Manchester United’s hero in Madrid was Anthony Elanga, who scored his first Champions League goal to save the club from defeat.
With his 80th-minute shot, Elanga became United’s youngest ever goalscorer in the Champions League knockout stage at the age of 19 years and 302 days.
The 19-year-old had barely been on the field for four minutes when he scored what could be a crucial goal with his first touch of the ball.
“I’ve always wanted to score in the Champions League against strong European teams like Atletico Madrid,” Elanga remarked. “It’s a lifelong dream come true.”
“I told you how calm and cool I am, and whenever I get the chance, I want to repay the manager by giving my all every time I step onto the field.
“You must remain in the game because anything might happen. We didn’t play well in the first half, but we improved after the substitutes in the second.
“The manager told me to scare the defenders and go in behind, and to take advantage of any opportunities that came my way.
“I wanted a nice outcome for the fans because they had traveled a long distance.”
“However, this is merely the first half.” We must be prepared for the second half at Old Trafford.”
Ralf Rangnick, United’s interim manager, praised Elanga and asked more of his players to emulate the teenager’s approach of playing with a smile on their faces.
“”He’s playing as if it’s a dream come true,” Rangnick added. “It’s a delight and a pleasure to see him play; I wish a few other players will look to him as an example and a role model.”
“After the first-half performance, it could only go better.” I still can’t believe how well we played in the first half.
“We need to improve; I was quite dissatisfied.” There will be no risks, no deep runs, with or without the ball. We must be more assertive. More deep runs are required.”