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Atlético Madrid can take hope into second leg against Man United


It looked like Atlético Madrid fans were going to head home happy on Wednesday night until Manchester United substitute Anthony Elanga scored in the 80th minute. A throw-in caught the home team off guard, Bruno Fernandes received the ball in midfield and slipped in Elanga, who made it 1-1 in front of the travelling United fans. United scored with their first shot on target. Ralf Rangnick's team had not even touched the ball in the Atlético box until the 54th minute, when Bruno Fernandes controlled a fine cross-field ball from Paul Pogba, before Stefan Savic was able to deal with it.

João Félix opens the scoring

Atlético made life difficult for the Premier League outfit on the night. They came out to get on top of them, scored in the 7th minute with a superb header from João Félix and never let up after that. United looked scared, they were pinned back, with Cristiano Ronaldo waving his arms around like windmill blades, calling for his team-mates to up the ante.

Atlético tried to get at United down the left, with Renan Lodi particularly impressive for Diego Simeone's team. They didn't find the target on enough occasions despite the spells they enjoyed having, but Los Colchoneros did hit the crossbar before half-time and Antoine Griezmann also hit the woodwork late on.

No away goals rule

The sides will start all over again on March 15 in Old Trafford, and Atlético can remain positive despite conceding the late goal, with no away goals rule in the Champions League. Atlético showed a willingness and a strength to put United to the sword that suggests they have entered a phase of genuine improvement after months of doubt for the reigning LaLiga champions.

In short, anyone who watched the game was left with the impression that Atlético are now more of a team than United. Cristiano only popped up on one occasion, with a free-kick that silenced the stadium for a few moments, but it eventually went sailing over the bar. Despite Elanga's goal, it's still all to play for in the second leg.


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