Football Features

Levitt and Laird light up Kazakhstan but it’s not enough as Man Utd fall to Astana

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 18:07, 28 November 2019

In a surprisingly positive night of football, Manchester United lost to Astana in Kazakhstan.

The result wasn’t ideal but given The Red Devils fielded an incredibly young side with an average age of around 20, handing no less than seven players their first-team debuts for United, the performance was always the key thing.

Here’s how Manchester United’s youngsters rated at Astana Arena:

Manchester United

Lee Grant – 5 – Made a series of good stops and dominated his box well to help out his young defence. Could do little about either goal.

Ethan Laird – 7 – Impossibly bright in attack, always looked willing and able to take his man on (he completed more dribbles than anyone else on the pitch) and supply a cross. The skill and confidence on this youngster will have Aaron Wan-Bissaka sweating over his spot in the first-team.

Axel Tuanzebe – 6 – A solid display at the heart of defence.

Di’Shon Bernard – 5 – Excelled in duels and 1v1 defending but looked vulnerable positionally even before his unfortunate own goal gave Astana the lead.

Luke Shaw – 4 – Bagged an easy assist (and should have had another) but was honestly pretty bad. In particular he failed to help his side out defensively, leaving them exposed for Astana’s second goal.

Dylan Levitt – 8 – Looked absurdly calm and composed given this was his debut. Completed a frankly staggering 100 of 104 passes, a game high (more than twice any Astana player) as he constantly redirected attacks to keep United on the front foot. One hell of a first impression for the Wales youngster, who could feature for the first-team sooner than many had expected.

James Garner – 7 – A confident display, barely giving the ball away, but he was just missing a third midfielder, a creative type to play between the lines and be a target for he (and Levitt) to play passes to.

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Jesse Lingard – 7 – Opened the scoring with a confident strike and ran hard all night. Was the hub United’s attacks flowed through and played that role reasonably well. Lost his way in the second half, however.

Tahith Chong – 4 – A massively disappointing performance from the winger, showing little of the dribbling skill that he had done earlier in the season. Missed a golden chance to make it 0-2 minutes before Astana equalised.

Angel Gomes – 6 – Started the game looking very quiet but eventually grew into the contest and became United’s go-to man in the final third. Forced a great save with a free-kick and looked a creative menace as The Red Devils chased an equaliser.

Mason Greenwood – 5 – Mostly starved of service but always looked bright and made some great runs into space. Pulled a fantastic save out of Nenad Eric with a second-half shot but in the end was mostly a spectator as United laboured to find the killer pass.

Substitutes:

Dmani Mellor (for Chong 66′) – 5 – Immediately added the kind of thrust Chong was unable to, but little more.

Largie Ramazani (for Garner 84′) – n/a – Had one positive run immediately after coming on.

Ethan Galbraith (for Gomes 89′) – n/a – Came on late in the day.

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