Wolfsburg 3 Manchester United 2
Disaster in Germany as Manchester United crashed out of the Champions League as they were beaten by a vibrant Wolfsburg and will now enter the Europa League as the third placed team in their group.
Going to Germany with the majority of the first team under doctor's orders meant that van Gaal had to call on all his vast experience in European competitions to guide the Red Devils through the group stage. In the end ıt turned out to be not enough and wıth another poor showing from United they were resigned to the fact that they are just not good enough to feast at the table of the European elite.
The nineteen man squad had an unfamiliar ring to it with many players venturing into Europe for the first time in their fledgling United careers. Included in the mix was Nick Powell, who must have enjoyed being back in the fold for the first time in sixteen months.
The starting XI that van Gaal chose as the players to get the job done was as follows: De Gea, Darmian, Smalling, Blind, Varela, Schweinsteiger, Fellaini, Mata, Lingard, Memphis and Martial.
Varela was handed his first start for United at right back following his league debut as a substitute against West Ham at the weekend. Fellaini retained his place in the side despite a rather mixed performance on Saturday, but there was a return to the starting lineup for Memphis to once again try and warrant his place in the team.
United got the match underway inside a very noisy Volkswagen Arena.
The home side had a great chance as early as the third minute when former Chelsea player Schurrle found himself open inside the area, but he inexplicably fired his shot way over the bar. An early let-off for United and a sign that they were not going to get an easy ride.
United's first effort on goal came from a Mata shot which Fellaini got in the way of but luckily for him he was adjudged offside to spare his blushes.
The opening goal came on ten minutes when Mata was involved again as his defence-splitting pass fed Martial who confidently ran into the area and planted a shot past the keeper to give United the all important lead.
However, it was a lead that only lasted three minutes as the home side immediately attacked and were rewarded when Naldo got in front of the defenders to volley home the equaliser. A soft goal and a rare lack of concentration by the usually tight United defence.
Manchester United Views is a Manchester United blog written by Miles Dunton, with lost of blog posts all about Manchester United. Check out his full blog at http://milesduntonmufc.blogspot.co.uk/.
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