So Manchester United stagger on, from a painful night here in Bavaria to Burnley on Saturday. From defeat in an incredible seven-goal feast beneath the futuristic majesty of the Allianz Arena to an old-fashioned street fight at Turf Moor.
Just how bad can this get? United’s pitiful start to the season reads four defeats in their opening six games. If they weren’t in crisis before, they certainly are now.
The problems are piling up for Erik ten Hag faster than he can solve them at the moment. And the worst thing for the United manager on his return to the club where he was once reserve-team boss was that it didn’t have to end like this.
His beleaguered team actually started rather well and twice fought their way back into the game. There is still a spirit about them if not much swagger.
But the moment Andre Onana fumbled a shot into the net from former Manchester City winger Leroy Sane, United were in trouble again. Arsenal old-boy Serge Gnabry scored another before half-time, and although Rasmus Hojlund got his first goal for United since a £72million move, Harry Kane was always going to have a say and converted a second half-penalty. Casemiro scored twice either side of Mathys Tel’s header in a bonkers finale.
Manchester United fell short in their Champions League group stage opener on Thursday
Harry Kane scored his first Champions League goal in Bayern colours against the Red Devils
The England captain stepped up to the spot and tucked his effort into the back of the net
Andre Onana (R) will be disappointed in his role in Bayern’s opening goal on the night
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Munich’s connection with Manchester United is sewn into the very fabric of the club. In tragedy, of course, but also in United’s instinctive ability to fight back from adversity.
Ten Hag needed that quality in abundance after a torrid start to the season and, to be fair, he got it against a Bayern side whose Champions League group record makes for quite frightening reading.
The Germans have won their opening game for 20 years in a row now. It’s six years since they were last beaten in the groups, and five since Ten Hag’s Ajax became the last club to deny them victory here at the Allianz.
While Thomas Tuchel – banned from the touchline here – had the luxury of naming Thomas Muller and Kingsley Coman among his substitutes, United’s injury problems meant Ten Hag put three youngsters – Hannibal Mejbri, Dan Gore and Omari Forson – on the bench alongside three goalkeepers.
It was the man who started in goal for United who was responsible for this game turning crucially in Bayern’s favour just before the half hour mark, however.
Onana had faced the media here on Tuesday night and addressed the murmurings that the man brought in for £47.2million to replace David de Gea because he is better with his feet might not be so good with his hands.
Onana defended himself then better than he defended his goal in the 28th minute when Sane cut in from the right and exchanged passes with Kane.
Sane’s first-time shot past Lisandro Martinez was straight at Onana but the Cameroon keeper somehow allowed it to squirm through his hands and looked on in horror as the ball rolled over the line.
Ten Hag stood stone-faced on the touchline. Maybe the United manager was wondering if De Gea is still available. He is.
The goalkeeper failed to keep Leroy Sane’s long-range effort out of the goal in the first-half
Rasmus Hojlund scored his first goal for the club with a close-range, deflected effort
Youngster Mathys Tel added a fourth goal deep in added time with a thumping effort
Ten Hag must be fearing where the next body-blow is coming from. If his players aren’t unavailable due to off-the-field issues, they are dropping like flies through injury or dropping clangers like this one.
The biggest shame was that United had actually played quite well up to that point. The talk after Saturday’s defeat to Brighton had been about showing more unity and they had certainly done that.
Facundo Pellistri, the one change from Brighton as Ten Hag ditched his midfield diamond and gave the Uruguayan his Champ[ions League debut as a right wing replacement for Antony and Jadon Sancho, had a great chance in the fourth minute.
He looked certain to turn in Christian Eriksen’s cross from close range but Alphonso Davies somehow got in front of him to clear and Eriksen’s follow-up effort was saved by Sven Ulreich.
The Germans certainly lacked their usual swagger. There were misplaced passes here and there, and the home fans howled when Sane gave up on a pass from Kane.
United, on the other hand grew in confidence but it seemed to crumble in an instant when Sane’s goal went in.
Within four minutes Bayern had another. The excellent Jamal Musiala raced down he left pursued by Diogo Dalot and was able to twist inside the United right-back. Musiala laid the ball back to Gnabry who swept it home.
Credit to United, they dug deep after half-time and pulled a goal back in the 49th minute when Hojlund scored after a largely anonymous first half in which he only touched the ball eight times.
Casemiro scored a brace in the dying moments but it was too little, too late for Man United
Erik ten Hag’s Man United side have now lost their last three matches in all competitions
Marcus Rashford laid the ball off for his new strike partner who hit it first-time and a deflection helped his shot past Ulreich.
The renewed hope was extinguished almost immediately. VAR official Pol van Boekel ruled that Dayot Upamecano’s header had hit Eriksen’s arm and up stepped Kane.
Onana messed around with his water bottle and towel to keep the England captain waiting, but to no avail. Kane converted for his fifth goal in the last five games.
Sane hit the post and Onana saved from Kane and Eric Choupo-Moting as Bayern threatened to run riot. Then Casemiro struck from close-range in the 88th minute and United hoped again. They do have previous against Bayern after all.
It was not to be this time, though. Tel headed a late fourth before Casemiro replied again. Burnley will be licking their lips now.
Source From: Football | Mail Online