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Dublin: 7 °C Wednesday 8 April, 2020


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Thank God for European football on pretty miserable Thursday nights.

And thank Uefa for staggering the kick-offs between 5.55pm and 8pm.

Our opening act is Manchester United’s trip to the Jan Breydel Stadium as they on Pro League leaders Club Brugge.

Can a reshuffled United side build on Monday night’s win over Chelsea?

Kick-off is in 10 minutes; we’ll have the team news in a moment.

TEAM NEWS: Here’s how the hosts will line out. Liverpool fans might recognise the man in goal while up front, Emmanuel Bonaventure Dennis, scored twice against Real Madrid during Brugge’s Champions League campaign.

Club Brugge: Mignolet, Mata, Kossounou, Mechele, Deli, Rits, Balanta, Vanaken, Bonaventure, Tau, De Cuyper.

TEAM NEWS: Six changes to the United team which beat Chelsea. Ighlao and Bruno Fernandes are both on the bench.

Manchester United: Romero, Dalot, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, Williams, Matic, Mata, Pereira, Lingard, Martial


KICK OFF: We’re underway. Aleksei Kulbakov of Belarus is the man in the middle.


3 mins – Big chance for Brugge early on as United switch off from a throw-in. Dennis nips past the scrambling Harry Maguire and tries to pull it back to Vanaken, but Lindelof bravely puts his head in before Brugge can punish them3


5 mins – Tau and Dennis are already looking lively and trying to make trouble for United down the right hand side. Kossounou slides a low cross into the box from the bye-line but United cut it out.


7 mins – Dennis gets in behind the United back four and is in so much space that he must be offside — and he is; the flag goes up as soon as he touches it.


8 mins – Brugge get set into their defensive shape and United play the ball back and forth, trying to find space with no real return. Lindelof angles a long ball from right back which drops kindly for Martial, but he can’t fashion it into any sort of real opportunity.


12 mins – Brugge are in no rush to hoof the ball back to United once they have control of it. Rits tries to play the ball over the top but there’s a bit too much on it and it bounces harmlessly through to the United defence.


14 mins – Mignolet gets called into action for the first time to get down and touch Pereira’s shot around the post.

Flag 15Mins

GOAL FOR CLUB BRUGGE! Club Brugge 1-0 Manchester United (Dennis, 15′)

What are United playing at?! Brugge lead — and it’s a gift from United who fall asleep completely. Mignolet takes a goal kick quickly and Williams and Dalot let it bounce between them, which is enough for Dennis to nip in and lift it over the stranded Romero.

Was the ball rolling when Mignolet took the goal kick? Not according to VAR. The goal stands.


18 mins – Here’s the goal. Having consulted the replays, the BT Sport team say that it should in fact have been a Manchester United corner rather than a Brugge goal kick.


22 mins – Again, another hit-and-hope ball out of defence by Brugge gives United disproportionate trouble. Romero comes and clears — but he had to come a long way.


25 mins – Brugge looking dangerous again. De Cuyper slides the ball through to Tau, but he just can’t bring it under control. He could have been through with a chance to work Romero there.


28 mins – Another Brugge chance! Dennis plays a one-two and skips into the box where he nudges it past a sliding Dalot, who’d probably have done better to stay on his feet there and not invite the contact so easily. Dennis tests Romero at his near post but the keeper makes himself big and stops it.


32 mins – Maguire cuts out the ball in the air but heads it straight to Kossounou. He brings Dennis into the game again but it’s probably the front man’s worst touch of the evening so far as he hits it straight back to a red jersey.

Flag 35Mins

GOAL FOR MANCHESTER UNITED! Club Brugge 1-1 Manchester United (Martial, 35′)

Well, if Brugge’s opener was a gift, they haven’t wasted a huge amount of time in returning the favour to their guests. De Cuyper, the teenager, puts a little bit too much on his throw-in, which skids off the greasy surface, but the main mistake is made by Brandon Mechele, who lets the ball roll across him to Martial. From there, the United striker doesn’t do a huge amount wrong, taking two touches as he bears down on goal before tucking it past Mignolet into the bottom corner.

All square, but it’s come out of nowhere for United, really.


39 mins – Balanta reaches across Mata and put his hand on his shoulder to pull him down. That, as far as our Belarussian refereee is concerned, is a yellow card — and it rules him out of the return leg in Old Trafford.


41 mins — CHANCE – Brandon Williams! He comes in off the left wing and the ball runs all the way to him at the back post. He’s odds-on to really test Mignolet, but instead, he opens up his body completely and sends it high and wide.


42 mins – Half-chance for Kossounou at the far end but he doesn’t quite get the curl on his shot to trouble Romero.


43 mins – And now a fingertip save from Mignolet to deny Martial! Plenty of action in these closing moments of the first half. Martial shrugs off De Cuyper and rifles in a shot, which Mignolet brushes onto the post at full stretch. A vital touch.


45 mins – One additional minute to be played here at the end of the first half.


Back in five.


SECOND HALF: We’re back underway.


47 mins — Substitution: Balanta, who was struggling before the break, gets an accidental clip on the head from Pereira’s flailing arm, and that’s the end of his night. Ruud Vormer is on to replace him.


50 mins – Frantic start to this second half with great chances at either end. First, for United, as Martial tries to slip the ball back across the face of goal to Mata for a tap-in but it comes off the legs of a Brugge defender and bobbles back to Mignolet, who is able to gather.

And then, at the opposite end, Dennis draws another good save from Romero.


53 mins – And now Vanaken finds himself in the book for Brugge after arguing against what he saw as soft foul as Brandon Williams.


57 mins – Pereira digs the ball out from his feet and has a go from about 20 yards out, but he can’t hit the target and Mignolet watches it wide.


62 mins – Rits and Dennis try to find a way through for Brugge but after a bit of back and forth, Mata intervense and muscles Dennis off the ball before playing it down the right channel to Martial. He’s bundled over without even a hint of ceremony, but somehow, United don’t get the free.


62 mins — Substitution: Charles Katelaere comes on to replace Tau for Brugge.


67 mins – Brugge are doing their best to press United and force a mistake. A 1-1 draw with the away goal would certainly be a better result for the visitors.


67 mins — Substitution: Odion Ighalo is on for United; Anthony Martial takes a seat for the last 23 minutes.


69 mins – De Cuyper skips away from Pereira, who clips his ankles. Accidentally or otherwise, it doesn’t quite matter; Pereira is booked.


71 mins — Substitution: And now Fred is on to replace the just-booked Pereira.


72 mins – Vormer lifts the ball towards Dennis but Harry Maguire wins the foot race and defends it well, stepping across the Brugge man and nodding it clear while also winning a free for a push in the back.


73 mins — Substitution: De Cuyper, the youngster, comes off to a standing ovation; Siebe Schrijvers replaces him.


76 mins – Nice counter from Brugge as Mata steps up into midfield to win possession and then gets Dennis and Vormer involved. Katelaere was the only man at the back post but he couldn’t get to the cross.


78 mins — GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY FOR BRUGGE! How has Kossounou missed that? Again, it’s the man Dennis causing all the problems out on the right, turning Maguire one way and then the other before pulling the ball back into the box. Schrijvers makes a dummy run to the front post, leaving Kossounou with the goal at his mercy, but he drags it right and wide. How costly will that be?


80 mins – Boos ring out from the home fans as Dennis goes down following a hefty challenge from Shaw; Ighalo puts it out of play so he can receive treatment.


81 mins — Substitution: Bruno Fernandes will come in for these last few minutes to try to conjure up a chance or two for United. Dalot goes off.


83 mins – MAAAAATAAA– never mind, he’s offside. Lovely clipped pass from Bruno Fernandes to set him up, but Mata had strayed about a yard off. No need for VAR here.


85 mins – Bruno Fernandes and Mata try to exchange passes on the edge of the box but Mata is having none of it and muscles Fernandes out of it. He wants a free but the referee is having none of it.


86 mins – Free for United, a little more than 20 yards out. Fernandes to take…


86 mins – Off the wall. Oh well.


88 mins – It’s all United these last few minutes. Can they find a winner?


88 mins – Williams lofts the ball towards Mignolet’s goal but it’s easy for the keeper.


90+1 mins – Four additional minutes announced as Lingard’s shot is dealt with comfortably by Mignolet.


90+3 mins – One last chance for United as Bruno Fernandes (again) runs at the retreating Brugge defence and is brought down by Mechele. Mechele is booked and, it looks like Fernandes will hit it again…


90+4 mins – In fact, it’s Mata who takes it, but it’s the same result. He hits the wall.


90+5 mins – Into the fifth minute now as the referee looks at his watch…


90+5 mins – OH! One last chance for United as Katelaere has a free header at the back post but puts it wide.


That’s it. United will take an away goal back to Old Trafford next Thursday night and, after making six changes this evening, you’d have to imagine that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be reasonably pleased with that outcome.

Brugge won’t feel their out of it either — Dennis, for one, proved to be a handful for the United defence this evening.

That’s all from us for now, but we’ll have more news from all of tonight’s games across the evening. Thanks for reading.

About the author:

Niall Kelly


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