Manchester United captain Harry Maguire was on the losing side on March 15
15 March 2022 - Manchester United

‘A punch in the stomach’

Manchester United
Jack Stackhouse

Jack Stackhouse is a Manchester United supporter. He’s also our Champions Journalist fan reporter, so he’s endeavoured to put his disappointment at defeat to Atleti into words

At 7pm, the line-ups are released. The smile on my face goes from cheek to cheek as I see that not only is Cristiano Ronaldo playing, but Bruno Fernandes is back and that menacing man once of Merseyside, Luis Suarez, is on the bench. However, when my friends arrived 15 minutes before kick-off, my smile began to shrink and the nerves set in as kick-off loomed closer.

We open a few cold beers and dive into a bowl of chips. I’ve had my lucky United jersey on all day: the third kit, with Ronaldo on the back. But as the players begin to walk out of the tunnel, the big debate is not about Ronaldo but rather the battle of the youngster: Jadon v João. The thought of João Félix playing against United haunted my sleep the night before the game, as his dazzling performance was the reason we conceded the first goal. But with Jadon Sancho hitting a patch of golden form, could United fight fire with fire?

As well as talking about Sancho, we were speculating how many goals would Ronaldo score. After his performance against Spurs, and his love of playing against Atlético Madrid, it seemed guaranteed that he would be on the scoresheet; it seemed you had the perfect recipe for a Ronaldo masterclass. As kick-off approached, it seemed accepted that United would win.

However, as the game reached half-time, that feeling of optimism that I had for a United victory was substituted with dread; it seemed that we were going to crash out of the Champions League. Watching as my team struggled to break down Atleti’s back line felt like a punch in the stomach every time the play broke down. After the final whistle went, it felt as if my body had been drained of happiness, as Diego Simeone ran down the touchline and his team advanced.

Our Champions Journalist fan reporter:
Jack Stackhouse
About Champions Journalist fan reporters: These blogs have been written by winners of our annual Champions Journalist competition as well as a selection of editors from various fan page accounts. Together they offer their unique insights from the group stages all the way to the final.
Champions Journalist
With thanks to our Champions Journalist winner
Jack Stackhouse
Champions Journalist is an annual competition that gives fans a chance to write about their club for Champions Journal.