Uninspiring Manchester United held to goalless draw at AZ Alkmaar in the Europa League

·Assistant Producer

Manchester United could only manage a 0-0 draw at AZ Alkmaar in the Europa League with another uninspiring performance.

The home side had the ball in the back of the net through Myron Boadu early on but was rightly ruled out for offside, before teenager Mason Greenwood wasted the best chance of the first half for United.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side should have been awarded a penalty when substitute Marcus Rashford was taken out by Stijn Wuytens, but the referee was unmoved and VAR is not in use for Europa League group stage matches.

Another sub Jesse Lingard fired wide late on when he should have hit the target before he had to leave the pitch just before the full-time whistle due to injury, as United finished the game with 10-men.

They are now second in Group L on four points, Partizan Belgrade are top after they beat FC Astana 2-1.

THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS - OCTOBER 03: Marcus Rashford of Manchester United reacts during the UEFA Europa League group L match between AZ Alkmaar and Manchester United at ADO Den Haag on October 03, 2019 in The Hague, Netherlands. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)
Marcus Rashford brought down inside the area (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

Solskjaer said he was unimpressed by the artificial pitch before kick-off, describing it as one of the worst he’s seen for a long while.

United were on top in the early stages, but it was the home side who had the ball in the back of the net first. Myron Boadu converted from Fredrik Midtsjo’s cross, but he was offside.

David de Gea denied Alkmaar just minutes later with a diving save low to his right. Oussama Idrissi cut inside and with space unleashed a powerful strike that the United keeper did well to get down to.

Dani de Wit got up well from the resulting corner, but couldn’t find the target despite being unmarked at the near post.

United should have taken the lead on the half-hour mark after some slick football on the ‘unimpressive’ surface.

Daniel James showed his pace bursting in behind the Alkmaar defence, pulled back for Mason Greenwood six yards out, but the teenager’s effort was straight at Ron Vlaar in front of goal.

Almost immediately down the other end the home side themselves should have gone in front, but Boadu’s header was weak and straight at de Gea.

DEN HAAG, NETHERLANDS - OCTOBER 3: Myron Boadu of AZ Alkmaar  during the UEFA Europa League   match between AZ Alkmaar v Manchester United at the Cars Jeans Stadium on October 3, 2019 in Den Haag Netherlands (Photo by Soccrates/Getty Images)
Myron Boadu saw his early goal ruled out for offside (Photo by Soccrates/Getty Images)

The home fans screamed for penalty on two occasions after the half-time break. The first on Diogo Dalot after a whipped in cross before appealing for another on Brandon Williams, but referee Gediminas Mazeika waved both claims away.

Marcus Rashford was brought into the game with 25 minutes left on the clock in a bid to inspire Manchester United, with Daniel James going off.

Owen Wijndal was next to strike one at the United goal, but his left-footed strike de Gea made another comfortable save with the ball swerving towards the corner.

Rashford should have been awarded a penalty with ten minutes to go, but the referee was again unmoved when it came to pointing to the spot. Stijn Wuytens went sliding in early, the 21-year-old turned inside and was taken down, but nothing given.

Jesse Lingard was inches from making the breakthrough moments later with a smart turn and finish. Receiving the ball from Scott McTominay inside the area, he turned and smashed an effort just wide on the volley. The two substitutes linking up nicely.

Lingard hobbled off injured just before the full-time whistle to compound United’s misery as the match ended 0-0.

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