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Cristiano 77',Jadon Sancho 89'

Villarreal 0-2 Man United summary: score, goals, highlights, Champions League

VILLARREAL, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 23: Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United bumps fists with team mate Jadon Sancho prior to the UEFA Champions League group F match between Villarreal CF and Manchester United at Estadio de la Ceramica on November 23, 2021 in

Villarreal 0-2 Man Utd: UCL Group F - how it happened

United qualify

As you can see, that result secures the Premier League club's passage into the Round of 16 - where there's more money earned - and Villarreal fans will be keeping close tabs on the later game between Atalanta and Young Boys.

They're not out yet!



Goals: Cristiano (78'), Sancho (90')


Peep, peep, peeeep! Game over and United leave with all three points and a place in the Champions League Last 16.


Sancho goes off to lots of applause from the away fans...Mata comes on to plenty cheers and applause from the whole stadium.


We'll have three minutes of added time.



What a hit from Sancho!!

Fred wins it back, to McTominay, to Cristiano, to Fernandes and his first touch lay-off sets the English winger up to fire hard and high in off the crossbar.

Definitely one to check out on the highlights later. Game over!


United stepping up

That goal, despite it coming from a mix-up at the back, has changed the whole complexity of this game.

Ronaldo - from another mess in Villarreal's defence - and then Rashford - from his own solo counter - both go close.


I don't want to say I predicted this happening (although feel free to scroll down and make your own mind up) but the concern now is that Villarreal need to find a spark to reignite their match.

Before the goal, it was feeling ever flatter, and changing the pace can be tough, especially as United have a new spring in their collective step.



Cristiano Ronaldo, who else?!

Just as both teams were feeling each other out, Rulli plays a short pass out of goal that is won back by the Portugal star. With the keeper stranded, a controlled lob is all that is needed into the empty net.


Emery decides he needs to freshen it up:

Chukwueze and Moreno ON

Pino and Trigueros OFF


Rulli called into action

Sancho would have backed himself to score there, skipping past the final defender, after a lovely ball into him by Fernandes, before picking his spot.

Only a reactionary foot from the home keeper stops him.


Whether to do with the substitutions or not, United have, for the first time in this second half, started to play some football.

Rashford may have been offside when he was picked out over the top, but it came after some neat exchanges in the midfield. Similarly Ronaldo is involved in more build-up and there seems to be an overall lift in what the blue shirts feel they can do here.

A check on the stats...

Yellow cards
red cards
fouls won
fouls committed
Contested balls where possession is lost
Ball recoveries

Two changes being made by Carrick, and more evidence of the strength in depth of this underperforming squad:

Rashford and Fernandes ON

Martial and Van de Beek OFF


Another chance comes the way of the home side. Danjuma striking after some intricate play to get to him, but it flies well over De Gea's goal.

This game has all the hallmarks of a totally undeserved late United win. The have form.


De Gea aka Superman

What a save from the keeper once again! This was the pick of the lot.

Emery's men had opened up the defence well but it was actually a deflection that fell nicely for Trigueros to strike, just to the right of the penalty spot.

He catches it cleanly enough, down into the ground, but a powerful hand from the keeper not only gets to it but slaps it high and away for a corner.


The home team continue their passing game - only a tame Fred shot from distance has broken that up - but have moved the whole unit forward, now building a base for attacks just inside the United half.

Ronaldo is trying to support his midfield in closing them down but the collective effort is uncoordinated.


Danjuma seems to fancy this.

He was missing for Villarreal's 1-1 draw against Celta Vigo at the weekend due to an ankle knock but seems up for having a real go. Just like Sancho for United, though, he needs more of the ball in the right areas.


When United do win the ball back they have to work harder to keep hold of it. We've just seen a perfect example of this as McTominay is harried into a rushed pass forward from the middle of his own half.

Not only is the ball quickly turned over from that pressure, but the Scot hurts himself in the process. He's fine to continue though.


Well, it's a similar start to the first half. United are sitting even further off, however, and the home side patiently passing in their own third.

Are they both playing for a draw already? (I don't actually believe they are)

Peep! We're back underway. Villarreal getting us going and no kicking right to left as I look on.

Teams are heading back out. United first... and then a good minute or so before their hosts join them.

A quick scan across the faces and I can't see any changes from either Emery or Carrick.

Villarreal control, De Gea and Ronaldo free-kicks

There's not a whole lot to grab the attention in that first 45 minutes but a couple of things jump to mind.

The summary of the half is certainly that Villarreal have had the bulk of the control, dominating possession and dictating much of the flow. That said, there was an obvious, yet unremarkable, balancing up after about two-thirds of the way through.

In terms of goalmouth action, both sides had their chances but De Gea's two reaction saves were the standout moments. How often the Spanish stopper has rescued the Red Devils in challenging times.

The only other thing I'm going to mention - mainly because social media is filled with comments about it - is Ronaldo's direct free-kick attempt. It's been five years and two months since his last one the Champions League went in. Surely someone else should be allowed a go!


Peep! Brych brings the first-half to an end.

Not a classic, but there were moments to at least acknowledge, which I'll do now...


As time ticks towards half-time, there is not much of anything looking likely but then Wan-Bissaka helps out.

The right-back attempts to beat his man, fails, is robbed, and the dangerous Danjuma is set free down the inside channel.

The Nigerian had an option to cross but instead goes for the spectacular, near-post, net breaker. It's unlikely to make it into his highlights reel.

Action shots

Some stills here showing the players doing their day job.


There's definitely been a vast improvement in United's play in the last 10 minutes, although the bar was pretty low.

Sancho looks much more keen to get himself on the ball as he pulls out on the right wing. One such involvement sees the Englishman slide a perfectly weighted pass between three defenders in close proximity, Van de Beek latching onto it.

It's cleared away but small signs of something brewing for the visitors.


On the back of that positive play from the visitors, Tello goes down on the edge of the area and a free-kick is awarded in a position that has a certain Portuguese veteran licking his lips.

Ronaldo steps up and...smack the ball hard into the middle of the yellow wall. Villarreal come away with it but then choose to kick it out of play so that Fred can get some attention.


Finally the Premier League side get forward in useful numbers and cause some problems.

First it's an excellent cross in from the right wing from Sancho - yes, that's where he can be dangerous - which is only just flicked away from a certain goal.

The play continues and another cross is delivered from deeper on the left, reaching the man you want it to: Cristiano. Unfortunately for him the effort lacks power and Rulli gathers with ease.


De Gea to the rescue

What a save from the Spanish keeper!

A long pass over the defence is caught and a first-time cut back to Trigueros sees him drill one low and hard, potentially taking a deflection en route to goal. That is until a strong glove flies out and parries away.


More frustration for any United fan watching on as another potential attack (there haven't been many) breaks down before it even begins.

This time it's followed by a Cristiano grunt at Van de Beek. Not what he'll want right now as he hopes to cement his place.


The whole pace of this game has slowed. United are offering almost nothing, allowing their hosts to dictate play.

Even when the likes of Martial and Ronaldo press, the defenders in yellow are composed enough to find their own man and maintain control.


United formation

They've not really had enough of the ball to work out their attacking plan tonight but Sancho - remember that near 100 million winger - is being forced to tuck in to cover.

Whoever the new boss is, getting the best out of players like Sancho has to be a priority. So much talent being wasted.


Whether by design or with a small dash of fortune, Villarreal get themselves out of United's attempted press in their own box. Albiol is showing his class again in that!

As they tempt their guests in, a slick - some would say risky - pass between them creates a breakaway opportunity. That's happened a few times in recent minutes.

Tie a yellow ribbon

The fans are making themselves heard. There's even a big drum out there.


For anyone expecting United to suddenly turn into a new side a couple of days after being battered by Watford in the Premier League, this opening quarter of an hour should make it clear.

The home side are dominating proceedings and United yet to find any hint of a rhythm. Long way to go though.

"It's Carrick, you know, hard to believe he's not Scholes"

An interesting choice of songs for the fans to be singing given Scholes's public opinion on Carrick's position.


Villarreal start well

Again patient build up from the Yellow Sub eventually sees them stretch United's defenders out the left before a low diagonal is directed towards Pino.

His first touch creates space outside the defender but his powerful effort is wide of De Gea's upright.

It's a good opening spell from the Spanish side.


After that early scare, Villarreal get their chance to build and Moi Gomez stings a diving De Gea's fingers with a low drive across goal.

That seems to have settled the hosts who are knocking the ball around the centre of the pitch looking for an opening to present itself.


That free-kick allows a fantastic delivery into a crowded area and only a last gasp defensive flick takes it away from Ronaldo to tap home. McTominay still meets it at the back post but heads into the side netting.


Playing right to left as I watch on, Cristiano Ronaldo gets an early touch wide of the Villarreal penalty area. He goes down rather easily and the ref gives him one of those 'nice try, lad' looks.

As players from both sides get their own touches of the ball, Martial is then brought down fairly centrally and giving United a chance to deliver.

Peeeeep! The extremely experienced Felix Brych gets the ball rolling.

Let's go!

Kick-off delay

In case you're wondering why I've not told you about a whistle being blown quite yet, it's because the ref is having some tech problems.

After some checks of his portable equipment at the side of the pitch, he's fired down the tunnel to get things sorted.

Unconfirmed reports say he's off to the local Target store for an early Black Friday deal.

Solskjaer: gone but not forgotten

The fans are singing about their sacked coach ahead of kick-off.

The new man in charge will hope they've got a couple of ditties about him at the ready.

Who looks more confident?

A quick glimpse of the players of both teams as they listen to the famous Champions League anthem.

Tunnel time

Yes, you'll be pleased to hear that we are now just moments away from kick-off. The teams are in the tunnel which means you may just about have time to absorb this interesting read from Sid Lowe. Be quick though...

Villarreal-Man Utd player reminder

In case you're wondering about the absence of some players, let's have a quick recap.

Raphael Varane remains sidelined with a hamstring injury, while Paul Pogba is also out for up to three months with a thigh injury sustained with the French national team. Mason Greenwood is isolating after testing positive for covid-19.

The biggest problem for Villarreal is that their top scorer Gerard Moreno has been ruled out of this game, and was not on the bench at the weekend. In positive news, winger Arnaut Danjuma, who caused real issues for Diogo Dalot in the first game at Old Trafford, has recovered from an ankle injury in time for this. Let's see how sharp he is.

Following Ferguson

As I've said, Carrick is there in a temporary role - much like Solskjaer and Ryan Giggs were before him. All three are former players who know Old Trafford and the culture at United better than most but the club has struggled to emulate the kind of successes they enjoyed during Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign. During his 27 seasons at United, Sir Alex won 28 major trophies, including the Premier League 13 times.

He remains the most successful manager of all-time in world football, so following him was always going to be an almost impossible task.

The managers who had the task of following Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United were always fighting to reach a high bar. Andy Hall reflects back on them.

United manager search

Ok, ok, my focus is definitely on the game tonight, but there's no getting away from the fact that arguably the biggest club in the world is in a mess and who steps in next is crucial.

One of those names being discussed is the former Villarreal manager (he made more of an international name of himself at the Camp Nou), Ernesto Valverde.

As Jamie Jackson reports, though, if he was given the role, he'd be interim (not interim-interim!) boss.

The new man Carrick!

Well here he is arriving at the stadium. Champions League fourth group game is not a bad way to start your first managerial role.

To be honest, although Carrick's taking an interim step up, he's more than familiar with every nook and cranny of the club.

Everyone loves a bouncy

If you're looking for a home win tonight, here's an easy song to learn and get behind the team.

Champions League Tuesday

Here is the list of all of tonight's UCL fixtures.

I mentioned Atalanta before and they will know the situation when they take to the field at 9pm CET (3pm ET).

I'll bring you more info later but our live game later will be Benfica's trip to another team with a new-look dugout, Barcelona.

How they stand: Group F

At first glance, this table looks more than positive for these two clubs, both sitting in the qualifying positions. But the numbers explain just how precarious it could be...

Atalanta will be expected to beat Young Boys in tonight's other Group F game which would see any loser in our main game drop to third.


Fernandes dropped

Well, it may not have been the decision everyone expected but Carrick has dropped Bruno Fernandes to the bench for this game.

Almost forgotten man Van de Beek comes in - he did nick a goal against Watford after coming on to fans' chants, and is given another chance to show his talents. Fred and Martial are back in too!

Starting XI: Man Utd

De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Telles, Maguire, Lindelof, Fred, McTominay, Van de Beek, Martial, Sancho, Ronaldo

OK, so at least one interesting call from Carrick. I'll dig into the teams in a minute.

Starting XI: Villarreal

Rulli, Albiol, Torres, Foyth, Trigueros, Estupinan, Parejo, Capoue, Danjuma, Pino, Moi Gomez

Thoughts on this Yellow Submariners?

Checking out the venue

The United social media team have been taking their own snaps of the pitch for tonight's game.

And word is that team news is coming in. First up the home side...

The Villarreal UCL walk

Ever longed to know how it felt to step out of the Estadio de la Cerámica tunnel and into the dugout.

Here you go...

Carrick steps up for United

There is no doubt that the biggest news surrounding Manchester United in the last couple of days has been the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Tonight sees the interim-interim* manager Michael Carrick take charge and we'll find out very soon if he's making any significant changes to the starting XI of late.

*According to the statement from the club, Carrick steps up while they find a 'real' interim manager to take them through to the end of the season before appointing a permanent manager at the end of the season. (Talk today - following some raised eyebrows about this plan - is that they're actually pushing for this to be brought forward)

Villarreal vs Man Utd: welcome

Hello and a very warm welcome to you! My name is Cal and I'm here to keep you fully across this intriguing Champions League clash from Spain as Manchester United visit Villarreal.

No matter where in the world you are joining me from, I'll aim to have the information you need in front of you as quick as your internet connection will allow.

Let's get the build up underway...