At the weekend Cristiano Ronaldo was still the celebrated hero with his hat-trick against Tottenham, on Tuesday “CR7” crept off the field with his head bowed.
In the round of 16 second leg of the Champions League against Atletico Madrid, Ronaldo and his team-mates failed to score – the result was the end of Manchester United.
Ronaldo sets a personal negative record: According to “OPTA”, it was only the third Champions League game of his career for the Portuguese in which he was on the pitch for more than 90 minutes without firing a single shot on goal. Previously, this only happened to him in 2011 in the Clasico between Real against Barca and in 2003 in the duel between ManUnited and Panathinaikos.
Rangnick: “We had a couple of good moments”
“We played a very good first half – with a high level of energy, just like we wanted. But we couldn’t convert that into a goal or two,” said United manager Ralf Rangnick.
“We had a couple of good moments where we should have scored but we didn’t make it. In the second half it was difficult to find the rhythm again, it kept getting interrupted, there was always someone on the ground. “
Atletico’s rise was not initially apparent. Rangnick again relied on his Portuguese offensive stars Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes. And the “Red Devils” got off to a much better start.
Anthony Elanga should have taken the lead, but hit Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak’s temple from close range (13′). The Spaniards had big problems. Rodrigo de Paul almost turned the game upside down with a long-range shot. Goalkeeper David de Gea, once trained at Atletico, denied his former club a goal (16th).
Coach Diego Simeone gesticulated wildly on the sidelines and with success: After half an hour Atletico had a lot more of the game. A goal by Joao Felix was preceded by a narrow offside position by the Spaniards, the goal did not count.
United’s protests remain unheard
When Manchester then saw a foul on Elanga, the Madrilenians were already driving the counter-attack, which Brazilian left-back Lodi completed with a header from a Griezmann cross. British protests went unheeded.
“It was definitely a foul on Anthony Elanga, but the referee and the linesman didn’t see it that way. For me, that was the only real moment and the offside goal they scored. Apart from that, we defended well,” said Rangnick .
Atletico defeats “fear opponent” Ronaldo
Atletico knew how to manage the lead. United came closer to equalizing after just under the hour with a Jadon Sancho volley but looked vulnerable when the Spaniards counter-attacked.
Rangnick sent more offensive power onto the field with Edinson Cavani fifteen minutes before the end. The effort remained, as Oblak also saved against Raphael Varane (77th). Hard-nosed “Colchoneros” didn’t want to miss out on the rise.
It was a rare triumph for Simeone and Atletico against “nemesis” Cristiano Ronaldo, against whose teams they had lost out in the premier class in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 (respectively Real Madrid) and 2019 (Juventus).
Koke: “We got what we deserved”
“We played a great game. We fought when we had to and took chances when we had them. It was an even game, both teams had chances. But we knew we got our chances and we had one of them used,” says Atletico’s Rodrigo de Paul.
“We deserved to win the first leg and we fought so hard to get what we deserved,” said Koke. “We wanted to go far in the Champions League and it’s incredible that we’re still there. It’s important for us, especially in a season of ups and downs.”