Manchester United beat Omonia Nicosia 3-2 at the GSP Stadium in Nicosia on Thursday evening. It was United’s second win in the UEFA Europa League this season. A brace from Marcus Rashford and a third goal in two matches for Anthony Martial sealed the victory.
United started the match well in Nicosia with Bruno Fernandes seeing his shot blocked in the third minute of the match. Jadon Sancho had a good chance in the sixth minute after good work from Fernandes and Lisandro Martinez but he missed the target.
Cristiano Ronaldo tried to scored that elusive 700th career club goal in the ninth minute of the match but the Omonia goalkeeper made a fine save to deny the Portuguese forward from that milestone. Just six minutes later, his effort was blocked. Martinez missed the target a minute later.
In the 18th minute, Fernandez his the woodwork on another attack and it seemed it was going to be a long night in Cyprus for both United’s Portuguese attacking players. Ronaldo missed another effort on goal in the 25th minute of the match, which added to his frustration.
Antony had an attempt on goal in the 27th minute of the match, which was a similar effort to the one he scored against Manchester City on Sunday, however, this one was not going into the back of the net that easily with the goalkeeper making the save.
In the 34th minute of the match it was the home side that took the lead, which was unsurprising. Karim Ansarifard was the goalscorer with Bruno making the assist. The home supporters were happy to see their team leading against United in the UEFA Europa League.
United tried to get back into the match but nothing was working for them. Both Christian Eriksen and Fernandes had shots on goal which were blocked in the 42nd and 43rd minutes respectively and Victor Lindelof missed the target in the same minute. United were trying.
There were two minutes of added time at the end of the first half but that was not enough for United to get back into the match. Erik ten Hag would have to tinker with his options in the second half and get United back into the match before aiming for the victory – which was much-needed.
At the start of the second half, Ten Hag made a double substitution with Luke Shaw and Marcus Rashford replacing Tyrell Malacia and Jadon Sancho. Rashford missed the target with his first shot of the match. Antony then had a shot blocked a few minutes later.
Just eight minutes into the second half United had the equaliser in the back of the net through Rashford. Fernandes started the attack with Rashford latching onto the ball, losing it before regaining it and firing it into the back of the net to get his fourth goal of the season.
Over the next four minutes both Eriksen and Anthony missed targets on goal. United were going to make the Cypriot team pay for their early goal but they needed to get is right, getting them into the back of the net. Antony then had a shot blocked before the hour mark of the match.
Ronaldo missed the target once again in the 61st minute of the match with his teammates trying to help him get his elusive 700th club career goal. Anthony Martial replaced Fernandes in the 61st minute also with Ten Hag bringing on another attacking player to see this match out.
Just two minutes later, much like his appearance against City on Sunday, Martial had the ball in the back of the net to put United into the lead for the first time in the match. The Frenchman combined with Rashford, who laid on the assist for his teammate, scoring his third goal of the season so far.
In the 68th minute, David De Gea was tested once again, this time making the save to deny Omonia from an equaliser themselves. In the 74th minute of the match, Fred replaced Anthony to add more fresh legs on the pitch to see this game through.
De Gea made another save in the 77th minuet as Omonia sought to get a chance to earn their first point in the Europa League this season. Ronaldo hit the woodwork a minute later. Scott McTominay replaced Casemiro in the 82nd minute just before Rashford scored again.
The England forward scored his fifth goal of the season, assisted by Ronaldo, who had been trying to get his 700th club career goal into the back of the net. United had done enough in this match. Omonia then scored a second goal in the 85th minute but it was not enough for them.
David De Gea: The Spanish goalkeeper was well beaten for Omonia’s opener but had little to do for 60-odd minutes before making to saves and picking the ball out of the net again. United had this match won but it was hard-fought at times. ★★★★★★
Diogo Dalot: It was not his best performance of the season and definitely not his worst. He did what he needed to do and was tidy at times but did not make much difference for United. He has started each and every match so far this season and that looks set to stay. ★★★★★★
Victor Lindelof: Omonia outpaced him on more that one occasion, which is what happens with Lindelof at times. He did not let it get the better of him though as he battled. However, he was out of the way for the opening goal but he was not the one to blame. ★★★★★★
Lisandro Martinez: The Argentinian was United’s best attacking player in the first half and showed just why United paid the money for him in the summer. His passing for useful for United and the passion and desire he has brought to the team was much-needed. ★★★★★★★★
Tyrell Malacia: He was sloppy at times, both before and after the opening goal. It is going to take him time to settle and be the best he can be. It is early days for him. He was replaced by Shaw during the half time break, which benefitted United in the second half. ★★★★
Casemiro: The Brazilian made no real impact in the match, which could hold problems ahead with him yet to start a Premier League match. United did not have to defend much, either before or after the opening goal. Replaced by McTominay. ★★★★★★
Christian Eriksen: Left Ansarifard unmarked just before he scored the opening goal of the match. This was not his best performance in a United shirt but was not his worst in a red shirt either. It cannot all be good for every player in every match. ★★★★★★
Antony: The Brazilian seemed to pass up a good chance to score with the scoreline at 0-0. He also seemed to cast through the match at times. He did have a few shots on goal but nothing was going to chance the result. He was replaced by Fred late in the match. ★★★★★
Bruno Fernandes: United dominated this match in attack but it was not working for them. Fernandes has tried time and time again to be that player that United signed in January 2020 but it has been hard for him. He was replaced by Martial, who did find the back of the net. ★★★★★★
Jadon Sancho: Seems to have regressed once again after a good start to the season (and pre-season). Perhaps fortunate to start this match. Something needed to change in this match and he was replaced by Rashford at the start of the second half. What a substitution. ★★★
Cristiano Ronaldo: Really wanted his 700th club career goal in this match and had plenty of chances. However, nothing worked for him. His teammates were trying to get it working for him. Out of form but not out of patience. He will be annoyed with that. ★★★★★
Luke Shaw: Replaced Malacia 46′. He was an improvement on Malacia but still seemed quite rusty after his injury layoff. If Ten Hag can get both Malacia and Shaw playing well this season, United will have two different left-backs to play tactical games. ★★★★★★
Marcus Rashford: Replaced Sancho 46′. His demotion to the bench following injury has brought out the best of him. He has already matches his five goals from last season. Scored two great goals and got an assist on the night in Cyprus. ★★★★★★★★
Anthony Martial: Replaced Fernandes 61′. Came off the bench and helped himself to a goal again, his third in two appearances. Just 103 minutes played this season and the Frenchman has three goals and one assist. It is something to get excited about. He happy and scoring. ★★★★★★★★
Fred: Replaced Antony 74′. Came on to add some fresh legs late in the match. Had a shot on goal with United winning the match. Seems to be a player that Ten Hag does not utilise all that often with Eriksen the chosen midfielder to partner Casemiro/McTominay. ★★★★★★
Scott McTominay: Replaced Casemiro 82′. Came on very late in the game with United needing some fresh legs to grind out this result. He did not really have all that much time to get into the game but did not do anything wrong, which was good to see. ★★★★★
Goals: Karim Ansarifard 34′, Nikolas Panagiotou 85′; Marcus Rashford 53′, 84′, Anthony Martial 63′
Assists: Bruno Felipe 34′, Andronikos Kakoullis 85′; Marcus Rashford 63′, Cristiano Ronaldo 84′
Manchester United: De Gea; Dalot, Lindelof, Martinez, Malacia (Shaw 46′); Casemiro (McTominay 82′), Eriksen; Antony (Fred 74′), Fernandes (Martial 61′), Sancho (Rashford 46′); Ronaldo
Substitutes Not Used: Heaton, Dubravka; Pellistri, Iqbal; Elanga, Garnacho
Bookings: Charalambos Charambous 62′, Andronikos Kakoullis 87′; Lisandro Martinez 87′, Luke Shaw 90+4′
Written by John Walker