Manchester United rescued a potentially crucial point against Atalanta in their Champions League clash at the Gewiss Stadium thanks to another late Cristiano Ronaldo strike.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner popped up in the final few minutes to bag the winner against the same opponents just two weeks ago, and he once again saved the Red Devils’ blushes on Tuesday night.
It was a now typical disjointed, desperate performance from United throughout the 90 minutes, though, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s charges relied upon moments of individual brilliance rather than a cohesive system and strategy to stay top of Group F.
Josip Ilicic put the hosts ahead after just 12 minutes when his effort somehow squirmed under David de Gea’s body, but Ronaldo levelled things up with his first of the night following a flowing United move.
Atalanta then thought Duvan Zapata’s well-taken strike had secured a memorable victory for the Italians before the Old Trafford outfits new talisman volleyed in from outside the 18-yard box in added time.
In truth, only Ronaldo and Eric Bailly put in noteworthy displays on the night for the 20-time English champions, with several big-name stars putting in underwhelming showings on the European stage.
Paul Pogba was one of those who struggled in United’s engine room, but it was arguably their captain Harry Maguire who will be most disappointed with his performance.
As per SofaScore, the England international received a match rating of just 6.3 out of 10, the second-lowest of any of his teammates on the pitch in Bergamo and worse than Pogba.
Throughout the 90 minutes, Maguire looked shaky in possession, uncertain of his positioning and weak in his one-on-one battles, contributing heavily to his side’s hesitancy and indecision from top to bottom.
The 28-year-old lost six of his 10 duels, misplaced possession ten times, and committed two fouls, indicating how far off the pace he was.
Maguire’s below-par display saw former Manchester City midfielder Nigel de Jong take to Twitter to criticise the defender, saying: “Maguire again. Smh. Getting exposed every week now. Instead of stepping forward his tendency is always to step back.”
With Raphael Varane potentially injured again and City up next, Solskjaer will be hoping his captain can return to form in time for the weekend, or United risk another heavy defeat to a local rival.