Manchester United fans have been left divided over André Onana’s debut against Real Madrid

His first outing wasn't exactly plain sailing.

Danny Jones Danny Jones - 27th July 2023

After watching Manchester United’s latest pre-season game against Real Madrid in the early hours of Wednesday morning, many fans have been left divided over their new goalkeeper André Onana’s performance on his debut.

Man United ultimately lost the game 2-0 after conceding both an early goal and one in the dying embers, and while the Cameroonian keeper showed plenty of positive signs throughout the match, it was hardly the result the Reds were looking for on his first outing.

The Spaniards opened the scoring inside the first six minutes after a long ball over the top and in behind the United defence left them chasing back, at which point Onana decided to come out to the edge of his box and pressure the on-running Jude Bellingham.

Unfortunately for him, the young English star had the calmness and composure to dink the ball over the 27-year-old to score his first finish for Madrid and while it was ultimately found to have been offside, the goal still stood and one of Onana’s first actions in red ended with him being chipped on his debut.

What a way to announce yourself but a moment to forget for Onana on his United debut.

To little surprise, Bellingham went on to win man of the match overall after shining throughout the game and although the goal should have been ruled out, it left many supporters watching at home debating whether Onana should have rushed out or stayed on his line.


His positioning throughout the game, in fact, was highlighted throughout, with the pundits commentating on MUTV remarking: “It was interesting to watch him play so high. We’ve never had a United goalkeeper come 10-15 yards outside his box.”

Some even joked that he was so far out of his box for much of the game that they mistook a pitch invader for Onana himself.


Ex-pro Danny Webber was one of many who went on to note that “it’s an added benefit that he can come out and play with his feet”, with some even describing his passing distribution as “outrageous”, taking plenty of comfort in some impressive stats over the course of the 90.

While plenty of Reds were pleased to see how comfortable on the ball he was, especially with how Erik ten Hag is looking to play out from the back — defender Brandon Williams commenting after the game how much he enjoyed the new playstyle — others were only interested in the goals he let in.

One person tweeted, “The goal was absolutely his fault you have to do better there his distribution is great but as a goalkeeper and keeping the ball out of the net, I think he’s no better than [David] de Gea“. On the other hand, Onana did make two very decent reflex saves in the game, to his credit.


Then came the second goal from 33-year-old former Stoke and Newcastle striker, Joselu, who produced an absolutely exquisite bicycle kick in the 89th minute which would have caught most keepers off guard and simply left Onana wrong-footed.

A few people on social media suggested that he should have come out to claim the cross (a criticism that was often levelled at de Gea) or at least attempted to get a hand to it given it was at his near post, but you won’t find many shot-stoppers with the reflexes to keep out finishes like this. What a goal.

Ultimately, these knee-jerk reactions to Onana’s first game in United colours are just that, and getting through your debut against one of the best teams in the world scot-free was an extremely tall order.

Moreover, judging anyone on their first game at a new club when they’ve barely had any time to even train with their new teammates, let alone play a competitive match, seems pretty harsh and premature.

Even still, his manager and former Ajax coach seemed content, as ten Hag said: “I think good. Solid. Two very good saves. He was there in the moment when the team needed him, he did his job. He integrated well in our team.” It’s a long old season so fans will have to see how he settles in.


You can watch the highlights down below and decide for yourself:

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Featured Image — Real Madrid (via YouTube)