Andre Onana is under fire from Rio Ferdinand for creating a “nightmare scenario” for Manchester United with a costly error in their Champions League opener against Bayern Munich.
Onana allowed Leroy Sane’s seemingly tame shot to slip beneath him and find the back of the net, granting Bayern a 1-0 lead just 28 minutes into the match. Sane combined with Harry Kane before unleashing a left-footed strike from just outside the penalty area.
The shot was quite central and shouldn’t have posed a challenge for Onana. However, the United goalkeeper mishandled it, deflecting the shot into the corner. United found themselves down 2-0 before halftime when Jamal Musiala’s impressive run set up an unmarked Serge Gnabry, who fired the ball into the bottom corner.
Former United defender Rio Ferdinand didn’t hold back in criticizing Onana during half-time on TNT Sports. He remarked, “This is a nightmare scenario for Onana. He has demonstrated confidence with his footwork; we were admiring some of his passes. However, as a goalkeeper, you’re paid to make saves.
“This is an excellent piece of skill from Sane to set it up, but he doesn’t strike it with any real intent—it’s not placed in the corners, and Onana’s reaction afterward, he should have saved this. It’s routine for him, and he should have caught it and looked for his next pass. It’s a grave mistake and one he must bounce back from.”
Former United midfielder Paul Scholes had a somewhat different perspective on the goal, placing some blame on the entire team in front of Onana. He stated, “He knows he’s made a colossal mistake. However, I also believe there are other issues with the goal.
“I think Manchester United played very well in the first half, but a few lapses in concentration, and before you know it, you’re trailing 2-0. It’s a significant error on his part, and he needs to recover from it and maintain focus.”
“He simply has to stop that,” remarked Owen Hargreaves in his co-commentary for TNT Sports. “I’m not sure if he wasn’t prepared or didn’t get his feet set, but that ball just shouldn’t have gone in. Onana realized it immediately.”
Onana joined United from Inter Milan in July for an initial fee of €51 million (£43.8 million), with an additional €4 million (£3.4 million) possible in add-ons. Erik ten Hag, the United manager, brought in the Cameroon international for his ability to build up play from the back, but he has already made a few fundamental errors.
In the opening Premier League match of the season against Wolves, he was fortunate not to be penalized for punching striker Sasa Kalajdzic rather than the ball.
His shaky start at United has come after Ten Hag expressed his confidence in Onana’s ability to make a significant impact. “The most important thing for a goalkeeper is clean sheets, and he’s not achieving that on his own,” Ten Hag remarked after signing Onana. “Therefore, you need a very well-organized defense, that’s quite clear. But a goalkeeper’s capabilities also include keeping the goal clean. So the primary criterion for a good goalkeeper is this.”