A night of Champions League history for Cristiano Ronaldo ended in a jaw-dropping turn when Young Boys staged a memorable comeback to beat Manchester United in 10 men 2-1 in Group F.
United looked poised for a routine win in Bern when Ronaldo, who had scored twice on his second club debut against Newcastle United on Saturday, put them ahead in the 13th minute.
But Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s red card at halftime gave Young Boys hope, which materialized when Nicolas Moumi Ngamaleu leveled things with a goal in the 66th minute.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men looked set to emerge with a commendable point after defending one man down for nearly an hour, but there was a notable twist in the finale when Jesse Lingard misjudged a backpass and Jordan Siebatcheu bypassed David de Gea to secure a famous result for the Swiss side.
13% – Manchester United have lost seven of their 11 UEFA Champions League matches under Ole Gunnar Solskjær. 13% of total losses in the competition came under Solskjær (7/54), despite the Norwegian only having been in charge for 4.8% of games (11/231). Fall. pic.twitter.com/5e49OVY63B
– OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 14, 2021
Ronaldo scored the lead goal through the legs of David von Ballmoos, who could not prevent the ball from crossing the line after the Portugal star stuck without marking a superb delivery with the outside of compatriot Bruno’s shoe Fernandes.
Von Ballmoos fared better in the second time to deny Ronaldo the near post at the end of a quick counterattack, with David de Gea forced to make a diving save from Christian Fassnacht’s long-range shot moments earlier.
But the match’s complexion was altered in the 35th minute when referee Francois Letexier didn’t hesitate to show Wan-Bissaka a straight red card for passing the top of the ball and catching Christopher Martins Pereira by the ankle.
Jadon Sancho was replaced by Diogo Dalot to fill the void left in United’s defense, who reacted well until they came under persistent pressure until Ngamaleu hit home on the near post on a low serve from the right of Silvan Hefti.
United looked ready to run away with a point, but Lingard’s loss of composure gave Siebatcheu a simple finish to send Wankdorf Stadium into a frenzy with the final kick.
– The analyst (@OptaAnalyst) September 14, 2021
What does it mean?
In contrast to their unmatched form away in the Premier League, away shortages were a significant factor in United’s group stage defeat last season, when they lost Basaksehir and RB Leipzig to Istanbul.
And another disappointing performance outside Old Trafford cost them here, with United losing after leading half-time in the Champions League for the first time since March 30, 2010 against Bayern Munich, a streak of 22 games turning at the end.
The boys only get a reward
Although United had more possession in the first half, Young Boys had more opportunities, counting eight shots against two of the visitors.
They dominated in the second half with the extra man, squeezing United into their own half and attempting 11 more shots, the last of which saw their energy rewarded with a well-deserved win.
Ronaldo’s records have been blacked out
Ronaldo made his 177th Champions League appearance, equaling the record set by former Real Madrid team-mate Iker Casillas, and scored it with a goal that saw him move to the same level as Lionel Messi by scoring against a 36th club different in competition.
The gap of 12 years and 132 days between Champions League goals for the same club is the largest in the history of the competition, beating Javier Zanetti’s record of 11 years and 315 days for Inter (1998-2010). None of this will matter to him now, though, after a damaging defeat.
United will visit West Ham on Sunday in the Premier League, when Young Boys will experience a very different test, a Swiss Cup clash with fifth division team Iliria.