Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice to save Manchester United’s blushes as they were held to a 2-2 draw with Atalanta in Bergamo.
The home side opened the scoring when Josep Ilicic converted Duvan Zapata’s smart pull back 12 minutes in.
Cristiano Ronaldo levelled the score in first half stoppage time following some beautiful build up involving Bruno Fernandes.
Atalanta retook the lead in the second half after Zapata raced onto a ball over the top and finished smartly.
But it was ‘Mr Champions League’ who popped up with a sensational volley in added time to save his side yet again.
Here’s three things we learnt from tonight’s game.
Spurs false dawn
After a positive result and performance against Tottenham at the weekend some of the more optimistic fans amongst the Old Trafford faithful were hoping this was the start of something good for the club.
But yet again United were poor and were it not for the sheer brilliance of Ronaldo, they would have been staring a defeat and possible exit from the Champions League in the face.
Spurs’ appointment of Antonio Conte, the favourite to replace Ole at Old Trafford, should have eased the pressure on the Norwegian, but a beating by Manchester City on Saturday could leave the board with no choice.
Bailly at his chaotic best
It seems to be that customary time of year where Eric Bailly comes into the side, looks to be United’s best defender before ultimately picks up an injury and fails to get a run of games.
Put simply, Bailly was United’s best player other than CR7, all the more impressive considering it was only his second appearance of the campaign.
Despite rumours of a row with Solskjaer having been left out of the side, Bailly made a number of crucial blocks and interceptions.
Eric Bailly’s game by numbers vs. Atalanta:
85% pass accuracy
68 total touches
11 total duels contested
7 total duels won
3 attempted tackles
2 successful tackles
Kept his team in the game time after time. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/UhyYs7V0wK
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) November 2, 2021
Seven successful duels, four interceptions and two blocks highlighted a stellar night’s work for the Ivorian, not to mention the classic moments of madness that United fans have come to love.
Varane injury blow
Having only just returned from injury and shoring up the defence immeasurably, it is a big concern Raphael Varane could be missing for Saturday’s derby.
Varane hobbled off the pitch inside 40 minutes and was replaced by Mason Greenwood as United changed from a 3-5-2 back to a 4-2-3-1.
Solskjaer has since indicated it is a hamstring issue that forced the change and that he did not want to take any risks with his best defender.
With Victor Lindelof not travelling with the squad to Bergamo after picking up a ‘minor injury’ in training, United fans will be sweating on the fitness of Varane, fearing another defensive horror show at the hands of a rival.