Anthony Elanga saved Manchester United late in the UEFA Champions League game against Atletico Madrid at Wanda Metropolitano after scoring the equaliser in the 80th minute. Even though the Red Devils had experienced players like Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes, Ralf Ragnick had to use the Swedish youngster Elanga to get the equalising goal in Spain.
The youngster was only on the pitch for just six minutes after coming as a substitute for Marcus Rashford and scoring the goal from the pass from Bruno Fernandes.
“I told you how calm and cool I am and whenever I am given an opportunity. I want to repay the manager and give 150% every time I step onto the pitch,” Elanga said after the game.
“I just do what I can do, I want to be the best player on the pitch, and I appreciate the boss. He [Ralf Rangnick] said to me to make the defenders scared and run in behind when I get the opportunity. I have dreamt of moments like this, scoring in the Champions League against top European teams like Atletico Madrid, [it is] a dream come true.”
United boss Rangnick praised Elanga a lot after the game. “In all the games he has played, he shows he is playing with passion and fun,” Rangnick said. “He is just enjoying himself on the pitch, he is aware of his weapons and he wants to show his weapons.”
Atletico dominated the match almost around 90% of the game. The Spanish club dominated the first half, despite United dominating possession, as Ralf Rangnick’s side failed to register a single touch in the opposition’s penalty area throughout the opening 45 minutes.
Manchester United were stunned early in the game when Atletico took the lead after Joao Felix scored a stunning header from the cross from Renan Lodi.
All the eyes were on Cristiano Ronaldo as he has played more games and won more matches against Atletico Madrid than any other team. Ronaldo has incredibly faced Atletico 35 times during his professional career, boasting a record of 17 wins, nine draws and nine defeats against them, managing 25 goals and nine assists in the process. The Portuguese won seven, drew five and lost four of his 16 La Liga meetings with the club during his time at Real Madrid, scoring 12 times and providing five assists.
But, in the United colours, he could not dominate the match as he used to do, affecting the whole team’s performance.
Atletico played with high intensity throughout the game, and they were unlucky not to score more goals. After Elanga scored the equaliser,
Griezmann got an excellent opportunity to take the lead. But his effort hit the bar.
Atletico players were very frustrated after the game, which was evident in Josema Gimenez’s words. “The truth is I’m annoyed. I don’t think we deserved to draw. We did a lot to win. We were totally superior to them in almost every aspect of play,” He said.
The second leg will be played at United’s home, Old Trafford, on March 5.