Manchester United were appalling as they suffered a 2-0 defeat at Olympiacos in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 match.
United struggled to put a pass together in the opposition half, and Olympiacos exploited the obvious lack of competence and confidence. Their best chance came when Tom Cleverley flashed a chance wide from a corner.
Olympiacos’ first goal came when Joel Campbell ‘s shot was blocked, and drifted out to an unmarked Giannis Maniatis, whose poor shot was heading wide until Alejandro Dominguez flicked it in the opposite direction, past the stranded David De Gea.
United’s similarly poor second half performance was duly punished when Campbell scored a fantastic goal, curling the ball around Rio Ferdinand from 25 yards.
Cleverley and Antonio Valencia, poor but not the only poor United players, were replaced by Shinji Kagawa and Danny Welbeck, but it made absolutely no difference to an alarmingly pathetic performance. Olympiacos will wonder why they did not score more than just two.
That Robin Van Persie didn’t look even mildly concerned to miss a great chance with 10 minutes left should worry David Moyes for the rest of his tenure – which might come to an end very soon.
PRE-MATCH: David Moyes decides not to use Rafael or Adnan Januzaj, drops Marouane Fellaini and replaces him with the tepid Tom Cleverley in midfield.
17′ – CLEVERLEY CHANCE: Getting to the box after his corner isn’t cleared properly, Cleverley slices a volley wide and high of the goal.
38′ – DOMINGUEZ GOAL: David De Gea is wrong-footed as he chases Maniatis’ shot one way, only to see Dominguez flick it in the opposite corner.
55′ – CAMPBELL GOAL: Campbell takes a touch to nutmeg Carrick, and curls in a delightful shot from 25 yards with his left foot.
66′ – OLAITAN CHANCE: The ball drops to the young forward who smashes his volley just a yard wide.
82′ – VAN PERSIE MISS: Smalling crosses for Van Persie in the box, who takes two touches to engineer space for a shot, and he blasts over. Terrible.
This is Manchester United’s first loss ever to Olympiacos.
Olympiacos are unbeaten in their last six home games against English clubs in the Champions League (5 wins, 1 draw). The last team from England to beat the Piraeus club on their own soil are Manchester United, back in October 2002.
Olympiacos have won seven of their last nine home games in the Champions League and have never failed to score in those eight games.
This is Manchester United’s worst performance ever. (last stat courtesy of Alexander Netherton)
More of the same from David Moyes. He could have played five in midfield if he wanted to secure a draw, but instead he chose the cowardice of the tried-and-tested two banks of four. Antonio Valencia and Chris Smalling was the signal that the right wing, at least, was Olympiacos’ if they wanted it, and the rest of the United side followed suit. Juan Mata is not enough to change this attitude. If he is sacked, few will defend his reputation.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Joel Campbell (Olympiacos): A ludicrously good goal, enjoyed not just by the home fans, but by those who support his parent club Arsenal, too. He also started the move for the first goal, but none of his team-mates disappointed either.
Manchester United: De Gea 6, Smalling 5, Vidic 5, Ferdinand 4, Evra 5, Valencia 5, Carrick 4, Cleverley 4, Young 4, Rooney 5, Van Persie 4. Subs: Kagawa 5, Welbeck 4.
Olympiacos: Roberto 6, Salino 6, Manolas 6, Marcano 6, Holebas 6, N’Dinga 6, Maniatis 7, Dominguez 7, Hernan Perez 7, Campbell 7, Olaitan 6. Subs: Machado 6, Valdez 6, Fuster 6.
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