Manchester United were eliminated from the Champions League on Tuesday after suffering a 3-2 loss to Wolfsburg at the Volkswagen Arena.

United needed a victory to avoid elimination from the competition and Louis Van Gaal’s side seemed to struggle with that pressure in the opening exchanges of the match.

Wolfsburg had a gilt-edged chance to take the lead as early as the third minute when Max Kruse flicked on a cross to an unmarked Andre Schurrle arriving in the box from the left wing. Schurrle hit his shot on the half volley, but the effort flew harmlessly over David de Gea's goal.

United struggled to retain possession early on, but came close to scoring on their first visit to the final third in the eighth minute. Mata received possession on the edge of the box and his low hard drive crashed into Marouane Fellaini when it looked destined for the back of the net.

United didn’t have to wait long for a second chance, and made no mistake when it came in the tenth minute. Mata turned provider and slipped a through ball to Anthony Martial, who raced clear and beat Diego Benaglio with clinical finish.

However, the lead was cancelled out less than three minutes later when Wolfsburg equalized from a free kick after a defensive error.

Left back Ricardo Rodriguez curled the set piece goal-wards and centreback Naldo was able to connect with a volley and beat De Gea at his near post.

The goal didn’t seem to affect United’s rhythm or momentum, and they continued pressing forward in search of another goal.

Benaglio was all that prevented United from taking the lead a second time when he blocked a close-range header from Fellaini at a corner in the 27th minute.

That save would prove critical just two minutes later, when Julian Draxler cut in from the right wing and played a one-two with Kruse to work himself into the box. He squared the ball to Veirinha and the Portuguese scored with a simple tap in.

United started the game with several first choice players ruled out through injury, and they suffered yet another blow when Matteo Darmian was hurt late in the first half and replaced by 18-year-old Cameron Borthwick-Jackson.

Neither side was able to create any further chances in what remained of the half, and the hosts went into the break leading 2-1.

The match was much cagier when play restarted, with Wolfsburg keen to protect their lead and United wary of going further behind.

The hosts had several half chances and were kept out only by desperate defending from United and crucial interventions from De Gea.

Van Gaal’s side never gave up searching for an equalizer and scored against the run of play from a corner in the 82nd minute.

Fellaini rose highest to meet the cross and Joshua Guilavogui headed the ball over his goalkeeper and into the net when trying to clear the Belgian’s effort.

Wolfsburg were able to reclaim the lead almost immediately once again, when Naldo grabbed his second with a thumping header at a corner in the 84th minute.

United were unable to equalize a second time and were unceremoniously dumped out of the tournament after finishing third in the group.

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