United, Benfica earn stalemates in Champions League

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United, Benfica earn stalemates in Champions League

Manchester United escaped Wanda Metropolitano with a 1-1 draw against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday as Anthony Elanga scored late on in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 clash.

Atletico outplayed a sluggish United for most of the match but failed to add to Joao Felix’s early goal, squandering their advantage with 10 minutes to go as Anthony Elanga raced onto a Bruno Fernandes through ball and applied a deft finish to earn a stalemate for his team.

United had the woodwork to thank for the draw as well. Sime Vrsaljko and Antoine Griezmanns’ efforts clanked off the woodwork to safety.

United’s lackluster performance once again raises concerns about their lack of progress under interim coach Ralf Rangnick. In the first half, they failed to register a single touch in the Atletico Madrid box, the first time that has happened to a United side in the Champions League since at least 2005.

Cristiano Ronaldo failed to add to his 25 goals in 35 games against Diego Simeone’s team and cut a frustrated and isolated figure up front.

Griezmann, on as a substitute, curled against the crossbar with four minutes left but a deflated Atletico were unable to restore their advantage heading into the second leg in three weeks’ time.

Benfica vs Ajax:

Sebastien Haller scored on both ends of the field as Ajax drew 2-2 with Benfica in the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 clash.

Haller’s 26th-minute own goal canceled out Dusan Tadic’s opener for the Dutch champions at the Estadio da Luz in Lisbon, but the Ivory Coast striker made amends for his error by putting Ajax back in front just three minutes later.

It was not enough for Erik ten Hag’s men to win the game, as Ukrainian international Roman Yaremchuk came off the bench in the second half to rescue a draw for Benfica.

Haller, however, continued his remarkable individual streak of scoring taking his tally to 11 goals in this season’s Champions League.

Having never played in the competition before this season, Haller is the first player to score in each of his first seven Champions League appearances. Only Cristiano Ronaldo, Robert Lewandowski, and Ruud van Nistelrooy have scored in more consecutive Champions League matches.

 

 

 

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