Atletico Madrid 1-1 Manchester United: Substitute Elanga snatches first-leg draw

By Sports Desk February 23, 2022

Anthony Elanga came off the bench to earn Manchester United a 1-1 draw in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Atletico Madrid.

Joao Felix's early header seemed set to prove decisive at Wanda Metropolitano on Wednesday, with United's attack having looked largely blunt throughout.

Indeed, United failed to have a touch in the opposition box in first half of a Champions League game for the first time since at least 2005-06, but Elanga took his chance when it came.

The youngster made Atleti pay for Marcos Llorente's poor miss before half-time, and United will feel they have the edge heading into the second leg on March 15.

Joao Felix opened the scoring after three minutes in Atleti's much-needed win over Osasuna on Saturday and it took the youngster just seven minutes this time around.

Renan Lodi dropped an inviting cross between Raphael Varane and Harry Maguire, with Joao Felix directing a wonderful header in off David de Gea's right-hand post.

Testament to Atleti's dominance, it took until the 37th minute for Cristiano Ronaldo to get a sight of goal, and he dragged well wide from outside the area.

Atleti should have been 2-0 up at half-time, only for Llorente to head against the crossbar from close range after United had been caught out by a well-worked free-kick.

Llorente sliced wide as Atleti picked up where they left off, before Atleti tried an audacious bicycle kick prior to making way for Antoine Griezmann.

A woeful Ronaldo free-kick seemed to have capped a frustrating night for United, but Elanga had other ideas.

Just five minutes after replacing Marcus Rashford, Elanga pounced on Reinildo's mistake to finish coolly beyond the poorly placed Jan Oblak, with United holding on despite Griezmann hitting the bar late on.

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