Manchester United – AC Milan: Simon Kjaer’s stoppage-time header gave AC Milan a huge away goal and a 1-1 draw with Manchester United at Old Trafford in Thursday’s Europa League Round of 16 first leg.
Amad Diallo’s first Man United goal was a stunner that put the hosts in front, but the lead was not to last as AC Milan took 15 shots to United’s seven and needed four saves from Dean Henderson to get into stoppage time.
United was missing Marcus Rashford, Edinson Cavani, Paul Pogba, and Donny van de Beek, while Milan did not have the services of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Hakan Calhanoglu, Mario Mandzukic, and Theo Hernandez.
The next week is big for United, and a win would’ve been a huge help as the Red Devils have a top-four chasing West Ham United in Premier League play on Sunday, the away leg versus Milan on March 18, and a FA Cup quarterfinal at Leicester City three days later.
Three things we learned from Manchester United – AC Milan
1. For starters, Amad Diallo: This isn’t the 18-year-old’s first impression for Man United, having come off the bench a handful of times, but it will likely be his welcome message to fans. Amad Diallo’s spinning, back-to-goal, looping header over AC Milan star goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma was the stuff of legends (an assist from Bruno Fernandes helps the story, too). Red Devils supporters will be daring to dream that their latest teen hope is more Marcus Rashford and George Best than Ravel Morrison and Federico Macheda. It’s a heck of a start for the player who scored in his Serie A debut for Atalanta versus Udinese. That one finished 7-1. This one means a bit more. What a goal. If only it came in a win.
[ WATCH: Diallo’s spinning header ]
2. VAR delivers the goods for Man United: AC Milan had two goals rightly chalked off by Video Assistant Referee, so the next United player to talk about how VAR is ruining the game might want to hedge that talk with a note that it could’ve been down 2-0 to referee errors (that led to wonderful-looking goals from Franck Kessie and
3. Fine margins in United’s disappointment: Sometimes you can do everything as planned and get caught by happenstance. Harry Maguire charged the Milan back post and couldn’t tap in from very close range perhaps in fear of kicking the metal. That could’ve helped United control the game earlier. It was just as tight on the equalizer. Nemanja Matic was following Kjaer when an on-running Fikayo Tomori, ironically a Chelsea loanee, stepped in front of the midfielder to allow the goal scorer an open look at turning the header on frame. He did, of course, and Dean Henderson was beaten. You have to say it was coming, but it doesn’t make it hurt any less for United supporters.
Man of the Match: Simon Kjaer
Has to be, right? The 31-year-old Dane entered the game with three goals and 102 caps for Denmark and 20 in well over 400 senior club appearances. Few will be as memorable as this one. He also had three interceptions and four tackles while passing at 87 percent.
AC Milan in the 92nd minute. 💥 pic.twitter.com/6f2A5p9SL7
— Champions League on CBS Sports (@UCLonCBSSports) March 11, 2021