Manchester United crashed out of the UEFA Champions League round of 16 on Tuesday, March 15, 2022, when the expectation of most of the fans has heightened due to the team’s performance three days before the second leg of the round.
Recall that on March 12, 2022, Manchester United played one of their best games of the season when Tottenham Hotspur visited Old Trafford for their 29th Premier League game of the season.
In the Premier League game, it was a Cristiano Ronaldo’s show as the 37-year-old Portuguese forward scored a hat-trick to give Manchester United a 3-2 victory over their visitors.
Three days after Ronaldo’s heroic performance at Old Trafford, Atletico Madrid visited the same stadium for the second leg of the UEFA Champions League round of 16. In the first leg of the round, Manchester United waited until the last minute of the game before they could equalize through the boots of Anthony Elanga. The first leg ended in a 1-1 draw.
Hence, when Atletico Madrid came to Old Trafford, Manchester United were expected not to allow their visitors to score first. The hosts did that very well in the first half by having the best of the ball possession. Despite their possession, United could not score first.
In the 41st minute, Atletico Madrid caught Manchester United on the counter and Renan Lodi was at the right place at the right time to head in the opener for the visitors.
After the opener, it became impossible for United to break into Atletico Madrid’s defense. Even though coach Ralf Rangnick introduced Edison Cavani to pair up with Cristiano Ronaldo up front, the team failed to create a clear-cut goalscoring opportunity except for the one that fell to Jadon Sancho which he failed to convert.
At the end of the caging affairs, Atletico ran away with a 1-0 victory. Hance, Manchester United ended their journey in the 2021-2022 UEFA Champions League campaign in the round of sixteen 2-1 on aggregate.
The exit from the Champions League means that Manchester United are on their longest trophy drought in 40 years
So far this season, Manchester United have been knocked out from all domestic competitions. Unfortunately for them, they don’t longer stand a chance of winning this season’s Premier League title.
Hence, before the second leg of the UEFA Champions League, most fans of the club thought the Champions League could be the tournament the Red Devils will win this season.
Unfortunately, the availability of A-list new signings like Cristiano Ronaldo, Raphael Varane, and Jadon Sancho could not help United to go beyond the UEFA Champions League round of 16 stage.
As it stands, the last time Manchester United won a major title was in 2017 (Europa League) under Jose Mourinho. This means that Manchester United have existed for five seasons without winning a major title.
The last time Manchester United had to wait that long before they won a major title was between 1977 and 1983. Then, after United won the 1977 FA Cup, they waited for six years before they won another major title (FA Cup).
Also, United’s exit from the UEFA Champions League round of 16 this season means that the Red Devils have gone beyond the round of 16 stage of the competition twice after playing in the final in 2011.
Aside from that, the 2021-2022 season has proven to be United’s worst season in terms of their win rate since the 1989-1990 season. Their current win rate is as low as 45 percent.
The poor run of Manchester United is not just a bad stain in the history of the club, it is a terrible stain in the profile of Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese star will end the 2021-2022 season without a trophy.
Recall that the 37-year-old Portuguese football icon left Juventus for Manchester United last summer to continue winning titles and to qualify for major individual awards. But so far, the Portuguese star will definitely have nothing but regrets about his decision to return to Old Trafford, a club he first played for between 2003 and 2009.
Coach Ralf Rangnick blames referee Slavko Vincic for Manchester United’s exit
In the build-up of Atletico Madrid’s goal through the boots of Renan Lodi in the 41st minute at Old Trafford, Atletico’s Reinildo Mandava clashed with Anthony Elanga but referee Slavko Vinic insisted that there was no foul. Hence, Lodi’s goal stood and needed no review from a video assistant referee.
After Atletico Madrid knocked out Manchester United from the UEFA Champions League campaign 2-1 on aggregate, coach Rangnick stressed that the “curious refereeing decisions” cost United the qualification ticket.
The German coach said: “There were some curious refereeing decisions, I wouldn’t necessarily say decisive – maybe the one they scored. I believe it was a foul on Anthony Elanga, the referee and linesman didn’t see it that way. He [Vinic] made it pretty easy for Atlético to do their time-wasting antics and it didn’t make it any easier for us. In the second half, I don’t know if the game was played for more than two minutes without being interrupted with someone lying on the floor.”
Manchester United fans attacked Diego Simeone
After Atletico Madrid knocked out Manchester United from the UEFA Champions League campaign on Tuesday, the coach of Atletico Madrid, Diego Simeone was so relieved that he had to run to the tunnel immediately the match ended.
Unfortunately for him, some Manchester United fans close to the entry point of the tunnel were so furious that they had to throw plastic bottles at him. Luckily for the Argentine coach, he was able to escape the attack without being hurt.
Manchester United are likely to face punishment from Uefa after their fans hurled objects at visiting manager Diego Simeone following their #UCL loss last night.— SuperSport 🏆 (@SuperSportTV) March 16, 2022