MX23RW : Sunday, September 22 16:08:56| >> :600:241486:241486:
Sep 19, 2019 at 8pm UK at ​Old Trafford
Attendance: 50,783
Man UtdManchester United
Greenwood (73')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Live Commentary: Manchester United 1-0 Astana - as it happened

Relive Sports Mole's live text coverage of the Europa League Group L fixture between Manchester United and Astana from Old Trafford, which finished 1-0.
Live Commentary: Man Utd 1-0 Astana - as it happened
© Reuters

Mason Greenwood scored his first senior Manchester United goal as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side recorded a 1-0 win over Astana in their Europa League Group L opener on Thursday night.

The Red Devils struggled to open up Astana for long periods of the contest, but Greenwood came up with a brilliant finish in the 73rd minute to secure all three points.

Read how it all unfolded in Sports Mole's minute-by-minute live commentary of the action below.

Good evening and welcome to Sports Mole's live text coverage of the Europa League Group L fixture between Manchester United and Astana from Old Trafford. Can United open their campaign with a win? Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side are certainly the favourites, but Astana have a lot of talent in their line up. Stay tuned for live minute-by-minute updates right here!


UNITED: Romero; Dalot, Tuanzebe, Jones, Rojo; Matic, Fred; Chong, Gomes, Greenwood; Rashford

ASTANA: Eric; Rukavina, Tomasevic, Postnikov, Shomko; Tomasov, Maevski, Simunovic, Sigurjonsson; Rotariu, Murtazayev

As expected, Solskjaer has rung the changes from the clash with Leicester City on Saturday afternoon. Indeed, only Marcus Rashford and Nemanja Matic keep their spots with the likes of Diogo Dalot, Axel Tuanzebe and Phil Jones all coming in. Tahith Chong, Angel Gomes and Mason Greenwood form the attacking trio behind Rashford, while Fred and Marcos Rojo are also given rare starts.

As for Astana, it looks to be a straight 4-4-2 for the visitors tonight, with Romania international Dorin Rotariu joined by Roman Murtazayev in the final third of the field. Antonio Rukavina, who has played for Borussia Dortmund and Villarreal during a well-travelled career, also starts at right-back. Meanwhile, 37-year-old goalkeeper Nenad Eric will captain the visitors.

United will enter the match off the back of a morale-boosting 1-0 win over Leicester on Saturday afternoon, which saw them move into fourth position in the Premier League table. Meanwhile, Astana, who won their fifth Kazakhstan Premier League title last season, are third in their domestic table after 24 matches of their campaign. Kickoff is imminent here!

KICKOFF:  United kick things off on home soil...

... it must be said that there is a brilliant atmosphere inside the stadium tonight, and the fans are clearly excited to see a number of young players. Chong and Gomes are both making their full debuts for the Red Devils, while Greenwood is making just his second start.

OFF THE BAR!  Fred comes close to making the breakthrough as the midfielder hits one from distance, but the ball hits the crossbar - excellent strike from the Brazilian there!

SHOT!  Rashford sees his free kick deflected wide for a corner as United continue to make the early running on home soil. The Red Devils look bright and full of invention here.

As expected, the home side have taken control of the early possession with Astana being forced to defend their own box in the first seven minutes. United might have to be patient, but there is not too much experience in the final third. Matic, incidentally, has the armband.

Chong does well to create space in a dangerous position before delivering a cross, and Eric can only palm behind for another corner. All United in the early stages here.

Nothing in the way of an attacking threat from Astana in the first 10 minutes, but the visitors have left both Rotariu and Murtazayev high up the field. Jones is playing his first minutes of the season for United at the back, as are both Rojo and Dalot here.

Rojo looks to release Rashford with a dangerous pass, but Eric is quick off his line to make the claim. Still one-way traffic with 12 minutes on the clock at Old Trafford.

SAVE!  Wonderful save from Eric to keep out a close-range attempt from Rashford after the ball had fallen for the attacker in a dangerous position. Really should have scored!

United continue to pass and probe in the final third of the field, and Astana are just struggling to get out at the moment. Chong, Gomes and Greenwood have all been bright here.

CLOSE!  Again United come close as Greenwood combines with Rashford before striking towards goal, but the ball just moves wide of the far post! Really close again.

First sign of an attack from Astana as a mistake from Jones hands the visitors a half-chance, but the centre-back does well to get back and challenge Murtazayev at the final moment.

Manchester United's Phil Jones in action with Astana's Roman Murtazayev in the Europa League on September 19, 2019© Reuters

United have a free kick in a dangerous area as Gomes is felled by Postnikov...

... Gomes sends his free kick straight into the Astana wall before Dalot has a strike deflected behind for a corner. Still goalless with 19 minutes on the clock.

CHANCE!  Another huge chance for Rashford as the England international pokes a pass from Rojo towards goal, but Eric again makes the save. How is this game still level?!

Tomasevic does well to clear a dangerous free kick inside his own box as United continue to force the issue at Old Trafford. The pressure is not easing here.

There is an interesting battle taking place between Astana forward Rotariu and United centre-back Tuanzebe at the moment with both players not shirking challenges. The away side are finding it very difficult to ease the pressure and get up the field, though.

Manchester United's Axel Tuanzebe in action with Astana's Dorin Rotariu in the Europa League on September 19, 2019© Reuters

Bit of possession for Astana in the last few minutes, but the visitors are not really going anywhere with it. United would be ahead on points if this was a boxing match - that's for sure.

United win yet another corner following more smart work from Gomes, but Astana have been strong defending set pieces thus far. Tuanzebe climbed highest to meet the latest corner, although the referee actually whistled for a free kick. Still goalless at Old Trafford.

Greenwood has been bright for United in the first 31 minutes with the 17-year-old flashing an early shot wide and causing problems for Shomko at left-back. Solskjaer will want his side to have something to show for their good work in the first period here.

Manchester United's Mason Greenwood in action with Astana's Ivan Maevski in the Europa League on September 19, 2019© Reuters

Plenty of possession for United here, but not too much to report in terms of chances in the last few moments with Astana more than happy to sit deep and contain the hosts.

Dalot does really well to create space in a dangerous position before delivering towards Chong, but the youngster cannot climb to meet the ball. Much better from Dalot there.

Garner, Lingard, Mata, Maguire, McTominay and Young are the outfield players on the United bench tonight - the likes of James, Pogba and Martial are injured for the hosts, but all three could be back for West Ham on Sunday. Still goalless at Old Trafford tonight.

CHANCE!  Murtazayev breaks into a dangerous position for the visitors, but the number 45 sends a poor effort into the arms of Romero. Not the best from the Astana forward!

Pass, pass, pass from United. Defend, defend, defend from Astana. That is the pattern at the moment, and the visitors will be content with how the game is being played at the moment.

United have the chance to break clear in a wide position with Dalot looking to feed Chong, but the pass just lacks weight. Still goalless with 42 minutes on the clock.

Astana have not offered much going forward, but the visitors must be praised for their defensive work in this first period. The game plan from the away team is clear, and it is difficult to imagine that it will change unless Solskjaer's side can make the breakthrough.

SHOT!  Greenwood sends a speculative effort wide of the Astana post from distance.

SAVE!  Another decent-ish save from Eric to keep out an attempt from Rashford, although the effort lacked power and direction. Couple of half-chances late in the first period.


So there we have it - the referee brings the first period to a close with the two teams level at 0-0. Not the best half of football, but there is no question that United have been the superior side. Astana will be absolutely delighted with the half-time score here.

STATISTICS! United had 72% of the possession in the first period, while they managed 11 attempts, but just three of those were on target. Astana, meanwhile, hit the target with one of their two attempts in the opening 45 minutes. No yellow cards to report at Old Trafford - it has just not been that type of match with hardly a challenge of note here.

BENCH WATCH! Solskjaer has outfield options in the shape of Garner, Lingard, Maguire, Mata, McTominay and Young. Perhaps Lingard or Mata would be the two more likely to influence the game in the second period - Mata in particular as there is not a lot of experience in the final third. Astana, meanwhile, have options in the shape of Janga, Mubele and Pertsukh.

KICKOFF:  Astana resume the action in the second period...

... ASTANA SUBS! Astana have made two changes at the interval with Murtazayev and Simunovic replaced by Janga and Logvinenko for the second period.

CHANCE!  Huge chance for United as Rojo flashes a brilliant low cross towards the far post, but neither Greenwood nor Chong can make contact. Gomes had done brilliantly to create the space for Rojo, whose low cross was very dangerous indeed.

You do get the feeling that the floodgates could open if United were to score an early goal in the second period, and the home side have been really good since the break.

Astana are doing their best to break forward when gaps open up - one just did with Rojo losing the ball in a forward area - but the quality from the visitors is not really there.

Rojo delivers another dangerous cross into the Astana box from the left, but the away side manage to deal with it before clearing yet another corner. Still goalless at Old Trafford.

CLOSE!  There is a huge mix-up inside the Astana box and eventually the ball is deflected onto Tuanzebe towards goal, but it just drops wide. Astana survive another dangerous moment.

United have another free kick in a decent position as Rashford is brought to the ground. Perhaps too far out to shoot, but Gomes and Rashford both fancy having a strike...

SHOT!  ... Rashford's free kick just dips over the Astana crossbar.

There has been a brilliant atmosphere inside the stadium tonight, with both sets of fans playing their part. No goals, but still more than 30 minutes of football to play here.

Quite scrappy at the moment with United just looking for one of their players to step forward and take control of the contest. Astana continue to hold firm here, but there is another free kick in a dangerous position as Gomes is chopped down by Postnikov...

SAVE!  ... Fred sees his free kick saved by Eric!

It will be interesting to see how long Solskjaer leaves it before deciding to make a change - Lingard, McTominay and Garner are all warming up at the moment here.

Half-chance for Astana as Tomasov delivers a dangerous cross towards the far post, but Rotariu cannot make proper contact after the ball had dropped past Dalot.

Little over 25 minutes of the second period remaining, and the score is still 0-0. Not an awful lot happening in terms of clear chances at the moment, which will concern Solskjaer.

The United bench are in a deep discussions at the moment, suggesting that changes will soon occur. Lingard would be the obvious change in a forward position, although Gomes has been really bright for the home side. The home side are still on the front foot here.

United are indeed preparing to make two changes with Mata and Lingard stripping down ready for the action. Little over 20 minutes of football remaining at Old Trafford.

United are indeed preparing to make two changes with Mata and Lingard stripping down ready for the action. Little over 20 minutes of football remaining at Old Trafford.

UNITED SUBS! Mata and Lingard enter the field for Chong and Gomes.

The United fans are attempting to drive their team forward, but Astana are still in their strong shape. A goalless draw would be hugely disappointing for the home side here.

Dalot looks to deliver early and towards Mata at the far post, but there are no takers. In fairness, Mata is not going to be winning too many headers in any opposition box.

Another clean sheet would be welcome for United, but there is not too much happening in the final third at the moment. Will James Garner see some minutes tonight?


GOAL!  Breakthrough! United finally take the lead in the 73rd minute as Greenwood works some space inside the Astana box before finding the back of the net with a brilliant finish for his first senior goal! Excellent work from the teenager, and it is a really big goal.

Manchester United's Mason Greenwood celebrates scoring against Astana in the Europa League on September 19, 2019© Reuters

SAVE!  Wonderful save from Eric to keep out an attempt from Rojo, who looked to pick out the far corner from distance. Rojo has been impressive for the home side tonight.

Not too much in the way of a response from Astana, who continue to sink deeper and deeper with United dominating the ball and looking for their second goal.

UNITED SUB! United make their third change as Young replaces Rojo here.

OFF THE POST!  Lingard rattles the post with a powerful strike from distance before Dalot misses from close range! Huge moment for a second, but Astana survive a dangerous moment.

ASTANA SUB! Astana's final change sees Mubele replace Rotariu in the final third.

Little over five minutes of the second period remaining, and United will be keen to score a second just to make sure of all the points. All Astana need is a set piece late on to potentially grab an unlikely point. Greenwood's goal remains the difference here.

YELLOW CARD!  Fred (United) is booked for a foul on Mubele.

Not too much to report in the way of attacking football at the moment with United happy enough to keep the ball. Astana also seem happy enough to take a 1-0 loss here.

Rukavina finds space in a dangerous position inside United's half of the field, but there are no takers on the defender's cross, with Tuanzebe making the clearance once again.

SAVE!  Decent save from Eric to keep out an attempt from Lingard, who had been going by Greenwood in a dangerous position following a quick break from the home side.

We are into the first of two added minutes at the end of the 90 - not long left for United to close out the match, securing a big three points in the process.

There has been a little bit of pressure from Astana in the last couple of minutes, but not too much for United to be concerned about. We are into the final seconds here.


So there we have it - the referee brings the second period to a close with United running out 1-0 winners over Astana courtesy of Greenwood's first senior goal for the club. It is a special night for the 17-year-old, who has secured his team an important three points.

That is just about it from me tonight, but I shall leave you with the match report on a good night for United, who have opened their Group L campaign with a win. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for our live coverage once again. See you soon!

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Manchester United striker Mason Greenwood pictured in May 2019
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