Man Utd overcame a shaky start to win their Champions League game 2-1 against Wolfsburg at Old Trafford last night.
Juan Mata was the star performer of the game as he won and scored a penalty for the United’s first goal and provided an exquisite assist for Chris Smalling’s winner in the second half.
United didn’t have the best of starts, and they were down to Daniel Caligiuri’s goal with four minutes on the clock. Mata won the penalty for United on 34th minute when Caligiuri in the box handled his cross. The Spaniard duly converted the spot-kick to level the score at 1-1.
Both teams went into half-time with the score leveled at 1-1. The German side started the second half brightly, but it was United who took the lead on the 53rd minute. This time, Mata became the provider as his cheeky back-heel flick found Chris Smalling unmarked in the box, and the Spain international made no mistake in dispatching the ball to its ultimate destination.
United had weathered a wave of attacks in the closing stage from the visitors, but their defence stood firm to claim their first Champions League win of the season.
Earlier, Bastian Schweinsteiger was given a start in the midfield in place of injured Michael Carrick. For the German side, former Chelsea winger Andre Schurrle started the game from the bench.
“It was very difficult because they scored (so early) but then we did very well and created a lot of chances, but we didn’t finish.
“We were suffering. A lot of players are very tired because of the accumulation of matches, but still, we did not give much away.” Louis Van Gaal told a post-match press conference.
Wolfsburg coach Dieter Hecking rued the luck for his side’s defeat: “I think it was a penalty but that we were unlucky there.
“And I thought the second goal was unlucky, but then we were on top again and really could and perhaps should have scored again.
“In the 84th minute there was a foul on Julian Draxler that really should have been another yellow card (for Morgan Schneiderlin), so once again we just lacked that bit of luck at the end. But I’m optimistic we can build on this strong performance.”
After two rounds of games, all four teams in Group B are level on three points. United will now travel to CSKA Moscow, and Wolfsburg will host PSV Eindhoven in their next group games on October 22.