to the heart of the 18.
Solskjaer is trying his best to pour cold water on a red-hot prospect, as hype has burnt plenty of young United talents over the years.
“He’s creative. He plays with freedom,” Solskjaer said. “A great pass by Bruno by the way. That’s of course what makes the goal. Amad, he’s been on the pitch before, but nice goal. He’s got lots to learn and he’ll be better off from having that.”
⚽️Manchester United's youngest European scorers
17y 353d – Mason Greenwood
18y 117d – Marcus Rashford
18y 158d – George Best
18y 243d – AMAD DIALLO pic.twitter.com/GrsVwlqef2
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) March 11, 2021