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Manchester United 0-1 Atletico Madrid: Reds crash out of Europe at home

United are out of the Champions League...

Manchester United v Atletico Madrid - UEFA Champions League Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

Manchester United fell 0-1 to Atletico Madrid to crash out of the UEFA Champions League at the Round of 16 stage. Despite a promising start to the match, they conceded a sloppy counter attacking goal and failed to capitalize on their few good chances. It’s a familiar tale, but on a much bigger stage, and highlights once again just how far behind the top tier of European clubs United still are.

United started off very well, and nearly took a 1-0 lead early on as Anthony Elanga got into he end of a cross right in front of Oblak’s near post. Unfortunately the goalkeeper lucked into a save as the shot was driven straight into his face from close range. United continued to dominate possession, restricting the visitors to breakaway chances, but couldn’t find clear looks at the goal again. Diogo Dalot had a shot saved easily from the top of the box, but otherwise they struggled to open up the defense.

Atletico's patience in waiting for counters was rewarded eventually. Joao Felix found the back or the net, only to have it ruled out for offside in the buildup, but Renan Lodi’s header at the far post counted and put them up 1-0 before halftime. Diogo Dalot was caught ball watching, leaving the opposing fullback open at the back post to head it home. United looked to respond before the break, and Bruno Fernandes forced a good save on a swerving shot, but they went into the break with nothing to show for their efforts.

The 2nd half went about as you would have expected: Atletico Madrid dug in and Manchester United struggling to break them down. Ralf made some subs to make the team more attacking and get fresh legs on, but none of them really made an impact. Raphael Varane nearly equalized off of a set piece, but Jan Oblak made yet another save to deny him. It would ultimately be the closest the reds came to scoring.

United got one last chance in the final seconds, putting everyone forward for a corner, but perhaps fittingly Oblak claimed it before it could reach the area where De Gea was standing to cause chaos. And with that, the Champions League dream was over.

It might be difficult to find anything to play for going into the final run of fixtures this season, as United are in a bad spot in the race for top 4 and are out of all the cup competitions. Rangnick and the squad still have a job to do, and need to recover from this loss if there is any hope of getting back to this stage in the future.