Manchester United goalkeeper Andre Onana emerged as his team’s biggest liability during a frustrating 3-3 draw against Galatasaray in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday night.
Courtesy of goals from Alejandro Garnacho and Bruno Fernandes, Man United got the match off to a lightning start, earning a two-goal cushion that should have been defended.
Unfortunately, it was Onana who allowed the hosts back into the game.
After Galatasaray were awarded a free kick, the goalkeeper positioned himself poorly to face the set-piece, leaving a gaping hole at the far post as his defensive wall covered the near post.
For Hakim Ziyech, it was an easy decision to direct his shot toward the far post, with Onana too far out of position to stop the ball from crashing into the back of the net.
While Scott McTominay restored United’s two-goal lead after half-time, Onana would yet again allow the hosts to reduce the deficit to one goal in an incident that was almost identical to the first goal.
Yet again, Ziyech stepped up to take a free kick, this time from further away and a tame effort towards Onana, who allowed the ball to bounce off his leg and into the goal.
Finally, in the 71st minute, the United keeper was caught napping on his near post, with Kerem Aktürkoglu, thumping the ball past him to hand the Turkish giants the equaliser.
In addition to significantly reducing United’s chances of progressing to the Champions League Round of 16, this 3-3 draw has also resulted in a rather embarrassing statistic for Erik ten Hag’s team.
Conceding a colossal 33 goals in 20 matches, this is United’s worst defensive record at this stage of the campaign since the 1962-63 season.
Even Ten Hag himself spoke out after the match about his team’s poor defensive performances, observing, “We’re winning and then we’re losing. We should have took three points clear.”
The United manager also indicated that backup goalkeeper Altay Bayindir will receive playing opportunities going forward, thereby hinting that Onana cannot take his place in the starting 11 for granted.
While Onana has not been without his shining moments this season, his alarming defensive errors have continued to mount up throughout the campaign.
Referred to as a liability by The Telegraph‘s Jason Burt, Onana continues to make basic goalkeeping errors, with the “sweeper-keeper” remaining bizarrely rooted to the spot when facing some fairly straightforward shots against Galatasaray.
Clearly, United will need to figure out the best way to handle this goalkeeping dilemma and fast.