By Kiran Thakare
- United suffer Champions League exit following defeat in Germany
- Van Gaal handed first senior start to Guillermo Varela
- Further injuries suffered to Darmian and Smalling
Manchester United bowed out of Champions League last night after a 3-2 loss against Wolfsburg in Germany on the final matchday of the group stage.
Louis Van Gaal made a significant change in the formation as the Red Devils started with a 4-1-4-1 formation. Memphis Depay came back in the starting eleven in place of Morgan Schneiderlin who suffered a knock against West Ham on Saturday. Guillermo Varela got his first start for Manchester United as he replaced Paddy McNair in the right-back position.
The Red Devils started the match strongly as they committed bodies forward and pressed brilliantly. The Old Trafford side were rewarded for their work when Juan Mata played a brilliant through ball for Anthony Martial who slotted home finally in the 10th minute. The Frenchmen ended his drought as he last scored for Manchester United on October 21.
However Manchester United were not able to enjoy the lead for a long time as Naldo finished well from a setpiece delivered from Ricardo Rodriguez.
The German side kept on making numerous attacks United lost the momentum and they were carved open again by Julian Draxler and Vieirinha completed the move with a simple tap in as Wolfsburg lead 2-1 at the stroke of half and hour in the game.
David De Gea kept United in the game by making a brilliant save off Julian Draxler later in first half. Van Gaal was forced to bring on youngster Brothwick Jackson as Matteo Darmian limped off the pitch with a hamstring problem.
United celebrated a second goal at the end of the half from a powerful drive from Jesse Lingard only for it to be ruled offside as replays suggested that Juan Mata was in an offside position and affecting the goal.
Manchester United continued to put pressure on Wolfsburg in second half for the equaliser but Benaglio kept the lead intact for Germans as he made a brilliant save off Memphis Depay.
United were caught on counter numerous times but De Gea made some brilliant saves to keep the scoreline same. United equalised at the stroke of 80 minutes from a set-piece which lead to an own goal from Joshua Guilavogui.
The Red Devils again surrendered a goal to Wolfsburg when Naldo scored his second of the game with a powerful header from a corner two minutes later.
United bowed out of Champions League as PSV Eindhoven won their game against CSKA Moscow which took them to second place above Manchester United. The Red Devils will now play in Europa League as they finished third in the group.
Manchester United: De Gea, Varela, Smalling, Blind, Darmian (Borthwick-Jackson 44), Fellaini, Schweinsteiger (Carrick 69), Lingard, Mata (Powell 69), Memphis, Martial Substitutes Not Used: Romero, McNair, Pereira, Young