Manchester United defeated Sheriff Tiraspol 2-0 in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday, September 15.
Sheriff made a strong start to their European campaign last week. They won 3-0 away at Omonia Nicosia. The hosts came into this game in the top spot in the group ahead of Real Sociedad.
United, on the other hand, lost 1-0 at home to Sociedad in their previous game. Erik ten Hag fielded a strong lineup as he looked to secure his first win in Europe with his new club.
Manchester United made a good start to the game, looking sharp in their movements as they maintained a good shape. Sheriff, however, were no pushovers as they played some slick football as well. The visitors had better chances and were the first team on the scoresheet.
Christian Eriksen played the ball into Jadon Sancho’s path, which he controlled and slotted into the goal with a controlled finish. He put United 1-0 ahead after just 17 minutes. Most of the visitors’ attacking play began on the left flank, with Tyrell Malacia initiating the moves.
Manchester United continued to push forward in search of a second goal which would put them in a comfortable position. They were handed an opportunity a few minutes before half-time as Patrick Kpozo committed a foul in his own box.
The referee awarded a penalty and showed a yellow card to the defender. Cristiano Ronaldo stepped up to score his first goal of the season to make it 2-0 after 39 minutes. It was the 21st spot-kick he has scored for United. The visitors went into the break with a comfortable two-goal lead.
Ten Hag replaced McTominay with Casemiro as he looked to give the Brazilian some crucial minutes before the international break. Manchester United played with a bit more patience in their build-up. They did not show as much urgency as they did in the first half, looking content to defend their lead.
Sheriff, on the other hand, dropped off completely as they were lethargic and lacked enthusiasm. It was all United in the second period as the visitors were content to just knock the ball around to run down the clock. Both managers made a host of changes to rotate their squads.
Sheriff failed to trouble the scorekeeper as they lost 2-0 to Manchester United. That said, let’s take a look at the five hits and flops from the game.
#5. Hit – Jadon Sancho
Sancho had a decent game and played the entire 90 minutes plus stoppages in Manchester United’s win. He scored his side’s first goal of the game, as well as in this edition of the Europa League. Christian Eriksen provided an assist for the goal.
#4. Flops – Sheriff’s Maksym Koval and Patrick Kpozo
Goalkeeper Maksym Koval was arguably responsible for handing a chance to United on a plate. He made an error which subsequently led to the move Sheriff went 1-0 down from. He also made just one save despite facing four shots.
Left-back Patrick Kpozo, too, had a night to forget. He committed a foul on Dalot, which the referee deemed as dangerous play. A penalty was awarded and Manchester United duly doubled their lead.
#3. Hit – Bruno Fernandes
Bruno Fernandes was the steam engine for the Manchester United train that ran through Sheriff’s defenses. He completed 38 passes with 78% accuracy, including one long ball. He attempted two shots, one on target and the other going wide. He also won five of his six duels and completed all three of his dribble attempts.
#2. Flop – Referee Pawel Raczkowski
The referee was often too lenient to Manchester United and too harsh on Sheriff as he made some questionable calls. Whether this was keeping in mind the seemingly unfair treatment United received last week is unknown.
However, the referee gave away a penalty that was a bit too soft, where not much clear contact was made. Although that was still debatable, he booked Iyayi Atiemwen for the softest of fouls which could have been dealt with by issuing a warning.
#1. Hit – Cristiano Ronaldo
Ronaldo scored his first goal of the season for Manchester United. He now has 699 goals at the senior club level and is just one shy of yet another milestone in his illustrious career.
Additionally, Ronaldo also played for nearly the entire game, being subbed off shortly after 80 minutes. He attempted three shots on goal, including the penalty he scored from. He also completed 33 passes with 83% accuracy.