Alkmaar 0-0 Man United: United survive Europa League scare against well-oiled Dutch side
Alkmaar 0-0 Man United: United survive Europa League scare against well-oiled Dutch side
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Alkmaar 0-0 Man United: United survive Europa League scare against well-oiled Dutch side

Manchester United put in an uninspiring performance on Thursday night as they were held to a 0-0 draw away to AZ Alkmaar in a Europa League clash. 

United manager Ole Gunnar made eight changes to the side that drew 1-1 against Arsenal in the English Premier League on Monday, handing academy product Brandon Williams his first start. 

The match's tempo was low in the opening minutes but picked a little from the fifth minute with the hosts the better side for the better part of the half.

Drab first-half, little action

Alkmaar came all out and thought they had taken the lead after 11 minutes, but their goal was ruled out for offside. 

The hosts kept knocking on United's door and forced them into mistakes and unnecessary fouls, winning a number of corners in the opening 15 minutes. 

The visitors, however, broke on the half-hour mark with a devastating attack when Mason Greenwood's effort from inside the box was brilliantly blocked with the ball going out for a corner kick.

There was however little action at both ends of the posts, with much of the proceedings taking place in the middle of the park as the teams went for the break tied at 0-0.

Alkmaar dominate second-half

The hosts kept pushing for a goal in the second half and felt they should have been awarded a penalty after Brandon Williams appeared to handle the ball in the box, but the ref turned down the penalty appeals and waved play on.

On the 71st minute, Owen Wijndal latched on to a precise defence-splitting pass and fired a nice strike from a promising distance towards the left post, but David de Gea had a clear sight of it and made a comfortable save to deny the hosts.

De Gea saves the day again

Five minutes later, Oussama Idrissi once again came close to breaking the deadlock, volleying the ball from the edge of the box after a rebound.

David de Gea scrambled for the ball, but Oussama's effort flew just wide of the right post. 

With United seemingly pegged back, Idrissi came close again on the 77th minute after picking a pass and unleashing a strong shot from inside the box, but the goalkeeper was equal to it as he made another save. 

On the 84th minute, Jesse Lingard, who was a second-half introduction missed a golden opportunity, after brilliantly losing his marker inside the box only to shoot just wide of the left post.

There was no much action after the miss, with both sides settling for the barren draw. 

United are still at the top of Group L after the draw, having won their first match at home against Astana. 

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