CSKA Moscow 1-1 Manchester United: Martial’s header saves the day
Manchester United grabbed a 1-1 draw away at CSKA Moscow on Wednesday in their UEFA Champions League Group B clash.
Anthony Martial’s second half header sealed a point for the Red Devils, as CSKA went in front after 15 minutes when Seydou Doumbia tapped home after David de Gea had initially saved Roman Eremenko’s penalty kick. Louis van Gaal’s side pushed for the winner but had to settle for a point, something he had spoken about doing before kick off.
With the point United sit second in Group B with four points, while CSKA sit in third, also on four points, and the two teams clash in their next UCL encounter at Old Trafford in two weeks time.
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United looked good early on and Bastian Schweinsteiger found French forward Martial out on the left flank and as he cut inside the teenager went down in the box under pressure from two CSKA defenders but the referee waved away the penalty shouts.
Former United player Zoran Tosic flashed a shot wide of the far post as the home side came into things in the freezing temperatures in the Russian capital with the game kicking off at 9:45 p.m. local time. Then CSKA won a penalty kick as in the 14th minute when Mario Fernandes drove into the box from the right flank and as he flicked the ball inside Martial inexplicably handled the ball and despite Fernandes continuing -- De Gea saved his shot superbly -- referee Carlos Carballo pointed to the spot and booked Martial for handball.
De Gea saved Eremenko’s penalty and pushed it against the post but the ball came back and hit United’s goalkeeper on his legs, then Doumbia followed up quicker than any United player. 1-0 to CSKA Moscow. That goal unsettled United and Fernandes looked particularly threatening down the right as the Red Devils failed to create any clear-cut changes with Wayne Rooney cutting a frustrated figure up top. Before the break Ahmed Musa curled on an audacious attempt from long range which De Gea clawed out of the top corner to stop CSKA from doubling their lead.
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At half time Marouane Fellaini came on to replace Schweinsteiger as van Gaal tried to cajole United’s attack into life. Soon after the break Marcos Rojo looked to have handled in the box as he got it all wrong when trying to head clear but the Argentine got away with it as CSKA didn’t get a second penalty kick. United did improve in the second half and a glorious chance arrived just before the hour mark when Ander Herrera crossed from the right but Rooney sent his header straight at Akinfeev.
United finally drew level in the 65th minute as Martial headed home superbly from Antonio Valencia’s cross for his fifth United goal. Martial flung himself at the ball from 12-yards out and his header went in off the post to make it 1-1.
As the closing stages arrived United looked the more likely to snatch all three points and Martial sent a high cross back towards but Fellaini couldn’t get on the end of it, as both teams settled for a point which puts them in a good position heading into the final three UCL group games.