Manchester United were denied a morale-boosting win as Shakhtar Donetsk came from behind in a 1-1 UEFA Champions League draw at the Donbass Arena.
Moyes’ side were looking to reclaim form after back-to-back league losses and took the lead in the 18th minute through Danny Welbeck’s lethal finish.
The goal proved to be United’s only shot on target as they failed to push on and they were frustrated when Taison levelled for the hosts with 14 minutes to go.
The pressure has ramped up on United and Moyes since their disastrous defeat to Manchester City was followed up with a loss at home to West Bromwich Albion so the new manager was hoping for a welcome distraction with a win in Europe.
The Red Devils could have been in front within eight minutes, but Robin van Persie missed a chance which for him, was a guilt-edge opportunity. The Dutch forward skipped inside on to his left foot and curled towards goal from 20 yards, but he sent the ball just over with his usually-trusted stronger foot.
The opening period didn’t all go United’s way as Shakhtar rightfully felt aggrieved that they were not awarded a penalty in the 14th minute. Alex Teixera skipped into the penalty area and was clipped by Tom Cleverley, but the referee waived away the appeals despite replays showing there was clear contact from the English international.
It went from bad to worse for the home side when United grabbed the opening goal four minutes later and it was another important away goal for Welbeck to add to his resume. Marouane Fellaini did really well to skip away on the right wing and fizz in a low cross that looked dangerous. It proved to be dangerous thanks to Welbeck’s poaching instinct as he stuck it away at the near post to the delight of the travelling Mancunians.
Following the goal, the game wasn’t pretty viewing for any football purist. Neither side showed enough attacking ability to create clear-cut chances, while the midfield battle between the teams tended to be about who could give the ball away more. The confidence was lacking visibly throughout the United team, but they had the lead and a win could go a long way in moving on from the bad losses.
Unfortunately for Moyes, his side couldn’t hold on for the victory as Shakhtar equalised in the 76th minute. Rakitsky drove forward from defence and when his cross was cleared by Nemanja Vidic, Taison arrived to slam past David De Gea from six yards out. It was a big blow for United, but this was a game that was there for the taking with a little more ruthlessness and Moyes will be unhappy with his side’s inability to kill the game off.
Match Report by Kyle Dixon (@kyledixon95)