Cristiano Ronaldo scored again for Manchester United, but they were beaten 2-1 late on by Young Boys in their Champions League opener after Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s red card.
Despite playing with 10 men 55 minutes, it looked like a solid defensive display would see United come away with a point.
But a late error from Jesse Lingard allowed Jordan Pefok (90+5) to slot home the winner with the final kick of the game.
Man Utd had been heavy favourites heading into the game, and made the perfect start as Ronaldo – who went level with Iker Casillas on all-time Champions League appearances (177) – slotted through David Von Ballmoos’ legs inside 13 minutes.
But the complexion of the match-up was changed in the 35th minute as Wan-Bissaka was shown a straight red for a heavy and clumsy challenge on Christopher Martins.
Sensing an opportunity and buoyed by a passionate home crowd, Young Boys pressed and probed for the leveller and made the breakthrough midway through the second half. Moumi Ngamaleu (66) poked the ball past David de Gea, before Pefok scored a late second following continuous pressure from the hosts.
It was a nightmare start for Man Utd in Group F, who will welcome Villarreal – who beat them in the Europa League final three months ago – to Old Trafford in two weeks’ time in desperate need of three points.
Both sides had sights of goal in the opening four minutes. Meschak Elia muscled Fred out of the way to pick up a loose Jadon Sancho pass, but driving into the box. However, his effort bobbled wide of the target. At the other end, Bruno Fernandes dinked a wonderful ball in from the left, trying to pick out Sancho’s run, but goalkeeper Von Ballmoos easily collected.
But soon after, the Young Boys stopper would have been disappointed in the manner he conceded the opener from Ronaldo. Fernandes lifted in a superb pass, picking out the run of Ronaldo at the back, who slotted the ball through Von Ballmoos’ legs as it trickled over the line.
Both goalkeepers were called into action just before the half-hour mark. Christian Fassnacht cut to the top of the area from the right, but his strike stung the palms of David De Gea. Man Utd then broke at the other end, Fernandes feeding Ronaldo again, but the latter’s strike was saved well by the Young Boys goalkeeper.
But in the 35th minute, the tide turned for Man Utd as Wan-Bissaka was shown a straight red card. It was a careless, studs-up challenge on Martins, and the referee rightly produced the red card. Soon after, Young Boys had their best chance of the game. Ulisses Garcia’s cross flashed through the area, with Fassnecht driving onto it over on the right. However, his fierce volley dragged just inches wide of the far post.
With Young Boys pushing for the equaliser, United need to regroup at half-time and introduced Raphael Varane for the second half. Ronaldo cut a solitary figure up-front as the waves of Young Boys attacks kept coming, but had a penalty shout in the 53rd minute, going down in the area with Mohamed Camara at his shoulder. However, the referee emphatically waved away the claims.
Young Boys made a deserved breakthrough in the 66th minute. The impressive Elia sent an inviting cross in from the right, with Ngamaleu poking a foot in front of Varane and flicking the ball past De Gea at the near post, with the ultra fans behind the goal erupting into jubilant scenes of celebration.
The hosts continued to press for a winner – Sandro Lauper forced a fingertip save from De Gea – but it was a huge error from Lingard that Young Boys took advantage of. A sloppy pass from the substitute left Pefok through on goal, and he easily slotted home past the United goalkeeper.
He was mobbed by his teammates – substitutes included – as he wheeled away to celebrate in front of the packed-out home end, as United were left to reflect on a dismal evening in Bern.