Manchester United take on Atletico Madrid with a place in the Champions League quarter-finals at stake.
The first leg in Spain last month ended all square at 1-1, with a late Anthony Elanga goal cancelling out Joao Felix’s opener. Of course, with the lack of an away-goals rule this season, it leaves tonight’s tie here at Old Trafford delicately balanced.
United come into the game off the back of a morale-boosting 3-2 Premier League victory over fellow top-four chasers Tottenham Hotspur, with Cristiano Ronaldo delivering a hat-trick.
The Portuguese icon, buoyed by that performance which flew in the face of recent criticism, will be licking his lips at the prospect of facing Atleti. He’s scored 25 goals in 36 previous games against Los Rojiblancos.
The Red Devils will be reliant on him for the Champions League-winning experience, with Ronaldo eyeing an unlikely, record-breaking sixth European crown. He is undoubtedly the man for the big occasion, and will draw on previous famous match-winning displays at this stage – such as against Atleti in March 2019, when he single-handedly overturned a 2-0 deficit.
MORE: How many career hat-tricks does Ronaldo have?
Atleti, still the reigning champions of Spain, are enduring perhaps their most difficult season under Diego Simeone to date. With his European pedigree in masterminding tight victories and impressive defensive displays on the road, the Argentinian will hope to provide some respite from domestic struggles which see his side 15 points off local rivals Real Madrid.
Sporting News is live from Old Trafford this evening, with updates throughout the 90 minutes below.
Man United vs. Atletico Madrid live score
Man United 0 (1)
Atletico Madrid 0 (1)
Man United vs. Atletico Madrid live updates
22nd min: Fred has looked like a man reborn in recent weeks, and he’s central to United’s forward play here. He’s always finding space, always calling for the ball, and producing when he gets it. The Brazilian has plenty to work with in front of him, too, with a lot of interchange of positions between Ronaldo, Fernandes and Elanga.
20th min: Fernandes goes down in the box, and stays down, but the referee is uninterested in awarding a penalty.
15th min: Superb long-range strike from Rodrigo De Paul saved by a scrambling De Gea. That was a lovely effort. Nothing comes from the resulting corner.
12th min: Huge chance! Ronaldo, dropping deeper, plays in Fernandes down the right and he tees up Elanga at point-blank range. The first-leg hero hits it straight at Oblak, though. Promising start for the hosts.
8th min: It didn’t lead to anything, but an early moment of nerves from David De Gea against his boyhood club is not what the home fans want to see, with Antoine Griezmann deflecting his kick when the goalkeeper had plenty of time.
7th min: Marcos Llorente is in for a tough night on Atleti’s right flank, it seems. All of United’s best play coming down that side, with both Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho looking in the mood.
4th min: First chance of the game goes to United. Elanga challenges for a header and it just goes over, as the forward clashes with Jan Oblak.
2nd min: Ronaldo roundly booed by the Atletico fans when he touches the ball. First searching ball of the game from the back for Fernandes comes to nothing.
KICK-OFF: We’re underway!
3:50pm: Ten minutes from kick-off and the atmosphere is building. Atleti fans in great voice here at Old Trafford.
3:40pm: Back to Varane, and the defender has spoken of how crucial the Old Trafford atmosphere is on an occasion such as tonight: “For the emotional moments in the Champions League, the stadium is very important. The atmosphere is not a detail… it’s really important. At the top level, it’s about energy. When you have this adrenaline and this energy, you have to enjoy your moment.”
3:25pm: Surprisingly, United and Atletico do not have a big European history together. They’ve only previously met once before – in the 1991/92 Cup Winners’ Cup, which saw a 4-1 aggregate victory for the Spanish side.
3:10pm: Atletico have struggled to make inroads in the latter stages of the Champions League in recent seasons, with just one quarter-final appearance since 2016/17. That sole progression from the round of 16, in 2019/20, did come in this part of the world, however – Simeone’s men famously knocked out Liverpool with a smash-and-grab performance at Anfield.
2:56pm: For United, meanwhile, in-form youngster Elanga is rewarded with a massive opportunity on the big stage.
2:54pm: Diego Simeone’s team news is here. A 3-5-2 (or 5-3-2 out of possession) as expected, with former Liverpool superstar Luis Suarez on the bench.
2:45pm: If the Red Devils bow out of the competition tonight, it will all-but confirm a fifth straight trophyless campaign. Their last success came in 2016/17, when United lifted the Carabao Cup and Europa League under Jose Mourinho.
2:30pm: United centre-back Raphael Varane – very familiar with tonight’s opponents as a former Real Madrid hero – says his new team were “happy to draw” the first leg following a poor first half. The Frenchman has also praised Anthony Elanga: “He’s improving. He’s very young but has the right mentality to improve and express his quality. He’s extremely fast and has a good finish. He’s very important this season.”
2:15pm: In his programme notes, Ralf Rangnick lavished praise on Cristiano Ronaldo for breaking the all-time global goalscoring record: “He has now scored 807 goals and I am certain he will keep adding to that total over the coming weeks and months – hopefully including tonight! His contribution [vs. Spurs] was bigger than just the hat-trick; he was a key part of the team in both attack and defence.”
2:00pm: Welcome to Sporting News’ live coverage from Old Trafford, as Manchester United aim to keep their faint dreams of silverware alive, in the Champions League round of 16 second leg against Atletico Madrid. Confirmed team news to follow in the next hour.