Atalanta knows how to play against Manchester United and Manchester United knows how to come back every time. United has never played against Atalanta before except for the first time they met weeks ago when United came from 2-0 down to win 3-2. This is the second time they are meeting and despite going ahead twice, United pegged them back twice.
It wasn't a convincing performance from United as that seems to be the new theme from United in recent weeks but it's a build-up to their 3-0 win over Tottenham to snatch a late draw against Atalanta away from home in the Champions League. United haven't really kicked into full form and everyone would fancy their chances against them.
Atalanta scored twice, thanks to goals from Ilicic and Zapata but United have Cristiano Ronaldo to thank as he scored twice to save his side from what would have been another embarrassing defeat even though they shouldn't be celebrating a draw but given the circumstances, they would take it.
United started on the front foot and Ronaldo had a shot at goal so early on but the goalkeeper was equal to it. Not long after, in the 5th minute, Scot McTominay's strike got deflected and despite beating the goalkeeper, the ball couldn't beat the post as it struck the base of the left post and didn't go in.
De Gea allowed Atalanta into the game after a wonderful strike from Ilicic managed to creep under De Gea in the 12th minute. Zapata did well to find Ilicic just outside the box. It was another sloppy goal that United allowed and for De Gea's reputation, he should have done better there.
In the 16th minute, Ronaldo produced a good delivery into the box from the right-hand side and picked out Shaw inside the box but his shot bounced off the pitch and went over the bar. United tried to search for answers and injected a bit of urgency into their game and in the 20th minute, Pogba found Ronaldo in the box but he couldn't get his head to it as he would have wanted and the header went over the bar.
Atalanta missed another chance in the 22nd minute after a long ball found Zapata. He controlled the ball well but he blazed his shot over the bar. If it had gone in, it would have been subject to a VAR check for offside.
Just when Atalanta thought they would be heading into the break with the lead, Ronaldo struck just seconds before halftime. McTominay found Bruno inside the box and his quick backheel to Ronaldo came nicely to him and Ronaldo did the rest by finding the back of the net to draw United level.
United started on the front foot again in the second half and Ronaldo stole the ball in the 48th minute and found Fernandes but Bruno's shot was blocked off. Atalanta would have had themselves to blame had that gone in.
Atalanta were not done with United and Zapata produced and this time around he found the back of the net after Wan Bissaka was caught napping. He managed to race to the lofted pass to him and smashed home his effort inside the box with De Gea unable to do anything about it. It was a good movement and an equally brilliant finish. It was subjected to a VAR check after the referee already ruled for offside but VAR gave the goal and Atalanta went ahead, 2-1 in the 56th minute.
Maguire was caught and robbed of possession in the 61st minute and it took the help of Bailly to block the attack. Bailly produced a spirited performance in between Varane and Maguire as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer stuck with the same formation he used against Tottenham but unfortunately, Varane had to come off as he was injured and Greenwood replaced him.
United kept searching for answers and came close with Bruno being found right next to the post but he managed to get just a minor touch to the ball which wasn't a problem for the goalkeeper. Zapata could have also doubled his tally when he was going with an in-swinging delivery into the box in the 79th minute but he heads the ball over.
Zapata produced a long-range strike at goal which De Gea had to stretch to push for a corner kick in the 85th minute. Ronaldo saved the best for the last and in the 91st minute after Ronaldo tried to find space and couldn't, the ball fell to Greenwood who poked the ball in the direction of Ronaldo and he smashed home his shot with accuracy and precision to break the hearts of Atalanta players yet again. United snatched a late draw and got a point in Italy to stay at the top of the table on level points with Villarreal who beat Young Boys by 2-0.
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