Manchester United squeeze into Europa League semi finals

In sweltering heat, United’s young team controlled the lion’s share of possession but had a hard time creating clear chances until Andreas Bjelland brought down Anthony Martial in the penalty area.

By   |  Published: 11th Aug 2020  11:00 am
Manchester United's English midfielder Jesse Lingard (C) challenges FC Copenhagen's Greek midfielder Zeca (R) and FC Copenhagen's Croatian midfielder Robert Mudrazija (L) during the Europa League quarter-final football match. Photo: AFP

Cologne: Manchester United needed an extra-time penalty from Bruno Fernandes to scrape into the Europa League semi finals after beating Copenhagen 1-0.

In sweltering heat, United’s young team controlled the lion’s share of possession but had a hard time creating clear chances until Andreas Bjelland brought down Anthony Martial in the penalty area. Fernandes blasted the ball past the otherwise excellent goalkeeper Karl-Johan Johnsson to give United the 95th-minute lead.

Mason Greenwood and Fernandes hit the woodwork with shots during normal time and earlier video reviews cost United two of its best opportunities to score.

First, VAR scratched off a United penalty for offside in the buildup. Just before the break Greenwood put the ball in the net after a lightning break down the right flank but the replay showed he’d been just offside when Marcus Rashford’s pass was played.

That decision was a particular blow for United after the apparent breakthrough goal came just as the English team had seemed to be getting frustrated and taking increasingly speculative shots against a Danish team playing its first ever European quarterfinal.

Copenhagen striker Mohamed Daramy muscled his way past the United defense to shoot in the 17th but had his shot blocked by Harry Maguire, and Jens Stage’s follow-up was blocked, too.

United play five-time Europa League winner Sevilla or English club Wolverhampton on Sunday in the semifinals. They play their quarterfinal on Tuesday.