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Achieve. Persistence. Salvation. The triumph of Manchester United may not have been as aesthetically pleasing as those achieved by Sir Bobby Charlton, or even the tribute to his legacy, but it showcased the club’s essence that he popularized. This was not just about winning against FC Copenhagen 1-0 in the final moments, or securing a spot in the competition that the club’s legend was built on. It was also a significant moment for Andre Onana, who had his first standout performance at Manchester United in a crucial game.
Charlton would have likely found great joy in this moment – a night where his contributions were truly important. The evening began with a beautiful tribute to the late legend and concluded with a fitting celebration. The crowd erupted in a thunderous and determined cheer, honoring both a struggling player and the club’s greatest icon.
A player who has faced criticism and was not initially chosen, Harry Maguire showed determination by scoring the game-winning goal in a close 1-0 victory. Onana also played a crucial role, securing the win by keeping the score at 1-0 until the 96th minute and keeping United in the competition.
Although it may not be the ideal appearance for this esteemed institution at the moment, it is a testament to the determination and resilience of Charlton, his coach, and many of his fellow players.
Copenhagen, despite their loss, made a memorable impact on the night with a strong performance that challenged United and a crucial missed penalty by Jordan Larsson. Prior to and throughout the game, they joined the Stretford End in chanting “there’s only one Bobby Charlton”.
The remaining crowd at Old Trafford gave a round of applause.
It is important to note that this was not the general sentiment surrounding the recent events. It was largely deemed as another subpar performance against a less skilled team, despite it being the third consecutive win.
Most people would rather not remember much of it outside of the situation. However, it’s important to keep in mind as it will greatly impact the upcoming game against Manchester City for the derby on Sunday.
United must improve significantly.
Certain exceptions may need to be considered, of course.
United’s rich history has a powerful impact on the team, causing somber events to dampen their performance. The haunting sound of bagpipes proclaiming the club’s immortality serves as a reminder of the legacy they are representing, intensifying their drive to succeed.
On the 40th and 50th commemorations of the Munich air tragedy, there was a 1-1 tie against Bolton Wanderers at home and a 2-1 loss to Manchester City before Abu Dhabi ownership.
The fact that both teams were defending champions made this victory for United feel even more significant, similar to their previous two wins. It seemed like there was more at stake than just the pressure of the situation.
This season at Old Trafford, there were many matches that were reminiscent of this one, with the opposing team, who had fewer resources, dominating for long stretches of the game in a way that seemed unlikely. The only significant event in the first half occurred shortly after the tributes, when Mohamed Elyounoussi easily passed by Sofyan Amrabat and Maguire and sent a cross to Diogo, whose shot hit the post.
Initially, there were concerns that this could turn into a chaotic and back-and-forth match similar to the defeat against Galatasaray. However, it never reached that level of excitement, especially in the first half.
Aside from a few fleeting moments of brilliance from Rasmus Hojlund, there was very little action.
Ten Hag had to experiment. Amrabat was taken out.
United’s strategy shifted to playing more directly and trying to expand the field. Hojlund continued to provide frequent warnings and nearly earned a penalty early in the second half. Marcus Rashford had a chance to score but mishandled the ball.
Over time, there were a few positive moments. Onana appeared confident and made a great save. This was especially significant because he had made some major errors in previous Champions League matches.
That, similar to many other nights, elevated the significance of this occurrence beyond the immediate moment.
United’s turn was approaching as Christian Eriksen, who substituted for Amrabat, provided the delivery. Maguire made the difference.
The defender scored with a header.
The security of United should have been ensured.
McTominay’s late foul exposed his anxiety, contradicting his reputation as a reliable saviour on the field.
This was all just a prelude and preparation. Onana took action.
This was a fitting tribute, possibly the most appropriate one.