Astana v Manchester United: Europa League – live! – The Guardian,

Astana v Manchester United: Europa League – live! – The Guardian,

FULL TIME: Astana 2-1 Manchester United

The champions of Kazakhstan have beaten the kids ofManchester United. Astana didn’t turn up in the first half, but they came out resurgent in the second, and experience proved too much for youth in the end. Mind you, had Tahith Chong not missed that open goal …

90 min 2:The Astana Arena prepares to party. OK, this might not be peak Manchester United. But theyarestill Manchester United. And the minnows from Kazakhstan are about to beat the famousManchester United.

90 min:Levitt has a whack from 35 yards. Full marks for ambition. Rangelo Janga replaces Roman Murtazayev. There will be three minutes of added time.

88 min:Lingard is booked for a late clatter on Rukavina. Then the seventh United debutant of the evening arrives, Ethan Galbraith replacing Angel Gomes.

87 min:Pertsukh robs Levitt in the midfield, and sets Maevski away down the right. Bernard does extremely well to stick to the Astana man and snuff out the attack.

85 min:Sergei Khizhnichenko makes way for Yuri Pertsukh.

84 min:Laird busies himself down the right, and his sheer persistence wins a free kick just outside the box. Before it can be taken, James Garner makes way for Largie Ramazani.


83 min:Shomko sees yellow for sliding in unnecessarily on Greenwood.

80 min:United have stepped it up again. Laird, who has been extremely impressive on the attack, wins another corner down the right. The ball’s hit long, and Gomes whips it back in from the left flank. Eric is worried about it sailing into the top right, but it goes wide, and he withdraws his hand just before making any contact.

78 min:Another sensational save by Eric! Gomes bursts infield from the left and rolls a pass across to Greenwood, who shapes like Zidane at Hampden in 2002 and batters a rising shot towards the top right. He’s denied by the keeper’s strong hand. The corner leads to nowt.

77 min:United come back at the hosts , Garner and Gomes combining well down the middle. The latter’s bundled over, and it’s a free kick just outside the D. Gomes takes, whipping the ball over the wall and down towards the top-left corner. It’s going in, but Eric fingertips over the bar. A magnificent free kick, and a save to match. The corner comes to nothing.

75 min:Astana are looking for a third . Sigurjonsson has another attempt, coming in from the right, only to be denied by Bernard. Then Murtazayev tries to replicate Lingard’s first-half goal, but his effort flies wide of the bottom-right corner.

73 min:Gomes glides in from the left and tees up Lingard, whose curler towards the top right is deflected out for a corner kick. Greenwood whips it in. Eric flaps, but does just enough to get it away from bother. Astana go straight up the other end and nearly score a picturebook goal: Rukavina deep on the right to Shomko on the left, Shomko inside to Rotario, who shuttles the ball on to Sigurjonsson by the right of the D. He whistles a low drive millimetres past the right-hand post.

72 min:Shaw turns on the jets and whizzes down the left. His cutback nearly finds Gomes in space in the area, but several yellow shirts swarm the single red one, and that is that.

Manchester United’s Luke Shaw takes on Antonio Rukavina of Astana.
Manchester United’s Luke Shaw takes on Antonio Rukavina of Astana. Photograph: Ash Donelon / Manchester United via Getty Images

Updated (at) . 27 PM EST

69 min:Logvinenko is booked for an agricultural lunge on Lingard. A free kick to United, 35 yards out.

67 min:Sigurjonsson warms Grant’s hands from distance. Then United go up the other end and win their first corner for a while, Greenwood’s persistence a factor. A game of pinball ensues, only to end when the flag goes up for offside. “Chong had time enough to light up a cig if he wanted to,” writes Mary Waltz. “Instead he misses. Ah, the travails of youth. ”

(min:) D’Mani Bughail-Mellor replaces Tahith Chong, who will wonder how he didn’t get on the scoresheet tonight. He’ll never get an easier chance in his whole career. Ah well, while it hurts now, the experience should stand him in good stead.

64 min:Khizhnichenko nearly breaks clear down the right, but is shepherded away from danger by Bernard, who has done very well to clear his head after that own goal. An awful slice of luck.

GOAL! Astana 2-1 Manchester United (Bernard 62 og)

Astana rip Uni ted apart with some pretty triangulation down the right. A ball’s suddenly slipped down the inside-right channel for Rukavina, who is sprung clear into the box. Where’s Shaw? Anyway, Rukavina pulls the ball back … and it smacks off Bernard’s head and into the top-right corner, past a wrong-footed Grant. What terrible luck for young Bernard. A freak goal, albeit at the end of a lovely passing move.

Manchester United’s goalkeeper Lee Grant can only watch as the ball flies past him and into the net after it smacked off Di’Shon Bernard’s noggin.
Manchester United’s goalkeeper Lee Grant can only watch as the ball flies past him and into the net after it smacked off Di’Shon Bernard’s noggin. Photograph: Pavel Mikheyev / Reuters


60 min:From the resulting free kick, sent in from the left by Sigurjonsson, Shaw does extremely well to flick a header out of harm’s way with yellow shirts lurking everywhere. The corner that results is a waste of time. But United’s very young team are under the cosh now.

59 min:Levitt is booked for a garden variety coming together with Beysebekov in the midfield. There really didn’t seem much in that, it’s a very strange decision.

57 min:A big 38 seconds, that. Astana have been a completely different team since the restart.

54 min:Something for the home fans to shout about! A free kick out on the left leads to a game of pinball in the United box. Eventually the ball falls to Maevski, who fires a shot inches wide of the left-hand post.

53 min:There’s not a great deal to excite the crowd at the minute. Lingard overruns the ball when presented with a pocket of space just outside the Astana box. The busy Postnikov blooters it long for Khizhnichenko but the striker’s miles offside.

A Manchester United fan in a walrus outfit.
Goo goo g’joob Photograph: Pavel Mikheyev / Reuters


51 min:United get their foot on the ball for the first time since the restart. They don’t go anywhere but that’s not the point. A modicum of control has been reestablished.

49 min:A free kick for Astana out on the right. Rotariu swings it in deep. Postnikov gets a head to the ball but his effort is soft and an easy one for Grant.

48 min:Astana are clearly moving around with more pace and purpose. Beysebekov powers down the left and fires a low ball across the face of goal. Bernard blocks, but in a very uncoordinated fashion, slicing the ball backwards over his own crossbar. Nothing comes of the corner.

46 min:Astana have presumably been given a good talking-to by their manager Roman Grygorchuk. Beysebekov and Murtazayev combine well down the left to win a corner. From the dead ball, Postnikov heads well over the bar.

We’re off again!No half-time changes.

HALF TIME: Astana 0-1 Manchester United

United’s young team have acquitted themselves very well. Though how muchOle Gunnar Solskjaerhas learned from their performance is moot, given how bad Astana have been. They’re giving United all the time in the world to play. But you can only beat what’s in front of you, eh.

(min:) Murtazayev hoicks a shot miles into the air. Fortunately the roof’s shut, or that ball would be halfway to Beijing.

(min:Lingard sets Greenwood clear down the middle. The flag goes up for offside, correctly, and the whistle goes. Greenwood scoops the ball over Eric and into the net anyway, earning himself a comprehensive bollocking from the referee. But no yellow card.

(min:) Shomko makes off down the left. He’s got men in the box. And slaps his cross into the first man. Astana have been dismal.

41 min:Shaw finds Greenwood out on the right with a glorious crossfield spray. Greenwood lays off to Chong, who runs down a cul-de-sac.

39 min:Sigurjonsson is booked for an unnecessarily hard lunge on Lingard. His studs crumped on the top of Lingard’s boot, and you’ve seen red cards given for that. As it is, he’s still on the pitch, with a gui lty but not particularly contrite smile spread across his cheeky face.

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