October 3, 2019 / 7:22 PM / 19 days ago

Shot-shy United held to goalless draw away to Alkmaar

(Reuters) - Manchester United’s lean goalscoring form continued in a turgid 0-0 draw away to Dutch club AZ Alkmaar in their second Group L match in the Europa League on Thursday.

Soccer Football - Europa League - Group L - AZ Alkmaar v Manchester United - Cars Jeans Stadion, Hague, Netherlands - October 3, 2019 Manchester United's Nemanja Matic in action with AZ Alkmaar's Myron Boadu and Teun Koopmeiners REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw

United never looked like scoring for most of the evening on the plastic surface of the Kyocera Stadium in The Hague and failed to produce one effort on target.

The hosts were playing 70 miles away from home because of a roof collapse at their AFAS Stadium last month, but their fans still produced a raucous atmosphere.

There was not too much to get excited about, however, with defences on top on the slick surface.

United will be happier with the point which puts them on four points from two games, level with Partizan Belgrade who won 2-1 in Astana in an earlier kickoff.

“The conditions were tough but I thought we did very well. It puts us in a good position,” Solskjaer, who had criticised the state of the artificial pitch in the build-up, said.

While United defended well, the paucity of their attacking options was again in evidence as their run without an away win in all competitions stretched to 10.

Solskjaer’s side have now failed to score more than one goal in a game since they began the season with a 4-0 thumping of Chelsea in the Premier League.

If any team looked like scoring it was Alkmaar for whom the lively Oussama Idrissi was the best attacking player on view.

Alkmaar striker Myron Boadu had a first-half goal ruled out for offside before Idrissi forced David de Gea into a sharp save. Idrissi skimmed an effort wide after the break and tested De Gea again with a powerful shot the keeper punched away.

United’s ambition was limited but they brought on Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard and Scott McTominay in the final quarter of the game to try and force a winner.

Rashford was denied what looked a blatant penalty 10 minutes from time when he appeared to be clipped by a sliding Stijn Wuytens after a sharp turn in the area.

Lingard, left out of the England squad earlier on Thursday, had United’s best effort with a dipping shot just wide soon after but worryingly for Solskjaer he limped off before the end.

One of the positives for United was an assured performance by Brandon Williams who made his first start at left back.

Reporting by Martyn Herman; editing by Ken Ferris

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