September 14, (THEWILL) – The UEFA Champions League served up one of its biggest upsets in the very first fixture of the campaign when a dramatic late winner from Theoson Jordan Siebatcheu gave Swiss Super Cup champions Young Boys a historic 2-1 win over a Cristiano Ronaldo-led Manchester United.
In the most unexpected of results given precedence and the difference in quality between the two sides on the opening night of the Champions League, an outcome from the match at the Stadion Wankdorf in Bern Switzerland that gave all three points to the hosts was not on anyone’s cards.
However, that was exactly how it turned out in a game that started relatively slowly before a moment of magic that was made in Portugal resulted in an opener for United in the 13th minute.
From the outside of his boot, Bruno Fernandes arced a delicious pass into the path of compatriot Ronaldo. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner sprang the offside trap with purpose and intelligence to hit the ball goalward and even though David von Ballmoos, the Young Boys keeper, got a leg on the shot, the power took it by him.
It was another demonstration of Ronaldo’s frightening consistency being his third goal in two games back in the Red Devils squad. It also extended his continuing record as the highest goal-scorer in the UCL, taking his tally to 135 goals, for now.
The lead brought a sense of measured control to the United game as they began to assert themselves on their hosts. To their credit, Young Boys did not immediately fold after going behind. They continued to chase the game even behind the possession deficit of their play.
Unfortunately for the Red Devils, however, there was a unnecessary red card against them that did nothing to help their cause to begin strongly. In the 36th minute, Aaron Wan-Bissaka tried to pursue a poor touch of his own but he overstretched in a manner that brought his studs hard on Christopher Martins’ foot.
Referee Francois Letexier produced a straight red card for the tackle and United were down to 10-men with about an hour of their UCL opener in play. Initially, Young Boys seemed unable to exploit this numeric strength to their advantage. Christian Fassnacht missed an extremely presentable chance soon after.
Given the freedom to escape an immediate capitalisation of their disadvantage, United swiftly reorganised, sacrificing Jadon Sancho for Diogo Dalot to take the vacant right-back position, while keeping the sustained pressure from Young Boys under check.
Before the end of the first half, there was a controversial decision by Letexier to only issue a yellow card to Fassnacht for a mistimed foul similar to the one that earned Wan-Bissaka his red. At the start of the second half, the referee’s decision-making was called into question again.
This time, he neither awarded a penalty nor produced any card for what looked like a clear penalty and red card offense after Mohamed Camara fouled Ronaldo in the box. A furious Ronaldo was making his voice heard but it fell on deaf ears.
Seven minutes after the hour mark, Meschak Elia’s cross skipped off the turf, allowing Nicolas Ngamaleu to nip in front of Rapahel Varane, who had come in for Donny van de Beek in the second half, and poke an equaliser past David de Gea, in the United goal.
As tough as it was with United defending stoutly and simultaneously trying for the win, there was still time for the hosts to take all three points with a last gasp goal. Young Boys pushed hard to find a winner as United struggled too and in the end, it turned out to be a lucky day for the Swiss side.
United’s Jesse Lingard terribly mis-judged a back-pass and Siebatcheu acted quickly to gleefully jump onto it and calmly slotted beyond a helpless De Gea. The entire bench of the squad were caught up with unrestrained excitement and ran to celebrate with their match winner.
The victory sends Young Boys to the top of Group F with Atalanta and Villarreal still playing. It was a hard-fought and deserving win with 19 shots at goal compared to just two for United. Given the quality they played against, they will celebrate this for very long.
It is an initial setback for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after the stratospheric expectations coming from their squad improvements and the 4-1 whitewashing of Newcastle on Sunday. The group dynamics will change with this loss to make an uphill task of qualifying even steeper. But, they will consider it their fault for allowing what ought to have been the easiest three points slip.