Europa League: Manchester United spot on, enter semifinals

Updated: 12 August, 2020 07:59 IST | AFP | Cologne

Bruno Fernandes converts penalty in extra time to help Man Utd edge out Copenhagen 1-0 to seal semi-final spot

Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes scores from the penalty spot against Copenhagen during their UEFA Europa League quarter-final in Cologne, Germany, on Monday. pic/Getty Images
Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes scores from the penalty spot against Copenhagen during their UEFA Europa League quarter-final in Cologne, Germany, on Monday. pic/Getty Images

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.

Solskjaer happy

"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.

Early struggles

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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First Published: 12 August, 2020 07:28 IST

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