Manchester United vs Atalanta: 3 things learned from Bruno-led comeback


Cristiano Ronaldo’s 82nd-minute header of a Luke Shaw cross completed a brilliant Manchester United comeback in a 3-2 win over Atalanta in UEFA Champions League action at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

Bruno Fernandes set up second-half goals from Marcus Rashford and Harry Maguire to set the stage after Atalanta’s Mario Pasalic and Merih Demiral gave Gian Piero Gasperini’s visitors a 2-0 lead.

[ MORE: Manchester United v Atalanta stats, box score ]

United moves from bottom to top of the group by completing the comeback, their six points two better than Atalanta and Villarreal. Young Boys sit bottom with three points after losing 2-1 to Villarreal.

Man United gets Liverpool next in the Premier League before meeting Atalanta away in the UCL.

Manchester United vs Atalanta final score, stats

Final score: Manchester United 3, Atalanta 2

Scorers: Pasalic (15′), Demiral (28′), Rashford (53′), Maguire (75′), Ronaldo (82′)

Shots: Manchester United, 22-11

Shots on goal: Manchester United, 9-6

Possession: Manchester United, 56%

Three things we learned from Manchester United vs Atalanta

1. Bruno Fernandes bails out Ole, who may be the cat with the most lives: One of Manchester United’s Portuguese stars couldn’t score on Wednesday, while another set up enough chances for a goal feast. Bruno Fernandes had seven key passes in the first 70 minutes, setting up Marcus Rashford’s goal, then used his eighth to assist Maguire’s equalizer.

Rashford was making his first start and later gave way to… Edinson Cavani? The Uruguay was up to with Cristiano Ronaldo, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer also sent in Paul Pogba for the service. Jadon Sancho then subbed into the game, but it wasn’t for Ronaldo but Mason Greenwood. They were unorthodoxes changes and Solskjaer needed them to pay off. He should also thank David De Gea also made a brave double stop in the 72nd minute to keep United in it, but would the second goal arrive? Nope.

2. Atalanta is pretty darn entertaining: Gian Piero Gasperini deserves so much credit for the work he’s done in Bergamo, especially considering the city’s status as hit hard by COVID-19. Gasperini has now authored three-straight third-place finishes in Serie A and consecutive knockout round berths.

Of course the Italians coughed up their healthy lead at Old Trafford, but you don’t get the feeling that this group is that much closer to being decided before the final day.

3. Ronaldo breaks out of cold snap comes with perfect timing: There were plenty of chances for Man United to score goals and Ronaldo pumped a breakaway into the chest of Atalanta goalkeeper Juan Musso and was later saved on another very good chance before snapping a Shaw cross inside the post to give United its first lead in the 84th minute. Good timing for United’s Champions League hopes and with Liverpool next on the Premier League docket.

Man of the Match: Bruno Fernandes

There’s no question. He was marvelous. Nine key passes, two assists, and four tackles.