Europa League: Manchester United spot on, enter semifinals
Bruno Fernandes converts penalty in extra time to help Man Utd edge out Copenhagen 1-0 to seal semi-final spot
Bruno Fernandes scored a penalty in extra time as Manchester United scraped past FC Copenhagen 1-0 on Monday in the quarter-finals of the Europa League, reshaped into an eight-team straight knockout tournament in Germany due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Portugal international notched his competition-best seventh goal of the season as United set up a semi-final clash against Sevilla or Wolves.
"Third time this season we've been to the semis, every competition we've been in. Delighted we've gone through, we deserved to win tonight," United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said. "Their keeper was fantastic, unbelievable. We hit the post a few times, there were a couple of VAR decisions against us. It could have been one of those nights that you end up with penalty shoot outs. They made it hard for us." All games from the quarter-finals onwards in this season's Europa League are being played behind closed doors as one-off ties across four venues—Cologne, Duisburg, Dusseldorf and Gelsenkirchen—in a unique format following a five-month interruption.
Solskjaer recalled Fernandes, Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood and Anthony Martial but the 2017 competition winners struggled early, and Copenhagen forward Mohamed Daramy, 18, was twice involved as the Danish underdogs threatened a creaking United backline.
Eric Bailly intervened just as Daramy attempted to stab home a cross, and the Ivorian defender was then played into trouble by Fred with Jens Stage's effort blocked. Rashford finally tested Karl-Johan Johnsson just before the interval with a long-range shot—the first of a multitude of saves for Copenhagen's goalkeeper.
Greenwood looked to have put United ahead later only for the teenager to be ruled offside following a VAR review.
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