Scott McTominay and Jadon Sancho stood out as Manchester United clinched a hard-fought 1-0 win over Omonia Nicosia on Thursday.
Manchester United dominated the proceedings from the get-go but took some time to engineer clear-cut openings. But Francis Uzoho was a man possessed once the Red Devils started creating the chances. The Omonia Nicosia goalkeeper denied Marcus Rashford with two brilliant stops, while Casemiro also came close to scoring.
Meanwhile, the hosts were fortunate not to go into half-time a goal down as Bruno Felipe squandered a genuine opportunity. Worse still, the Brazilian winger could have squared the ball for Andronikos Kakoullis, who was clear in front of the Manchester United goal.
But Manchester United brushed off that moment of lapse by continuing to remain on top of Omonia in the second half. The hosts came close to scoring through Cristiano Ronaldo, Scott McTominay, and others. But Uzoho remained in inspired form between the sticks of the visiting goal.
Manchester United finally broke the deadlock in injury time, with McTominay scoring from close range after some fine work by Jadon Sancho. The goal sealed a 1-0 win for the Red Devils, who remain three points behind Real Sociedad. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Erik ten Hag’s men.
🗯 Our match-winner on Thursday's late victory. #MUFC || #UEL pic.twitter.com/9shb36Zt54
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) October 13, 2022
David de Gea: 6/10
David de Gea had a quiet evening as he was busier with his feet than his gloves. The Spaniard misplaced just one pass while successfully keeping a rare clean sheet.
Diogo Dalot: 6/10
Dalot was heavily involved on Thursday, with Manchester United directing a lot of the plays from the right flank. And the Portuguese international was often in the thick of the action, creating four chances. But his crossing was substandard, even though he completed 96 per cent of his passes.
Raphael Varane: 6/10
The Manchester United centre-backs had one or two nervy moments, but they got away unscathed on the night. As for Lindelof, he let Bruno Felipe run off him late in the first half. But the Omonia winger did not even test de Gea, which saves Lindelof’s rating.
Lisandro Martinez: 6/10
Martinez was alert whenever Omonia got past the Manchester United midfield, completing four tackles and two clearances. He also all his attempted duels while playing two key passes, although his output on the ball was sub-par. Martinez was also lucky to get away with an incident involving Andronikos Kakoullis.
Tyrell Malacia: 7/10
Malacia was much better this week than in the game in Cyprus. The Dutch international won five duels while completing three tackles and two interceptions. He was also precise with the ball at his feet (56/61 passes completed) while creating a few decent openings. Malacia might have done enough to win his place back.
VAR is a disgrace tonight! Could have broken Casemiro’s leg, and they gave him a yellow! pic.twitter.com/1AS58rtJ0k
— Terry Flewers (@terryflewers) October 13, 2022
Casemiro seems to be finally finding his feet at Manchester United. On Thursday, the Brazilian midfielder was a rock in the middle of the park and nipped the Omonia attacks in the bud several times. He was unlucky not to beat Francis Uzoho, who tipped his rasping effort onto the crossbar.
Fred helped Manchester United remain on top of Omonia, completing 94 per cent of his attempted passes. He also created a couple of minor openings but should have done better with his shots on goal. All in all, it was a decent outing for the Brazilian international.
Antony’s one-dimensional nature comes under the spotlight in such games. He often took time to get onto his left foot, which allowed the Omonia defenders to take the required position and stop him in his tracks. But he, like many of his teammates, failed to beat an inspired Uzoho.
Bruno Fernandes: 7/10
Bruno Fernandes Vs. Omonia Nicosia :
• 95 minutes
• 101 touches
• 86% accurate passes
• 7 most chances created
• 2 most big chances created
• 6 long balls
• 1 dribble attempts
• 1 aerial duels won
• 2 clearance
• 2 interceptions
• 1 tackle
• 7 recoveries
MOTM 🪄 pic.twitter.com/Q5qBLmuNFF
— َ (@FernandesZone) October 13, 2022
Bruno Fernandes was the creator-in-chief for Manchester United against Omonia, engineering a game-high seven chances. A couple of those openings should have resulted in a goal, only for the opposition goalkeeper to play spoilsport. But Bruno also lost possession cheaply a few too many times and should improve that aspect of his game.
Marcus Rashford: 7/10
Rashford looked the likeliest to score for Manchester United before Scott McTominay finally broke the deadlock in the game’s dying embers. The Englishman got into some promising positions, but the rock that was Francis Uzoho constantly stood in his path. Rashford’s finishing could have been better, but he can count himself as unlucky on the night.
Cristiano Ronaldo: 6/10
Ronaldo, the player to watch in our preview, endured a frustrating evening at Old Trafford on Thursday. The Portuguese international often played outside the Omonia box, with the visitors sitting in a low block. But he helped engineer some decent openings and linked up well with Bruno Fernandes. However, his finishing was lacklustre, and he squandered a few opportunities.
Jadon Sancho: 8/10
🗣 "You see today, he had an impact."
Erik ten Hag shares details about what he has instructed to get the best out of Jadon Sancho pic.twitter.com/qEMhomvIc0
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) October 13, 2022
Sancho was a bundle of energy after replacing Antony and constantly looked to make things happen. The English international regularly forayed into the Omonia box and found one teammate or another. And Sancho’s resolve to create a chance ultimately created the match-winner that McTominay scored.
Luke Shaw: 6/10
Shaw was almost exclusively in the Omonia half after his introduction and supported Rashford well. But he showed better chemistry with Sancho whenever the Englishman moved to the left flank. However, Shaw had some wasteful touches and should address that issue.
Christian Eriksen: 6/10
Eriksen replaced Fred with 20 minutes left in regulation time and kept Manchester United in control. The Danish playmaker barely lost possession but did not create too many chances either.
Scott McTominay: 8/10
Scott McTominay is the first substitute to score a 90th minute winning goal in a European match for Manchester United since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the 1999 Champions League final [@OptaJoe] pic.twitter.com/Tlyx5KUWyT
— United Zone (@ManUnitedZone_) October 13, 2022
Players coming on after the 75th minute do not usually get a rating. But McTominay made all the difference in the game and deservedly gets the highest points. The Scottish international had already come close to scoring shortly after his introduction but made no error in beating Uzoho in injury time.
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