Manchester United impressed at Old Trafford on Tuesday, defending excellently from deep in a 1-1 draw against German champions Bayern Munich. Nemanja Vidić headed the Red Devils into the lead in the second half, minutes before Bastian Schweinsteiger pegged the hosts back with an away goal.
You'd have been forgiven for fearing the worst in the first few minutes, as Bayern stroked the ball confidently around the Old Trafford turf in classic Pep Guardiola fashion, just waiting for the right moment to slice straight through the United defence. But as the minutes ticked by, the Bavarians still hadn't managed to convert their possession into penetration, with David de Gea only forced into action on a long-range effort from Arjen Robben.
United struggled to keep hold of the ball, but still managed to create the best chance of the entire half five minutes before the whistle. A quick through ball from Wayne Rooney caught out Jerome Boateng, whose momentary slip allowed Danny Welbeck to latch onto the pass and charge through one-on-one with Manuel Neuer. Unfortunately, instead of rounding the keeper or shooting low into the corner, he attempted an audacious close-range chip, which unsurprisingly backfired.
However, his blushes were spared by United's excellent start to the second half. Bayern began to look a little ragged, and United more confident with their positioning and pressing. Just short of the hour, they managed to take advantage, with an inswinging Rooney corner glanced into the bottom corner by Nemanja Vidic. United's captain capped his finest performance of a disappointing campaign with a rare goal, and suddenly we had something to hang onto. But not for long.
With just over 20 minutes left, Bayern's Bastian Schweinsteiger arrived late into the penalty area to smash a Mario Mandžukić knockdown into de Gea's top corner, and splash a bucket of icy water over Old Trafford. The goal put Bayern well and truly back into the driving seat, with United having to refocus on not conceding a fatal second away goal. Thanks to some more deep defending, good fortune, and a late Schweinsteiger second yellow, they succeeded.
Taking a 1-1 draw back to Bavaria is a little disappointing after the second half lead, though is certainly a damn sight better that we'd hoped for after the opening few minutes of the match. It was a disciplined, gritty and tactically-perfect performance from Moyes and United, and one which gives us a very, very slight glimmer of hope for the return leg in a week's time -- especially with Javi Martínez and Bastian Schweinsteiger both to miss out though suspension.