Manchester United vs Atletico Madrid Final – LIVE Football Reddit Score 23 Feb 2022
Manchester United will make the trip to Wanda Metropolitano on Wednesday evening looking to claim an advantage in the first leg of their last-16 Champions League clash with Atletico Madrid. The Red Devils finished top of Group F to advance to the knockout round of the competition, while Atletico claimed second spot in Group B behind Liverpool to ensure that they would be present at this stage. Atletico will enter Wednesday’s contest off the back of a 3-0 win over Osasuna in La Liga, with Joao Felix, Luis Suarez and Angel Correa on the scoresheet, but there is no getting away from the fact that the Spanish champions have disappointed in the league this term.
Indeed, Diego Simeone’s side are currently down in fifth spot in the table, 15 points behind leaders Real Madrid, so the Champions League is their only realistic chance of silverware this term, and they might need to win the competition to secure a position in next season’s leading European cup competition. Atletico were far from convincing in the group stage of the 2021-22 Champions League, winning just two of their six matches against Liverpool, Porto and AC Milan, but a 3-1 victory over Porto on the final matchday moved them onto seven points and allowed them to finish second in the section behind Liverpool.
The Red and Whites have only faced Man United on one previous occasion, tackling them in the second round of the 1991-92 Cup Winners’ Cup, with the Spanish outfit winning 4-1 on aggregate, but they twice lost to English opposition – Liverpool – in the group stages of this season’s Champions League. Atletico also lost to Chelsea in last season’s round of 16, but they have reached the quarter-finals or better in five of their last eight Champions League campaigns under Simeone, while the capital giants have been victorious in nine of their 12 two-legged knockout contests against English clubs.
Man United, meanwhile, will enter the contest off the back of a 4-2 win over Leeds United on Sunday, with Fred and Anthony Elanga coming off the bench to secure a vital three points for the Red Devils, who sit fourth in the table, four points clear of West Ham United on the same number of matches (26). The 20-time English champions have picked up big wins over Brighton & Hove Albion and Leeds in their last two but will now switch their attention to the Champions League and will be aware of the importance of picking up a positive first-leg result ahead of the return match at Old Trafford next month.
Man United finished top of Group F to advance to this stage, collecting 11 points from their six matches, with Cristiano Ronaldo coming up with some incredibly important goals to help send his team into the knockout round of the competition for the first time since the 2018-19 campaign. The Red Devils, who are two-time winners of the Champions League, beat Paris Saint-Germain at this stage of the 2018-19 competition, but they failed to make it through the group stage last term, ultimately dropping into the Europa League, reaching the final before losing to Villarreal.
The Premier League giants have won seven of their previous 11 round-of-16 ties, while they are in the knockout round for the 19th time – an English record – but the club have not managed to make the final of the competition since 2011, and it will be fascinating to see what Ralf Rangnick can deliver this season.
Manchester United make the trip to Spain this week to face Atletico Madrid in the Champions League. Neither side are performing as expected in their domestic league and an early exit from the Champions League could prove disastrous for either manager. We’re backing the 1st leg in Spain to end in a stalemate as neither side look to be in the best of form right now and are bound to be cautious ahead of a Champions League tie that could define their entire season. Atletico Madrid have lost three and won three of their last six outings in all competitions, while Man Utd are unbeaten in their last six matches but three of those games have ended in draws.
Atletico Madrid were away at Osasuna at the weekend and ran out comfortable winners. Felix put the away side in front after just 3-minutes, setting the tone of the afternoon for Atletico. Liverpool old boy, Luis Suarez, made it 2-0 just before the hour mark and teammate Correa wrapped up the points with a third goal in the 89th-minute. Man Utd had some pressure on them ahead of a trip to Leeds on Sunday but goals from Maguire and Fernandes put the visitors 2-0 up at the interval. Leeds fought back in the second half to go level at two goals apiece thanks to efforts from Rodrigo and Raphinha and now it was Man Utd’s turn to respond. Fred put the visitors back in front in the 70th-minute and Elanga added a 4th in the 88th-minute to confirm the victory.
The first leg fixtures of the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 will culminate with two matches on Wednesday night. And in one of the encounters, Spanish champions Atletico Madrid will lock horns with English giants Manchester United at the Wanda Metropolitano. Both teams are having disappointing campaigns and will look to salvage it by progressing in the continental competition.
Atletico Madrid were poor during the group stage as they managed to win just two of their six games, losing three. In the end, though, they just about managed to finish above FC Porto, pipping them to second place by two points, but nine below group winners Liverpool. Diego Simeone’s side have been inconsistent in La Liga as well and head into Wednesday’s game, having won just three of their last six games.
Manchester United, meanwhile, finished as the table-toppers in Group F, just a point clear of second-placed Villarreal. They largely rode on the brilliance of Cristiano Ronaldo to make it through to the knockout stage but have been going through an indifferent run of form under interim boss Ralf Rangnick. They did win their last two matches, though, after failing to come out on top in three in a row.
Atletico Madrid have been dealt a bitter blow ahead of this crucial clash as captain Koke has been ruled out with an injury. Apart from him, Daniel Wass and Matheus Cunha are also missing out, while Yannick Carrasco will be unavailable due to suspension. Thomas Lemar is also likely to miss out after recovering from Covid-19 only recently.
Given the injury situation, manager Diego Simeone is likely to switch to a three-man defensive unit on Wednesday with Stefan Savic, Felipe and January signing Reinildo Mandava lining up as the centre-backs shielding Jan Oblak between the sticks.
With Wass and Carrasco unavailable, Sime Vrsaljko and Renan Lodi could occupy the wing-back slots. They will be tasked with providing the width going forward for the home team, while they will drop deep in defensive phases to make it a five-man backline for Atleti.
Hector Herrera will be responsible for holding the fort in the middle of the park, with support from Marcos Llorente, who will also look to drive up the pitch and add numbers in attack when the Spanish giants press forward. The third midfield slot will likely be occupied by Geoffrey Kondogbia, with Rodrigo De Paul expected to miss out.
Up top, Simeone is expected to go in with the pace and guile of Angel Correa and Joao Felix ahead of the experience of Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann. Correa and Felix have the quality and attributes to hurt a Manchester United backline that has shown signs of vulnerabilities.
Ralf Rangnick is expected to continue with the 4-3-3 formation to which the team is getting adjusted. David de Gea will start in goal against his boyhood club and look to secure a clean sheet. He will be protected by a backline comprising Raphael Varane and Harry Maguire as the centre-backs, with Diogo Dalot and Alex Telles slotting in as the full-backs.
Scott McTominay should again essay the role of the holding midfielder and look to prevent Joao Felix from getting into the pockets of space and dictating proceedings. Bruno Fernandes, meanwhile, is the chief creator for the visitors and is a certain starter in the centre of the park. Fred made a huge impact after coming on for Paul Pogba against Leeds United and could replace the Frenchman in the third midfield slot.
Jadon Sancho’s current form means that he is certain to hold on to his spot on the left flank, while Marcus Rashford could be in line to return on the right ahead of Anthony Elanga. Cristiano Ronaldo, who enjoys a healthy record against Atletico Madrid, should spearhead the attack at the Wanda Metropolitano, where he is likely to get a hostile reception.