The Guardian verdict has landed. Nick Ames is your man. Thanks for reading this MBM. Nighty night!
Manchester United are all smiles. Cristiano Ronaldo especially so, as he makes it 699 club career goals. Sheriff were lively in the first half, but United had the quality up front that made the difference. United were in total control of the second half, taking their foot off the gas to ease home. That’s a big win to get their Europa League campaign back on track after the defeat by Real Sociedad… who incidentally have just won 2-1 at home to Omonia Nicosia in the other Group E game. The table now looks like this:
FULL TIME: Sheriff 0-2 Manchester United
Manchester United get the job done, and they’re back in the mix in Group E!
90 min. Maguire and Garnacho come on for Martinez and Antony. There will be two added minutes.
88 min. Pernambuco fires the ball under the jumping wall, but straight into De Gea’s arms. That was pretty weird, given Sancho was lying on the ground behind it doing the draft excluder thing. That’s magic!
87 min. … so having said that, Casemiro comes through the back of Radeljic, just to the right of the United D, and this is a free kick in a very dangerous position.
86 min. United have become a little disjointed since making their substitutions. Sheriff don’t look like taking advantage, though.
84 min. Elanga’s first act is to dribble into the Sheriff box from the left and fall over on the corner of the six-yard box. He springs up, ready to go again, but the referee blows up for handling the ball as he fell.
82 min. Both teams make a change. Ronaldo makes way for Elanga, while Mudasiru replaces Atiemwen.
81 min. Badolo makes some ground down the left and stands one up for Vizeu… but the cross is just too high. Inches away from a header that could have made the closing stages suddenly very interesting.
79 minutes: United get their clock management on.
77 minutes: Other than that, Sheriff have offered nothing in this second half. A huge drop-off after a decent opening 45.
75 min. Badolo drops a shoulder to make space 25 yards from goal. He sends a rising shot straight down De Gea’s throat. That’s their first attempt on target.
74 min. Sheriff make a double change. Rasheed and Ouattara make way for Pernambuco and Vizeu.
72 min. United play a bit of keep-ball.
70 min. United make their second change of the evening. Shaw comes on for Dalot, taking up his usual position at left-back. Malacia moves across to patrol the other flank.
69 min. Sancho and Malacia combine crisply down the inside-left channel. Malacia pulls back for Ronaldo, who opens his body and attempts to steer a sidefoot into the top right. Wide. High. “Apparently Atiemwen’s middle name is Believe,” writes Peter Oh. “It’s his moment for nominative determinism.”
67 minutes: To be honest, this is a bit of a non-event now. Not that United will care. They’re getting their Europa League campaign back on track without too much fuss or drama, and Casemiro is getting himself back up to speed.
65 min. Fernandes slides a ball down the left for Malacia, who wins another United corner. Eriksen takes from this side as well. Sheriff clear, but United come again, Antony probing down the right. He plays the ball forward, to nobody in particular. Goal kick. Antony has been pretty quiet tonight.
63 minutes: Atiemwen is booked for a clip on the heels of Malacia. It wasn’t the worst challenge, and the Sheriff forward is entitled to feel a bit hard done by.
62 min. Fernandes earns a corner down the right. Eriksen takes. Radeljic heads clear. The Sheriff captain is putting in a shift tonight.
60 min. Rasheed latches onto Malacia’s lazy header towards his own box, and tries to lob De Gea from 30 yards. His effort is always sailing over the bar, but the keeper had it covered anyway.
58 minutes: That was one hell of a ball from Eriksen, with a clearance to match. Radeljic has single-handedly stopped United turning this into a rout, with his earlier goalline clearance and now that intervention to deny Ronaldo a certain goal. Nothing came of the resulting corner, by the way.
56 min. Eriksen whistles a glorious ball along the corridor of uncertainty, left to right through the Sheriff six-yard box. Ronaldo waits to tap in at the far post, only to be denied by the telescopic leg of Radeljic, who hooks clear at the very last nanosecond. What defending!
54 minutes: United are in full control, and there’s nothing going on.
52 min. United take what sting remains out of the game with some patient passing in the midfield.
50 min. Fernandes twists and turns, spins and shimmies down the inside-right channel. He nearly breaks clear into the box, but, presumably dizzy, falls over instead.
49 min. Ouattara wanders down the right and looks for Atiemwen in the middle. Too close to De Gea, who gathers. A basketball rhythm to the start of the second half.
48 min. Dalot cuts back from an advanced position on the right. Fernandes arrives late and sidefoots powerfully towards the bottom right. Koval kicks clear.
46 min. Ronaldo scampers after a long ball down the middle. He almost gets on the end of it, but Koval claims. Sheriff go up the other end. Diop should find Rasheed clear on the penalty spot, United’s defense all over the place, but he misplaces a simple pass and the chance is gone.
Sheriff get the second half underway. Casemiro has replaced McTominay.
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HALF TIME: Sheriff 0-2 Manchester United
There’s just enough time left for Malacia to block a Diop volley, and that’s the end of the first half. No added time. Sheriff have asked a few questions, but United have carried greater threat up front, and will be very happy with their work so far.
44 min. Eriksen makes some difference as well, mind, dictating from the center of the field. Here he slips Dalot into space down the inside-right channel. Dalot shuttles it further forward and almost releases Fernandes into the area. Koval does just enough to usher the ball out for a goal kick.
42 min. Rasheed battles with Malacia to win a corner for Sheriff down the right. Badolo takes, but can’t beat the first man. The clearance drops to Ouattara, who takes a fresh-air swipe. Sheriff have given as good as they’ve got for most of this match, but United have the sharper tools up front, and that’s been the difference.
40 min. Penny for the thoughts of Sheriff captain Radeljic, who seconds before the penalty award had made a sensational clearance off the line to keep the score at 0-1.
GOAL! Sheriff 0-2 Manchester United (Ronaldo 39 pen)
Ronaldo gives Koval the eyes, sends the keeper diving to his right, and slams the ball down the middle. That’s his first goal of the season!
Penalty for United!
38 minutes: Antony wedges down the right for Dalot, who races into the box after the ball. Before he can get there, Kpozo clips him from behind. Penalty! Kpozo goes into the book for his panicked lunge.