Manchester United beat Wolfsburg 2-1 at Old Trafford in Group B of the Champions League on Wednesday night.
They badly needed the win after a disappointing loss to PSV Eindhoven in their tournament opener, but Wolfsburg didn’t make it easy for them.
The Germans took an early lead thanks to a well-worked 4th minute goal from Daniel Caligiuri. Some neat passing moves on the edge of the box allowed Max Kruse to play in the midfielder, and the 27 year old finished smartly.
The visitors more than matched their more illustrious hosts for most of the first half, and had chances to extend their advantage.
With the fans starting to display their frustration, United had a lucky break when Juan Mata’s cross hit Caligiuri’s arm, with the ref pointing to spot.
Mata himself stepped up, sending ‘keeper Diego Benaglio the wrong way.
The winner came via Chris Smalling in the 53rd minute. He reacted first to prod home Mata’s instinctive flick after Wolfsburg had repeatedly failed to clear their lines.
Thereafter United controlled the game, holding on to their advantage for an important win.
Man of the Match Juan Mata told BBC Sport that they knew the pressure was on, and the whole team was delighted with the three points:
“It was a very tough game because we were physically tired at the end. But we did what we had to do… We knew we had to win today. We are happy”.
The result gives United their first victory in Group B. CSKA Moscow beat PSV 3-2 in the night’s other game, meaning all four sides in the are now level on three points.
Read on to see how United’s men fared individually…
GK: David De Gea – 7/10
Faultless for the Wolfsburg goal, and made several important saves as the night wore on.
RB: Antonio Valencia – 6/10
Went off at half time with a knock. Had a quiet game throughout his time on the pitch.
CB: Chris Smalling – 7.5/10
Scored the crucial winner and won lots of importance defensive headers.
CB: Danny Blind – 7.5/10
Competent and composed. Blind could be a really asset to United if they can get out of their group.
LB: Darmian – 7/10
A strong defensive display was complimented by industrious attacking play.