There was high drama in Champions League Group B on Tuesday evening, as eight goals were shared between Wolfsburg, Manchester United, PSV Eindhoven and CSKA Moscow.
Beyond that, both Wolfsburg and PSV—the two sides to advance into the knockout stages—both came from behind to win their matches, securing big results that could serve them well in the challenges to come.
United will be most disappointed of the lot.
The Red Devils had control of their own destiny heading into the final round of matches, knowing they simply had to better or equal PSV’s result to advance.
Despite Anthony Martial’s opener, however, Wolfsburg fought back through Naldo and Vierinha, and while a Josuha Guilavogui own goal levelled the tie on 82, Naldo bagged a late winner with six minutes remaining.
In truth, even if the Brazilian centre-back hadn’t found the net late on, the Red Devils would have been out, with a 2-2 draw ultimately not good enough to better the Dutch champions.
Once again, United’s failing in front of goal was exposed—they managed 16 shots—while Louis van Gaal will be particularly concerned at the ease with which his defence was dispatched.
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In the other match, PSV demonstrated the kind of self-belief and resolve that underpinned their title tilt last term, when they overcame a 76th-minute Sergei Ignashevitch penalty via a Luuk de Jong equaliser and an 85th-minute winner from Davy Propper.
Tipped to finish bottom of the group, PSV have the unity and the conviction to trouble one or two of the competition’s bigger boys in the next round.