UEFA Champions League
CSKA Moscow vs. Manchester United
Venue: Arena Khimki
Date: Wednesday, 21 October 2015
Kick-off: 19:45 BST
Manchester United picked up a point away from home in the UEFA Champions League, drawing 1-1 in Moscow against CSKA.
Despite falling behind to a Seydou Doumbia goal in the first half after an initial penalty save from David De Gea thwarted Roman Eremenko, Anthony Martial’s 65th minute header was enough to take a share of the spoils back to Manchester.
Martial’s bright run into the box early on saw him brought down, but no penalty was awarded by Spanish referee Carlos Velasco Carballo.
Neat play between Jesse Lingard and Wayne Rooney allowed Martial to get a shot away, but he dragged his effort wide without troubling.
Former United player Zoran Tosic cut inside from the right onto his favoured left foot, but curled an attempt off target.
Then came the penalty, as marauding full-back Mario Fernandes flicked the ball up against the hand of Martial – who received a booking – and although De Gea saved Eremenko’s original kick onto the post, the rebound came back off the Spaniard and Doumbia was on hand to tap home.
Ahmed Musa took on an attempt from range as the ball had to be tipped over the bar by De Gea.
Antonio Valencia’s deflected cross fell into the path of Rooney, but Igor Akinfeev reacted quickly to make sure the England striker’s close range effort was closed down.
Rooney then shot over from distance as half-time arrived with United trailing.
Louis van Gaal’s side began to grow in the second half, with Ander Herrera’s cross was met by the head of Rooney, but fell straight into the arms of Akinfeev.
Eremenko saw his shot held before the visitors got back on level terms.
Herrera, who was starting to see more of the ball, threaded a waited pass through to Valencia, whose cross was met well by Martial’s head, and the ball came off the inside of the post on its way to the back of the net.
A similar move saw Valencia’s cross from the right find the head of half-time substitute Marouane Fellaini, but it was tame and didn’t trouble Akinfeev who collected with ease.
Another substitute, this time Memphis, played a deep cross to the back post late on, which was hooked back across goal by Martial, only for Akinfeev to read the situation well, and clear ahead of Fellaini.
Both sides seemed to settle for a point as the game grew old and full-time arrived in Russia, where temperatures were below freezing.
This was only the second draw of the season for United, but unlike August’s 0-0 at home to Newcastle United in the Premier League, this draw felt like a good one grind out.
Having fallen behind early on to a side that have averaged two goals a game so far this season, lead their league by five points and who haven’t lost at home yet, United can be pleased that they found a way back into the game.
It was a shaky first half but a much improved and controlled second half display, as the halfway point of the group stage has been met.
This was also the first and only one of the six fixtures so far in Group B not to end in a home win, showcasing United’s ability to come away with the draw, and these two sides will lock horns again on November 3 at Old Trafford.
Speaking of Old Trafford, there is the small matter of the Manchester derby taking place there this Sunday, with a 2:05pm BST kick-off time welcoming the visit of neighbours and rivals Manchester City.
Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Jones, Rojo (Blind 63); Schneiderlin, Schweinsteiger (Fellaini 46); Lingard (Memphis 80), Herrera, Martial; Rooney.
Subs: Romero, Blind, Darmian, Carrick, Memphis, Mata, Fellaini.
Manager: Louis van Gaal
CSKA: Akinfeev; Fernandes, V. Berezutski (A. Berezutski 41), Ignashevich, Schennikov; Tosic, Wernbloom, Eremenko (Panchenko 83), Musa, Dzagoev (Cauna 87), Doumbia.
Subs: Chepchugov, Berezutski, Panchenko, Nababkin, Cauna, Milanov, Golouin.
Manager: Leonid Slutsky