Man Utd come from behind to beat Wolfsburg

Date published: Wednesday 30th September 2015 9:45

Chris Smalling: Congratulated by Memphis Depay after scoring Manchester United's winner

Juan Mata and Chris Smalling scored as Manchester United came from behind to beat Wolfsburg 2-1 in the Champions League at Old Trafford.

Daniel Caligiuri finished off a flowing move to put Wolfsburg ahead in only the fourth minute but was penalised for a handball in the penalty area half an hour later, with Mata converting from the spot to draw United level.

Smalling then slid in after Mata’s backheel eight minutes into the second half to draw United level on three points with the other three teams in Group B as CSKA Moscow beat PSV Eindhoven in the evening’s other game.

United attacked with intent from the off, but the hosts were stunned in the fourth minute when Wolfsburg took the lead.

Smalling, Morgan Schneiderlin and Daley Blind failed to dispossess Caligiuri in the right corner. He played the ball inside to Max Kruse, who returned the ball to the midfielder in the box and he jabbed the ball past David de Gea. The goal would not have stood had Antonio Valencia been in line with his fellow defenders.

United looked for an immediate reply but struggled to find one. Dante flung himself into the path of a Mata curler and diverted the goal-bound shot over the bar, while Anthony Martial shrugged off his marker and negotiated his way past another before rifling a shot just wide.

Matteo Darmian then put in a crucial block deep inside the home box and United immediately went on the counter. Martial turned his marker and squared to the unmarked Wayne Rooney but he planted the ball into the crowd.

Finally the nerves eased inside Old Trafford when Mata cut in from the right and swung in a cross which was impeded by Caligiuri’s outstretched left arm.

Referee Viktor Kassai pointed to the spot and Mata slotted the ball into the bottom left-hand corner.

United had more composure about them in defence after Ashley Young came on for Valencia at half-time.

Wolfsburg looked for another early goal, but luckily for United, Darmian was on hand to deny Bas Dost an easy tap in.

United then put themselves in charge of the game in the 53rd minute. Smalling rolled the ball past Wolfsburg goalkeeper Diego Benaglio, but Mata should take the lion’s share of the credit for the goal. The Spaniard flicked a wayward pass over the Wolfsburg back four and into Smalling’s path. The defender slid in and guided the ball past Benaglio with his right foot.

Caligiuri tested De Gea with a low shot as Wolfsburg looked for an equaliser. Nicklas Bendtner and Andre Schurrle came off the bench to add to the Germans’ attacking threat.

The former Arsenal striker fluffed a good chance just after entering the pitch and Wolfsburg continued to apply pressure, but United hung on for their first Champions League win under Van Gaal.

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