Manchester United struggled to place away a doughty FC Copenhagen earlier than doing so in further time, Bruno Fernandes once more the hero for Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s facet.
The supervisor launched Juan Mata for Mason Greenwood forward of the additional half-hour and this proved prescient. On 95 minutes Anthony Martial was slipped in by Mata and whereas the excellent Karl-Johan Johnsson saved from the Frenchman, a second later Andreas Bjelland pulled him down.
Clément Turpin, the referee, awarded United’s 22nd penalty of the season and Fernandes beat Johnsson to arrange the membership’s 17th European semi-final – towards both Wolves or Sevilla, who play on Tuesday.
Solskjær chosen Eric Bailly to companion Harry Maguire with the lately injured Victor Lindelöf on the bench, whereas preferring Fred as an alternative of Nemanja Matic in midfield. In sweltering warmth United claimed a primary nook although Fernandes’s supply was defended simply.
Extra pleasing was the rhythm Fernandes and Paul Pogba have been establishing in midfield, pulling their white-shirted opponents round: exactly what was required within the sweltering situations. A transfer that went Martial-Marcus Rashford-Martial-Mason Greenwood had Copenhagen turned, then relieved, when Johnsson may accumulate.
But in moments play had moved to the opposite finish as Copenhagen embarked upon a sustained interval of strain. Brandon Williams was crushed by Pep Biel who crossed from the proper and United have been grateful Bailly made the block. Then, Williams redeemed himself with a flying header beneath his bar after Martial inadvertently flicked on a Rasmus Falk nook.
Subsequent a hapless Fred handed straight to Jonas Wind and Copenhagen have been in, the ball going to Mohamed Daramy. Bailly seemed to have policed him earlier than the ahead swivelled and left the defender on the turf. A Maguire leg stopped the shot, the ball rebounded to Wind earlier than Pogba cleared.
This had Solskjær screaming at Fred for his lack of focus, and United requiring a severe upturn in tempo. Confusion reigned when Turpin awarded them a penalty for what appeared a foul on Martial earlier than VAR dominated offside.
Higher from United adopted the drinks break. Fernandes fired a free-kick simply over, Fred floated a 40-yard ball onto Greenwood’s chest, and a sequence involving Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Pogba and Rashford got here near having Martial clear in. United continued to buzz round. A Greenwood shot claimed a nook, whereas Fred pinged in one other looking ball that had an unattended Rashford unable to gather near the spot.
Bailly was proving United’s most necessary defender. When Guillermo Varela wheeled previous Williams the cross would have reached Daramy if not for one more important intervention from the Ivorian.
Because the break neared Greenwood fired house expertly however VAR dominated – accurately – that he was offside. This, although, did mirror how United had discovered a better gear. This needed to proceed within the second half if a semi-final berth was to be secured.
Copenhagen had totally different concepts. This was signalled by a excessive press that disrupted United and led to a free-kick for the Danes. Nonetheless, the purple shirts flooded ahead as soon as extra as slick Rashford footwork plus a Fernandes move arrange Pogba: his curled effort was wild. Greenwood aside this summed up the shortage of composure in entrance of objective. It meant the supervisor would possibly quickly have to contemplate quickly making a alternative (or two) until United may make a breakthrough.
When Martial, Fernandes, and Williams mixed the ultimate effort was scuffed by Fred: but extra franticness when a cool head was wanted. Additional frustration occurred when Greenwood’s left foot strike smacked towards the proper submit and Rashford turned house: like the previous earlier, the latter was offside.
This was United at their most threatening. Greenwood was discovering pleasure in additional central areas as when a Fernandes lob had him simply fail to convey the ball down within the space. Copenhagen have been beginning to really feel the situations extra. The best way Fernandes was allowed a contact earlier than crashing a 25-yard diagonal off a submit – the left this time – spoke of a wilting Danish rearguard.
But as the ultimate minutes approached Wan-Bissaka was lucky Bryan Oviedo’s close-range shot hit his physique and never an arm as a penalty may need been awarded.
Solskjaer – lastly – made a double change, changing Bailly and Fred with Lindelöf and Matic. United had a scare when Varela went down within the space however no penalty ensued. Then, Martial’s late effort was beautifully saved by Johnsson.
By last whistle the impasse remained and it now turned a check of attrition and of managerial shrewdness: right here Solskjær’s flip to Mata turned the tie for his group.