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Player Ratings: United reach the semi-finals of the Europa League with Fernandes’ penalty knocking out Copenhagen

Manchester United beat FC Copenhagen 1-0 to reach the UEFA Europa League semi-final where they will face either Wolverhampton Wanderers or Sevilla. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side required extra time to get the victory in this match with the Danish side doing well. The goalkeeper has a magnificent game. Anthony Martial won a penalty in the 94th minute which Bruno Fernandes converted to win the game for United. It was a hot evening on Cologne and United will be pleased they are through.

Copenhagen started well in this quarter-final, pushing United and nearly breaking through a few times with United defending shoddily at times. United then started to get into the game, sending the ball into the Danish sides half, pushing to find an opener. It seemed strange at a point when the referee gave a penalty, seemingly for nothing, which turned into an offside. Towards the end of the half, Mason Greenwood found the back of the net, ricocheting off the far post and in but was ruled offside by VAR.

United scored a second goal in the game around 12 minutes into the second half. Greenwood fired goal wards hitting the post and rebounding only for Marcus Rashford to slot home but the flag was raised and United had a goal removed for the second time in the match. Solskjaer’s side will need to keep pushing for the victory, which is going to be a fight for them. It could be the best thing that happens though as it will be clear that United need some reinforcement this summer.

United had a few chances on goal as the Danish side seemed to tire late into the game. Bruno Fernandes struck the post with a sublime strike which saw him start to lead in the match. Copenhagen then started to push to get back into the game, pushing United into their own half and seeking to find a goal, which was not forthcoming. With about 16 minutes remaining, Rashford was down after a challenge, seemingly needing treatment but he was back on his feet in no time.

In the 85th minute of the game, Anthony Martial had the chance to get United ahead but saw his effort saved by Karl-Johan Johnsson after Brandon Williams spun the ball into the Frenchman. 25-yards out, Martial looked to fire his shot into the top-right corner with the Swede making a diving save to deny the United forward from breaking the deadlock. It seemed to be one of those matches for United, hitting the post and seeing efforts saved in this quarter-final match.

It ended 0-0 with extra time to decide the victor from this game. Copenhagen did well to defend against United with many not expecting the showing that they saw from the talented Danish side. They have a few players to keep an eye on; Victor Nelsson, a central defender and Jonas Wind, a forward – they both played well and with both being 21, have good futures ahead of them. Rasmus Falk played well too and seems to be a decent player but is 28. Johnsson, the goalkeeper was magnificent too.

Solskjaer made a third change with Juan Mata replacing Greenwood before extra time. Four minutes into the first 15 minutes of extra time, United won a penalty after Martial was taken out in the box. He firstly had the chance to score, then getting back into the box and was fouled. The referee gave the penalty with VAR giving it too. Fernandes took the spot kick, putting United 1-0 up at this late stage of the game. United now need to keep their heads and grind this result.

At the end of the first period of extra time, United were pushing to a second goal with Juan Mata having an effort and Victor Lindelof hitting the rebound. United seemed to find the energy to keep going despite making just tree substitutions in the game so far. Johnsson has been immense in goal for the Danish side and should keep his head held high after the performance he put in for his team. They were perhaps not too far behind United in the 90 minutes and should be proud of that.

Solskjaer made a fourth change in the 113th minute with Jesse Lingard replacing Rashford, still with United needing a second goal to close the game. United were still 1-0 up but with only one goal in it, an equaliser could have sent the game to penalties. With a matter of minutes remaining for United, the Danish side were pushing to get an equaliser, seemingly fighting to get involved and get forward. So far, United were doing all they needed to stay ahead.

United gave away a free-kick with just over a minute of extra time remaining, before stoppages. It was a nervy moment for United, who weathered the set-piece with Lingard running forward with the ball and deflecting the danger before losing the ball. Copenhagen then tried to get forward again, searching for the equaliser. United still did all they could to keep a clean sheet with one added minute of time at the end. Solskjaer made a fifth change with Scott McTominay replacing Martial.

Manchester United

22 Sergio Romero

The first 20 minutes of the match was dire for United with the Danish side pressing to open the scoring. United held form and recovered.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Played well at right-back and got forward a lot of the time. However, his passes and crosses were not always to a teammate and in the final minutes of the match, he played the ball across the face of the goal with nobody there for United.

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3 Eric Bailly

Seemed rusty at the start of the game with United's defence being pressured by the Danes. Got back into the game and seemed strong at the back, at times. Was booked in the second half and therefore replaced by Lindelof in the 70th minute.

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5 Harry Maguire

Captained the team well but was booked in the second half, minutes before Bailly, who was replaced.

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33 Brandon Williams

Did what he needed to do in the left-back position and god forward a lot of the time, also showing his ability with the ball at times.

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17 Fred

Did well in midfield at times with Pogba even though neither were playing as a defensive minded midfielder. Seemed to make a few passing mistakes, perhaps why Matic replaced Jim in the 70th minute.

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6 Paul Pogba

Added some class to the midfield against the Danish side. I'm not sure Fred is good enough to partner him. United were much better with Matic and Pogba in midfield.

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11 Mason Greenwood

Had the only goal of the first half, but was ruled offside. He was heavily involved in the game and going into extra time, probably did not have enough left to get stuck in for United.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

Ran the show against Copenhagen and hit a sublime finish which came off the post. United won a penalty in the first half ox extra time, Fernandes took the spot kick, putting United 1-0 up.

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10 Marcus Rashford

Rashford has not been the same player late into the season as he was before the coronavirus pandemic hit. However, he did find the back of the net but was ruled offside. Despite some good glimpses, Rashford was replaced by Lingard in the 113th minute of the match.

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9 Anthony Martial

Continued to be in the same form in this game although luck was not with him today. He could have scored a few goals but never gave up, kept his head up and continued to drive forward. Weaved into the box looking to open the scoring but was denied. Won a penalty four minutes into the first period of extra time with Fernandes putting United 1-0 up.

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Substitutes

31 Nemanja Matic

Replaced Fred 70'. Came on to do a defensive job in midfield and did just that. He's a great player to have in the squad. Was perhaps on the bench tonight to keep him fresh for the next game, keeping him much fitter despite the six day rest before the next match.

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2 Victor Lindelof

Replaced Bailly 70'. With Bailly and Maguire both on a yellow, the Swede was needed to keep United's defence strong - no sendings off. Did his job and nearly scored United's second goal.

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8 Juan Mata

Replaced Greenwood 90'. Came on at the start of extra time. Got involved immediately as United won a penalty and took the lead. Could have scored himself in the first period too.

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14 Jesse Lingard

Replaced Rashford 113'. Came on to prove fresh legs and pace, knowing that he has scored in his last two matches. Got a good run with the ball but was dispossessed.

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39 Scott McTominay

Replaced Martial 120'. Came on with a minute of added time remaining. Did not get involved in the match.

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Goals: Bruno Fernandes 95′ penalty

Assists: N/A

Manchester United: Romero; Wan-Bissaka, Bailly (Lindelof 70′), Maguire, Williams; Fred (Matic 70′), Pogba; Greenwood (Mata 90′), Fernandes, Rashford (Lingard 113′); Martial (McTominay 120′)

Substitutes Not Used: De Gea; Fosu-Mensah, Mengi; Pereira, James; Ighalo, Chong

Bookings: Harry Maguire 62′, Eric Bailly 63′; Mikkel Kaufmann 75′, Jens Stage 77′, Zeca 105+3′

Written by John Walker

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