Josip Ilicic rattled in a strike just 12 minutes in which David de Gea couldn’t keep out, sending the home fans into a frenzy early on. A series of misplaced passes gave the Serie A side further chances to add to their tally, but United struck back to level the game just before half-time when Cristiano Ronaldo put the finishing touches to a fine team move.
Mason Greenwood hit the bar from an offside position as United briefly threatened to keep attacking after the restart, but individual errors quickly crept back into United’s game and Duvan Zapata strode forward to put Atalanta back ahead around the hour mark, after a lengthy VAR call overruled the initial offside flag.
United grew more desperate as the game went on but the gameplan appeared to be merely launch aimless balls in from deep, while also suffering constant counter-attacks. Into stoppage time it appeared Atalanta had done enough - but Ronaldo yet again scored late on with a brilliant strike from the edge of the box to save a point.
Here are the player ratings from Bergamo.
David de Gea, 5. Should have saved the opening goal in truth. Can’t really be blamed for the second, but wasn’t convincing with deliveries into the box and might have been beaten by a header or two also - they drifted just wide - before saving Zapata’s late drive with a dive to his right.
Eric Bailly, 8. Made some tremendous first-half blocks and interceptions thanks to his pace and awareness. In truth he was the one member of the back line who was aggressive all game long without leaving his partners exposed and missing challenges - a fantastic return to form. Did get caught sleeping for the second goal but considering this was his second appearance of the season, he was pretty exceptional. United need a few more as committed and influential as his performance was.
Raphael Varane, 6. Didn’t see out the first half before succumbing to injury.
Harry Maguire, 4. A middling first half at best, but a downright poor showing in the second - for the goal he was caught for an attempted offside and then missed his last-ditch tackle, too. Several times couldn’t stop Zapata or Muriel running away from him easily. Not at all a domineering presence at the back.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka, 5. Ineffective at best when moving over the halfway line and cannot claim to have been particularly robust defensively this time, either.
Scott McTominay, 6. Trod a fine line to not be sent-off after a yellow card and another foul or two thereafter. On the ball was sensible and tried to push the team forward but didn’t really stop Atalanta’s fast exchanges of passing through the centre of the park.
Paul Pogba, 4. A dreadful first-half showing which saw him gift possession with alarming frequency, including almost costing a goal with an intercepted pass across his own box. Wasn’t as bad on the ball after the break, but that’s largely as he faded out of the game entirely - then was subbed for Matic with United trailing midway through the second half.
Luke Shaw, 6. Better in both halves than Wan-Bissaka on the opposite side of the pitch. Didn’t produce too many telling deliveries but his build-up play was generally good.
Bruno Fernandes, 7. Marginalised for a long spell in the first half but came up with the moment of quality to open Atalanta’s defence: a smart back-heeled assist for Ronaldo. Some really clever first-time passes and a dummy to create near-openings in the second half, but didn’t come close to finding a second goal.
Marcus Rashford, 5. Started brightly with a few runs behind the defence and some nice moments of link play, but quickly found himself sidelined from the game. Barely had a kick after the break and was subbed with 20 to play.
Cristiano Ronaldo, 7. Started and finished the first half the same way, with a fierce shot. The latter one went in. Not a whole lot in between those two events. In the second half he was mostly restricted to playing short passes with nobody running beyond and nobody providing him with shooting chances - so he just bulldozed his way to a chance of his own and somehow found the bottom corner with not even a half-chance from 20 yards.
Mason Greenwood, 6. On in the first half to change United’s shape to a four-man defence. Little impact in the final third until he toe-poked an injury time assist.
Nemanja Matic, 5. Another who added to the poor individual moments in midfield.
Edinson Cavani, 5. The usual running but nothing of note in attack.
Jadon Sancho , n/a. Was given four minutes.
Donny van de Beek, n/a. On with Sancho.
Atalanta: Juan Musso 7, Marten de Roon 7, Merih Demiral 8, Jose Luis Palomino 7, Davide Zappacosta 7, Teun Koopmeiners 8, Remo Freuler 7, Joakim Maehle 6, Mario Pasalic 5 (Berat Djimsiti 45’, 6), Josip Ilicic 7 (Luis Muriel 70’, 6), Duvan Zapata 9.
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