Match Report: Astana 2 Man Utd 1

Jesse Lingard celebrates his goal against Astana. Image: Getty Images

Manchester United started off the game brightly with good confidence in the opening minutes of the match. Our young team kept probing with the ball and dominated possession. Mason Greenwood almost got the breakthrough in the 5th minute when his left-footed shot was saved by goalie Nenad Eric.

We had 72% of the possession and our passing and movement was very fluid. However, United’s domination paid off after some neat build-up play around Astana’s penalty box. Luke Shaw passed the ball to Jesse Lingard who slammed a low shot into the left-hand corner of the net. The goal came in the 10th minute of the game and Lingard many minutes later could have had another, but his shot went wide.

Lingard seconds later had another chance at goal after an assist by Greenwood, but that went wide too. Then Dorin Rotariu had an opportunity to equalize, but his left-footed shot went wide from a difficult angle. There was another attempt at goal by Yuri Logvinenko but his shot was too high. Dorin Rotariu several minutes later also missed his attempt as it went wide of the near post.

A few minutes after the half-hour mark James Garner’s header in the box missed the target. Astana were gaining more confidence and obtained more possession and they started to create more spaces throughout the field as they placed more pressure on us. We had to do more defending than usual, but our players were well-organized and compact and we dealt with Astana’s attacks. So United went into half-time with a 1-0 goal lead.

In the second-half, the hosts continued where they left off from the first period, and attacked us from the start. But our young players weathered the storm well. Evgeny Postnikov attempt missed a header from the center the box. Then Ivan Maevski from a resulting free-kick took a shot in the box and the ball went low and wide of the post.

But Astana would get the equalizer they so craved. Tahith Chong missed an open goal when he blazed it over the bar from a cross by Shaw. Then Astana went down the field through a counter-attack, and Roman Murtazayev fed the ball to Dmitriy Shomko who ran into the box and scored. It was 1-1 now and the Astana fans were really into the game.

Astana wasn’t finished yet and the Kazakhstan side continued to attack and then an Astana player ran down the right side and put a cross into the box and shot deflected of D’Shon Bernard and into the net at the near post. It was an unfortunate goal to concede, but the hosts deserved it. Astana almost scored again through Runar Mar Sigurjonsson, but he wasted his chance.

Angel Gomes’s free-kick was a beauty that almost flew into the top right-hand corner, but the keeper was equal to it. Then Mason Greenwood was denied a few minutes later when he re-directed a cross into the box and Eric reacted brilliantly to save it. United were having more of the ball and continued to put pressure on the homeside. Tahith Chong came off for D’Mani Bughail-Mellor and Largie Ramazani came on for James Garner.

United would make another late substitution in the 89th minute as Angel Gomes made way for Ethan Galbraith. United tried their best to get that equalizing goal but Astana held on to get a famous victory.

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