Atlético took an early lead and twice hit the crossbar but were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw following Anthony Elanga’s late equaliser for Manchester United.
Anthony Elanga struck just five minutes after coming off the bench to earn Manchester United an unlikely 1-1 draw against Atlético in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League round of 16 tie.
Atlético made a super-charged start which was duly rewarded when João Félix met Renan Lodi’s vicious cross with a powerful header that crashed in off a post – the woodwork would not be so kind to the hosts for the rest of the night.
Lodi was a ball of energy down the Atlético left and played a key role in further first-half chances for João Félix and Šime Vrsaljko, whose deflected header struck the bar just before the interval.
United were lacking in dynamism for much of the night, but that all changed when 19-year-old Elanga came on with 15 minutes left. Moments later he raced onto Bruno Fernandes’s perfect through ball and slotted into the corner.
There was still time for Antoine Griezmann to go close, but the frame of the goal once again came to United’s rescue – their luck was in.
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Diego Simeone, Atlético coach: “I’m really happy with the game we played. Our team spirit was great, our collective work was great, our high press was great. We need to carry on like this.”
João Félix, Player of the Match: “Last week we were practising crosses towards me, and that’s exactly what we planned. We need to continue playing like this and working hard to finish the season well.”
Anthony Elanga, Man. United goalscorer: “I’ve said how calm and cool I am. I just want to give 150% whenever I set foot on the pitch. I always tell myself I want to be the best player on the pitch.”
Ralf Rangnick, Man. United manager: “If we had played another ten minutes we might have won it, but I was very disappointed with the first half. We were far too apprehensive with the ball.”
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