Omonia Nicosia 2-3 Manchester United: Three things we learnt

Omonia Nikosia v Manchester United: Group E - UEFA Europa League

NICOSIA, CYPRUS - OCTOBER 06: Diogo Dalot of Manchester United and Nemanja Mileti of Omonia during the UEFA Europa League group E match between Omonia Nikosia and Manchester United at GSP Stadium on October 6, 2022 in Nicosia, Cyprus. (Photo by MB Media/Getty Images)

Manchester United took three points after scoring late on in the second half against Omonia Nicosia after playing them for the first time in the competition. The hosts went ahead with Karim Ansarifard scoring in the 34th minute completely against the run of play.

Omonia breaking from United's free kick with three against one. The ball was fired into the top corner beating David De Gea. all ends up. Marcus Rashford equalised for the Red Devils, curling a lovely finish beyond the keepers reach into the far side of the net.  

Anthony Martial would put United ahead for the first time in the game after being on the pitch only a matter of moments. Another wonderful through ball from Lisandro Martinez opened up the backline with Rashford assisting Martial flicking it on in the process. Martial then took it around Nemanja Miletic before drilling his shot into the near bottom corner.

The away side made it three six minutes before normal time, Rashford scoring again after he drove forward before laying it off to Cristiano Ronaldo on the edge of the box, the United forward heading it towards goal with Rashford following in to tap it home.

The hosts did get a late glimmer of hope a minute later, poor defending from Diogo Dalot led to a enticing cross into the box, with Nikolas Panayiotou rifling the ball home, but this was only to be a glimmer of hope as United closed out the game to take away the three points.

  •   United lack a clear identity in their play on the pitch

After a bruising loss to their rivals Manchester City in the Premier League, United seemingly haven't learnt any lessons in terms of their style of play in challenging teams and throwing a big statement of their intent in various competitions. From midfield to attack the transition is very laboured and slow with players like Jadon Sancho jogging and not showing enough conviction in their play against such teams. 

Upfront the same story can be said, however today there was much more shown by the likes of Rashford and Martial in terms of the goals converted in relation to the statistics. But in the big games such players have struggled to live up to the expectations of a new manager and the implementation of a different style of play. More needs to be done for sure if United are to get back to the heights of the days of Sir Alex Ferguson which currently seem very far away and out of reach. Bruno Fernandes in this particular game also looked discoloured and limited of ideas and supply.

  • Cristiano Ronaldo is ageing but Antony continues to show his promising attributes

Ronaldo has been a shining light for United for a number of years but clearly isn't the same player from his first stint. The free kick against Portsmouth in the league sticking out like a saw thumb. Although he had some fantastic moments last season in the UEFA Champions League always getting United out of a hole in the dying ends of many of the games, he has found it very difficult this season so far as he did towards the end of last. 

The forward looks to have lost a great deal of pace based predominantly on age and on various other factors which could include fitness and sitting on the bench with limited game time under Erik Ten Hag. Having looked frustrated this season, last season under Ralf Rangnick  he had a decent season returning to Old Trafford. Many are now calling out for the forward to retire and call it a day.

On the other hand Antony a new dynamic signing from Ajax has shown a great deal of promise. He is a player that has shown a different level of spark every time he has step foot onto a football pitch. Having scored in the derby at the weekend he seems to be a bright light and a good talking point at the lips of many United fans currently, who would be hoping he accelerates on and becomes a very good player for Manchester United Football Club.

  • Defensively United are still showing many cracks and need to tighten up

Conceding two goals today against a side United have never played and another six at the weekend means United have now conceded eight goals in their last two games in two competitions which is simply not good enough. There must be a reason for this, with Diogo Dalot making the mistake to give the hosts a glimmer of home in this particular contest in the late stages.

The class of Manchester City was clear to see at the weekend but in this particular game against such opposition, United needed to really have kept a clean sheet to gain some confidence at the back. Dalot's poor defending led to the second goal for the hosts, as he was caught out in the build up. Too much time on the ball allowed the hosts to pounce and cause problems of their own. 

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