Champions League - Group B
Wolfsburg3Man Utd2

VfL Wolfsburg 3-2 Manchester United

Manchester United
Wolfsburg have reached the Champions League knockout phase for the first time

Manchester United were eliminated from the Champions League in dramatic fashion by a late loss at Wolfsburg.

The Red Devils made an ideal start when Anthony Martial caressed Juan Mata's pinpoint pass into the bottom corner.

Wolfsburg replied within three minutes through Naldo's sharp volley and led when Vieirinha finished a flowing move.

United thought they were through after Josuha Guilavogui's own goal, only to be condemned to the Europa League by Naldo's late header.

Madchester's night of Euro madness

Louis van Gaal's side knew they would qualify for the last 16 by beating Wolfsburg, or if they matched PSV Eindhoven's result against CSKA Moscow.

Twice inside the final 15 minutes, United thought they were progressing at the expense of the Dutch side, who needed to better the Red Devils' result.

CSKA led 1-0 in Eindhoven as United trailed, before both PSV and United were briefly level in their respective games.

But late goals for Wolfsburg and PSV, who won 2-1, knocked out Van Gaal's team.

PSV Eindhoven celebrate qualification
PSV became the first Dutch team to reach the Champions League knockout stages since 2006-07

United's late misery was a stark contrast to Manchester City, who saw fortune swing back in their favour as their neighbours unravelled.

Five goals were netted inside six minutes across the two games, with City coming back to win 4-2 against Borussia Monchengladbach and pip Juventus to win Group D.

That means the Blues will avoid the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid in the last 16, while the Red Devils face the prospect of Europa League football in the New Year.

Excitement, but an exit

Van Gaal has been criticised by some Red Devils supporters for his pragmatic, defence-minded approach - United were booed off after Saturday's 0-0 draw with West Ham at Old Trafford, the fifth time in nine matches they had failed to score.

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Man Utd are better than last year - Van Gaal

However, United freed the shackles and produced an entertaining display in Germany, yet it was one that ultimately led to their exit from Europe's premier club competition.

Martial settled any early United nerves by racing on to Mata's perfectly weighted through ball, taking a touch before coolly sliding past Wolfsburg keeper Diego Benaglio.

Van Gaal's side continued to create chances, only to see Benaglio brilliantly stop Marouane Fellaini's first-half header and Memphis Depay's far-post volley after the break.

Fellaini's height caused problems at the corner which led to Wolfsburg midfielder Guilavogui flicking into his own net, but United were undone by their own defensive deficiencies.

Manchester United players look dejected
Manchester United failed to advance from the group stage of the Champions League for the fourth time

Defensive horror show costs United

While United found a solution to their recent goalscoring woes, a suspect defensive display resulted in their downfall.

Wolfsburg threatened United with blistering counter-attacks and slick, one-touch passing around the penalty area.

But, more importantly, the Premier League side twice switched off at Wolfsburg set-pieces shortly after scoring themselves.

Injury-hit United had a makeshift defence, with young Uruguayan right-back Guillermo Varela making his first start for the club, and teenager Cameron Borthwick-Jackson playing for almost 50 minutes after replacing injured left-back Matteo Darmian.

It was a lack of organisation - and possibly experience - that allowed Brazilian defender Naldo to score the late winner.

Wolfsburg second goal
Wolfsburg keeper Benaglio started a slick move that saw his team cut United apart with 11 passes before Vieirinha(number eight) slotted in the second goal

Should Van Gaal have turned to experience?

Many observers were surprised Van Gaal decided to start 22-year-old Varela ahead of England international Ashley Young, while the exclusion of experienced holding midfielder Michael Carrick also raised questions.

Even more surprisingly, Young was still ignored when Darmian had to be replaced. Instead, Van Gaal turned to 18-year-old Borthwick-Jackson, who was making only his second United appearance.

England midfielder Carrick was eventually introduced for Germany's World Cup winner Bastian Schweinsteiger after 69 minutes, at the same time Mata was withdrawn for Nick Powell - the 21-year-old midfielder whose previous United appearance came in the 4-0 defeat by then-League One side MK Dons in August 2014.

Was disallowed United goal a turning point?

Van Gaal said afterwards that United were unfairly denied an equaliser shortly before half-time, a decision which he felt could have changed the complexion of the match and their Champions League future.

The visitors thought they had equalised when Jesse Lingard curled a 20-yard shot past Benaglio.

But their celebrations were cut short when the assistant referee raised his flag, after a long delay, for offside against Mata.

However, replays proved the official was correct with his decision. Despite not touching the ball, Mata's movement in front of Benaglio clearly impacted the Wolfsburg keeper.

Juan Mata
Juan Mata protested that he was not interfering with play

Security alert holds up spectators

Spectators in the Volkswagen Arena were prevented from leaving the ground after a suspect package was found in a car park outside the stadium.

After approximately 15 minutes, fans were allowed to leave after police were satisfied it was not a bomb.

It did mean United's VIP flight back to Manchester, which included Van Gaal and his players, former boss Sir Alex Ferguson and former chief executive David Gill, was slightly delayed.

Stats you need to know

  • United conceded as many goals in the first 30 minutes against Wolfsburg as they had in their previous nine games in all competitions
  • Martial ended a run of 690 minutes without a goal in all competitions for United
  • Wolfsburg beat United for the first time, having lost all three of the previous meetings
  • Naldo scored in the Champions League for the first time since 2006

United legends react to exit

Former United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel was not impressed by their performance
Former Red Devils goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel was not impressed by United's performance
Former United centre-back Rio Ferdinand said the club should have higher aspirations than the Europa League
Ex-United centre-back Rio Ferdinand said the club should have higher aspirations than the Europa League

Line-ups

Wolfsburg

  • 1Benaglio
  • 15Träsch
  • 25NaldoBooked at 72mins
  • 18Costa Santos
  • 34RodríguezSubstituted forSchäferat 16'minutes
  • 10DraxlerSubstituted forCaligiuriat 85'minutes
  • 23Guilavogui
  • 8Vieira de FreitasSubstituted forKloseat 78'minutes
  • 27Arnold
  • 17SchürrleBooked at 59mins
  • 11Kruse

Substitutes

  • 3Bendtner
  • 4Schäfer
  • 5Klose
  • 7Caligiuri
  • 12Dost
  • 24Jung
  • 28Casteels

Man Utd

  • 1de Gea
  • 30VarelaBooked at 90mins
  • 12Smalling
  • 17Blind
  • 36DarmianBooked at 17minsSubstituted forBorthwick-Jacksonat 43'minutes
  • 31SchweinsteigerSubstituted forCarrickat 69'minutes
  • 27Fellaini
  • 35Lingard
  • 8MataSubstituted forPowellat 69'minutes
  • 7Depay
  • 9Martial

Substitutes

  • 16Carrick
  • 18Young
  • 20Romero
  • 22Powell
  • 33McNair
  • 43Borthwick-Jackson
  • 44Pereira
Referee:
Milorad Mazic
Attendance:
26,400

Match Stats

Home TeamWolfsburgAway TeamMan Utd
Possession
Home45%
Away55%
Shots
Home10
Away18
Shots on Target
Home6
Away6
Corners
Home6
Away5
Fouls
Home8
Away13

Live Text

Match ends, VfL Wolfsburg 3, Manchester United 2.

Full Time

Second Half ends, VfL Wolfsburg 3, Manchester United 2.

Corner, VfL Wolfsburg. Conceded by Jesse Lingard.

Booking

Guillermo Varela (Manchester United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Guillermo Varela (Manchester United).

Marcel Schäfer (VfL Wolfsburg) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Attempt missed. Nick Powell (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right following a corner.

Attempt blocked. Jesse Lingard (Manchester United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Attempt blocked. Nick Powell (Manchester United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Michael Carrick.

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Maximilian Arnold.

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Marcel Schäfer.

Attempt blocked. Chris Smalling (Manchester United) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Nick Powell.

Attempt missed. Memphis Depay (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Marouane Fellaini.

Substitution

Substitution, VfL Wolfsburg. Daniel Caligiuri replaces Julian Draxler.

Goal!

Goal! VfL Wolfsburg 3, Manchester United 2. Naldo (VfL Wolfsburg) header from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Marcel Schäfer with a cross following a corner.

Corner, VfL Wolfsburg. Conceded by Daley Blind.

Goal!

Own Goal by Josuha Guilavogui, VfL Wolfsburg. VfL Wolfsburg 2, Manchester United 2.

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Diego Benaglio.

Offside, Manchester United. Michael Carrick tries a through ball, but Chris Smalling is caught offside.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Substitution

Substitution, VfL Wolfsburg. Timm Klose replaces Vieirinha.

Delay in match Chris Smalling (Manchester United) because of an injury.

Jesse Lingard (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by André Schürrle (VfL Wolfsburg).

Offside, VfL Wolfsburg. Naldo tries a through ball, but André Schürrle is caught offside.

Attempt missed. Memphis Depay (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right from a direct free kick.

Booking

Naldo (VfL Wolfsburg) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Anthony Martial (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Naldo (VfL Wolfsburg).

Offside, VfL Wolfsburg. Vieirinha tries a through ball, but Christian Träsch is caught offside.

Substitution

Substitution, Manchester United. Nick Powell replaces Juan Mata.

Substitution

Substitution, Manchester United. Michael Carrick replaces Bastian Schweinsteiger.

Attempt missed. Max Kruse (VfL Wolfsburg) left footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Marcel Schäfer with a cross following a corner.

Corner, VfL Wolfsburg. Conceded by David de Gea.

Attempt saved. Maximilian Arnold (VfL Wolfsburg) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Vieirinha.

Corner, VfL Wolfsburg. Conceded by David de Gea.

Offside, Manchester United. Marouane Fellaini tries a through ball, but Memphis Depay is caught offside.

Attempt saved. Anthony Martial (Manchester United) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Jesse Lingard.

Attempt missed. Dante (VfL Wolfsburg) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Maximilian Arnold with a cross following a corner.

Corner, VfL Wolfsburg. Conceded by David de Gea.

goal

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Tuesday 8th December 2015

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Real Madrid65101931616
2PSG64111211113
3Shakhtar Donetsk6105714-73
4Malmö FF6105121-203

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Wolfsburg640296312
2PSV Eindhoven631287110
3Man Utd62227708
4CSKA Moscow611459-44

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Atl Madrid6411113813
2Benfica6312108210
3Galatasaray6123610-45
4FC Astana6042511-64

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Man City6402128412
2Juventus632163311
3Sevilla6204811-36
4B Mgladbach6123812-45

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Barcelona54101431113
2Roma51221116-55
3B Leverkusen5122121115
4BATE Borisov5113512-74

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Bayern Munich54011731412
2Olympiakos5302610-49
3Arsenal5203910-16
4Dinamo Zagreb5104312-93

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Chelsea5311113810
2FC Porto531196310
3Dynamo Kiev52217438
4Maccabi Tel-Aviv5005115-140

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Zenit St Petersburg5500124815
2KAA Gent52126607
3Valencia520357-26
4Lyon501439-61
View full Champions League tables

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