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Dublin: 10°C Sunday 27 September 2020


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Evening all and welcome along to a night of Champions League action that sees the two Manchester club heavyweights make their bows in the 2018-19 instalment. There was disappointment for Tottenham last night and joy for Liverpool. How will United and City fare tonight?

It’s a trip to Switzerland for Jose Mourinho’s side as they take on Young Boys and a home tie against Lyon for Pep Guardiola’s men. Real Madrid, Roma, Juventus and Bayern Munich are all in action tonight as well but it’s Manchester United’s game that we’re focusing on as they’ll be in action in Bern. Kick off is 8pm.

TEAM NEWS: Let’s look at how Man United will line up. The big development is a debut for Diogo Dalot in defence, the Portuguese player who joined the club last June from Porto. 

Paul Pogba captains the team with Romelu Lukaku, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial spearheading the attacking threat.

August may have ended with that dispiriting 3-0 defeat at home to Spurs but September has been better so for Mourinho’s side. Wins over Burnley and Watford, featuring a haul of three goals in those games from Romelu Lukaku, set them up nicely for this game.

And Lukaku will have happy memories of facing this opposition, scoring five times against them during Everton’s couple of outings against Young Boys in the 2014-15 Europa League.

Young Boys have made a flying start to the season in the Swiss Super League. Six games played have yielded six victories as they have opened up an eight-point lead already at the top of the table. Big step up tonight though in the quality of opponent they will face.

The teams are out and we’ll be getting underway shortly. Pre-match predictions then?

KICK OFF: And the action has begun at Stade de Suisse.


Lively from debutant Dalot down the right wing yields a corner for Man United but from the subsequent cross, Chris Smalling’s header is blocked in defence and cleared by Young Boys.


Plenty enthusiasm from Young Boys as you’d expect in a game of this magnitude for them. They’ve had a few movements in the direction of the Man United penalty box but no clear chances to text David de Gea.


Of course an artificial surface is something United have to adjust to tonight. Might take them a while to get used to the plastic pitch in Bern.


Chance! Dangerous cross swung in from the right wing by Mbabu for Young Boys, Hoarau gets ahead of Lindelof but flashes a header wide of the far post. That should alert United to what their opponents can do. 


Early stages but Dalot looks very comfortable for United and a useful attacking weapon on the right wing. He dribbles forward again with menace but his cross is gathered easily by Von Ballmoos in goal.


First sight of goal for Lukaku for United, he bursts into the box under pressure but delays the shot and eventually fires wide on the near side. Could have perhaps unleashed an effort earlier.


Young Boys really pressing now. Camara pushes into a bit of space and strikes from distance forcing De Gea to tip over the bar. The resultant corner from Sulejmani is delivered well, not for the first time tonight, but United’s rearguard holds firm and they clear.


Plenty of life to this game so far, no goals but a lot of vibrant attacks.


BSC Young Boys v Manchester United - UEFA Champions League - Group H - Stade de Suisse Young Boys' Christian Fassnacht and Manchester United's Luke Shaw in action.

BSC Young Boys v Manchester United - UEFA Champions League - Group H - Stade de Suisse Manchester United's Fred and Young Boys' Djibril Sow battle for the ball. Source: EMPICS Sport


Elsewhere in Group H, it’s still scoreless between Valencia and Juventus. Actually there’s just the one goal so far in the 8pm Champions League kick-offs, Robert Lewandowski putting Bayern Munich in front against Benfica. Earlier, Ajax defeated AEK Athens 3-0 and it finished 2-2 between Shakhtar Donetsk and Hoffenheim.


Neat stuff from Rashford a few moments ago, a flick that saw the ball brush the outside of the post after Luke Shaw drill in a cross. Van Ballmoos looked well positioned in goal though if the shot had been on target.


The home side will have to be pleased with this so far, they’re matching their most illustrious opponents and giving them plenty to think about when breaking forward at pace.


Not good news for the other Manchester club in action tonight either. Lyon have gone ahead 1-0 at the Etihad Stadium thanks to Maxwell Cornet.


Fassnacht turns Dalot and is in a great position in the box for Young Boys but can’t get the ball out from under his feet. When he eventually shoots, United are grateful to a superb covering block from Smalling and the rebound is lashed wide by Sow coming onto it from midfield.


Fassnacht again has a chance to shoot, this time from a more central position at the edge of the box, and he hits a screamer that De Gea punches over the bar. Corner to Young Boys is swung in and cleared by De Gea’s fist.


And suddenly United are in front! It’s all thanks to their captain as well. A sequence of passing from right to left sees Fred, Shaw and Martial involved before it’s squared to Pogba. He flicks it forward into the box, reads the break and shuffles it onto his left before blasting in a super shot to the top corner. No chance for the ‘keeper and the away side are in front!


That’s a sublime intervention by Pogba there, making his mark in a game which United were not in complete control of. That should really settle them down now.


Mbabu is judged to have handled the ball after Shaw hits it and United have the chance to hit the net again. Pogba to take it.


And Pogba hits the net once more! He trots up slowly to the penalty spot but unlike his effort against Burnley a few weeks ago, makes no mistake on this occasion. There’s plenty power on it and despite Von Ballmoos getting a hand to it, the ball spins off his fingers and into the roof of the net.


And it’s all looking very positive for United now, a two-goal cushion in their possession heading towards the break.


So Mourinho’s side two goals to the good at the break. Young Boys started brightly and played with plenty spirit but didn’t create a bunch of openings. United were thankful to that super strike from Pogba and then availed of a fortuitous penalty award to double their advantage. Young Boys rallied to force a couple of corners before the interval but got no reward and they troop in a couple of goals in arrears.


Pogba smashes home his first goal of the night for United.

BSC Young Boys v Manchester United - UEFA Champions League - Group H - Stade de Suisse Source: EMPICS Sport

And his second one arrived from the penalty spot.

BSC Young Boys v Manchester United - UEFA Champions League - Group H - Stade de Suisse


And here’s the rest of the half-time scores in the Champions League tonight, the big news is Man City in trouble against Lyon and Ronaldo has been sent-off for Juventus!

Group E
Benfica 0-1 Bayern Munich (Lewandowski, 10)

Group F
Manchester City 0-2 Lyon (Cornet, 26; Fekir, 43)

Group G
Real Madrid 1-0 Roma (Isco, 45)
Viktoria Plzen 2-0 CSKA Moscow (Krmenick, 29 & 41)

Group H
Valencia 0-1 Juventus (Ronaldo red card 29; Pjanic, 45 pen)
Young Boys 0-2 Manchester United (Pogba, 35 & 43 pen)


KICK OFF: The teams are back out and the second-half action is under way.


Martial skips clear of the defence and into space, he opens to shoot as he advances in on goal but Young Boys get back to block and United will have to wait for a third goal.


United’s front trio are threatening early in this second half but the final pass is going astray. Rashford saw an attempt to find Lukaku blocked then Martial sprayed a pass wide of Rashford as they tried to counter. Young Boys have looked rattled but they go up the other end through Sulejmani and he smashes a cross in that Assalé can’t get a strong enough touch on to divert it in.


Rashford lines up a free-kick for United but never catches it cleanly and it cannons off the wall. Young Boys are taking off Fassnacht with Ngameleu coming on, Aebischer replaced Sow a few moments ago as the Swiss side shuffle their pack.


Game, set and match! That settles it in United’s favour surely. They raid from deep and have the numbers as Pogba surges into space. He’s got plenty options but he opts to feed Martial to his left, who strides into the box and tucks in a shot with his right that takes a deflection before nestling in the back of the net. Three goals up and United are cruising.


Goal news from elsewhere in the Champions League since half-time. Bernardo Silva has pulled a goal back for Man City against Lyon, they trail 2-1. Pjanic has put Juventus ahead 2-0 against Valencia, Gareth Bale’s goal sends Real Madrid 2-0 clear against Roma and it’s a similar score in Portugal with Bayern Munich’s doubled thanks to Renato Sanches.


Subs: United launch Juan Mata and Marouane Fellaini into the action from the bench with Marcus Rashford and Fred withdrawn.


Chance! Young Boys somehow fail to hit the net! Another well-struck corner is popped across by Sulejmani and it falls perfectly to Camara, up from the back. It should be straightforward to tap home but he sidefoots the wrong side of the post and David de Gea has still kept a clean sheet.


Subs: A well-deserved break for Paul Pogba after his evening’s work. The scorer of two goals and creator of the third is withdrawn as Andreas Pereira comes on. Hoarau off for Young Boys and Nsame is introduced.


BSC Young Boys v Manchester United - UEFA Champions League - Group H - Stade de Suisse Anthony Martial slots home the third goal of the night for Man United. Source: EMPICS Sport


Chance! And we nearly had a fourth United goal there. Shaw made the ground on the left and banged in a low cross that was met perfectly by Mata, who struck it beautifully but saw the ball whistle the wrong side of the post instead of ending up in the bottom corner. Feels like they’ll keep pressing in the last ten minutes or so.


United content to pass the ball around and protect this position. They’re going to make a winning start to this season’s group stages.


Three minutes of stoppage time.


This sets United up nicely with games against Wolves and West Ham in the league to come, Derby in the EFL Cup next week before their a Champions League tie on 2 October at home to Valencia.


United have the ball in the net but are not awarded their fourth goal. Lukaku penalised for being offside after he had bundled home Dalot’s cross.

And that’s it in Bern, a fine start to their campaign in Europe for Manchester United. They struck three goals and kept a clean sheet to take the full points on offer. Their captain Pogba was superb in smashing home two first-half goals and setting up Martial for the third. A third successive win on the spin for Mourinho’s men, it’s been a very good September for them so far.

And here’s the rest of the full-time scores in the Champions League tonight.

Man City suffered a major setback with their loss but big guns Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Juventus – even without Ronaldo for long stages after his red card – all triumphed.

Group E
Ajax 3-0 AEK Athens (Tagliafico, 46; Van de Beek, 77; Tagliafico, 90)
Benfica 0-2 Bayern Munich (Lewandowski, 10; Sanches, 54)

Group F
Shakhtar Donetsk (Ismaily, 27; Barberan, 81) 2-2 Hoffenheim (Grillitsch, 6; Nordtveit, 38)
Manchester City (Silva,67) 1 -2 Lyon (Cornet, 26; Fekir, 43)

Group G
Real Madrid 3-0 Roma (Isco, 45; Bale, 58; Diaz, 90)
Viktoria Plzen(Krmenick, 29 & 41) 2-2 CSKA Moscow (Chalov, 49; Vlasic, 90 pen)

Group H
Valencia 0-2 Juventus (Ronaldo red card 29; Pjanic, 45 pen; Pjanic, 51 pen)
Young Boys 0-3 Manchester United (Pogba, 35 & 43 pen; Martial 66)

And that’s all from us, thanks for joining in tonight’s coverage. More reaction later on The42.

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole


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