Manchester United – Milan Player Ratings: Dominant Kessié

On a rainy night in Manchester, the Red Devils hosted Milan at the Old Trafford in the first leg of the Europa League round of 16. The Italians were the better side for most of the match, but it was the Englishmen who opened the scoring in the second half through 19-year-old Amad Diallo. Nonetheless, the Rossoneri were able to snatch their precious away goal in the dying minutes, as Simon Kjaer headed home from a corner kick, ending the encounter 1-1. So here are our player ratings for the European clash between Manchester United and Milan.

Manchester United XI

Dean Henderson – 5.5

Despite the flurry of Italian attacks, the English goalkeeper didn’t have to intervene on many occasions, and in the end failed to react well on Kjaer’s header for the equalizer.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka – 6

The right back was defensively solid, and was able to handle the likes of Krunic and Dalot on the left flank, but at times looked confused with the ball at his feet.

Eric Bailly – 5.5

The former Villarreal man found difficulties in dealing with the Diavolo’s attacks at times, and might have been one of the culprits on the late goal that his side conceded.

Harry Maguire – 5.5

A night to forget for the former Leicester City defender, who comically wasted the best chance in the first half as he struck the post despite having an open goal at his mercy. He seemed to be Kjaer’s original marker, but the Dane was able to escape him with ease to nod home the equalizer.

Alex Telles – 5.5

The former Inter fullback was given a rare chance to start a match, but did little to convince his manager, as he had a very limited impact on the match.

Nemanja Matic – 6

The Serbian veteran spread the ball and did his best to keep it rolling for United, despite the fact that Milan were the dominant side in the middle of the park.

Scott McTominay – 5.5

The Scottish international was lucky to escape a second yellow card as he made sure to do the dirty work for the hosts, but his performance was generally underwhelming.

Mason Greenwood – 6

The 19-year-old was mostly quiet on the wing during the first half, but then made a larger impact as he moved to a more central role. Created a golden chance for James who failed to make it 2-0.

Bruno Fernandes – 6.5

Although this was far from being his best performance, the former Udinese and Sampdoria wizard changed the direction of the match with one brilliant touch, when his sublime vertical cross found Diallo for the opening goal.

Daniel James – 5

The Welshman barely offered anything for United, and his only memorable moment was wasting the chance to punish Milan with a second goal, but his shot went off target.

Anthony Martial – 5.5

The Frenchman struggled against Kjaer for the entire first half, and was only able to get one good shooting opportunity, but Donnarumma managed to save it.

Manchester United Substitutes

Amad Diallo – 6.5

The former Atalanta youngster made an immediate impact after coming in the second half, as he took his header expertly to break the deadlock against the run of play.

Fred – N/A

Luke Shaw – N/A

Brandon Williams – N/A

Milan XI

Gianluigi Donnarumma – 6

The Italian international didn’t have much to do throughout the match, but denied Martial’s shot early on. Whilst some would argue that he should have came out of his goal to intercept Bruno’s cross before it reached Diallo, that was perhaps easier said than done.

Davide Calabria – 7

A sharp performance from the Italian right back who constantly supported the attacks with his overlaps, and provided some good crosses for his teammates.

Simon Kjaer – 7.5

What a great showing from the Danish veteran. Dominated defensively and nullified Martial during the first half. Moreover, he ended up being the unlikely hero, as he notched the vital away goal for the Rossoneri with a solid header in the second minute of added time.

Fikayo Tomori – 5.5

The former Chelsea man would have hoped for a better performance on his return to his country. Although he made a wonderful interception on Greenwood, his outing will be marked by his failure to deal with Diallo on the opening goal, as the young striker slipped past him to head it home.

Diogo Dalot – 5.5

The Portuguese was full of energy and enthusiasm as he faced his parent club. Whilst he made sure to support his team’s attacks, he often found Wan-Bissaka intercepting his runs, and his crossing left much to be desired.

Soualiho Meité – 6.5

A solid performance from the former Torino man whose partnership with Kessié continues to grow stronger with every match. Helped Milan in controlling the midfield, and made sure to close in on Bruno when United had the ball.

Franck Kessié – 8

A truly brilliant performance from “The President”. Scored a spectacular goal with the outside of his foot that was overturned by VAR due to a handball, but most importantly shut down every Manchester play that passed by him. Simply dominated the middle.

Alexis Saelemaekers – 5

A poor display from the Belgian who’s currently out of form. Wasted goal-scoring chances with his weak shooting, and failed to provide opportunities for his teammates.

Rade Krunic – 6

The Bosnian caused trouble for United with his smart movement around the penalty box, but his finishing let him down on several occasions. Provided the assist from the corner kick for Kjaer’s goal.

Brahim Diaz – 6.5

An exciting performance from the young Spaniard, as he dribbled his way around United’s box and provided some good passes for his teammates.

Rafael Leao – 5.5

The former Lille forward worked hard all night, but found it tough to deal with the English defenses in the absence of a true striking partner. Leaned towards the left flank at times, which left Milan without a striker close to the opposition’s goal.

Milan Substitutes

Samu Castillejo – 5.5

The Spanish winger didn’t have the time to create much, but still more impactful than the ineffective Saelemaekers.

Sandro Tonali – 5.5

Introduced to help his teammates in midfield, and put on a laboring display, but didn’t add much from a technical level.

Pierre Kalulu – N/A

Kessié is our man of the match for the first leg between Manchester United and Milan