Anthony Martial stood out while Nemanja Matic changed the game off the bench as Manchester United beat FC Copenhagen to reach the UEFA Europa League semi-finals.

It was a game that was thoroughly dominated by Manchester United, with FC Copenhagen only managing to conjure up a few half chances here and there. But, thanks to some fine defending and wondrous goalkeeping by Karl-Johan Johnsson, the game was still level at the end of the regulation 90 minutes, with Mason Greenwood and Anthony Martial coming the closes to break the deadlock.

The pressure, though, was amped up at the onset of extra time and just minutes into the additional period, Manchester United finally got a break, as Andreas Bjelland brought Martial down in the Copenhagen box. Bruno Fernandes stepped up to take the resulting penalty and made no mistake in converting from the spot.

Copenhagen failed to mount a comeback in the 25 minutes that remained, as Manchester United just about eked out the narrow win to book their place in the Europa League semi-finals. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men.

Sergio Romero: 6/10

Monday saw Romero go through one of his easiest yet unnerving games ever. With FC Copenhagen carrying a threat, the Argentine needed to remain alert and focused. However, by the end of the match, Romero had done more work with his feet than with his gloves, having not had to make a single save. Precise enough with the ball at his feet.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka: 6/10

Room for improvement. (Photo by Adrian Dennis/AFP via Getty Images)

Room for improvement. (Photo by Adrian Dennis/AFP via Getty Images)

It has been a difficult last one month for Wan-Bissaka, who has struggled to reach the heights that he scaled before football was halted in March. Against Copenhagen, the Englishman did not necessarily struggle, but did not entirely convince either.

There were a few nervy moments at the back and he was too wasteful at times when looking to find a teammate, losing possession 17 times. However, there were some positives as well, with Wan-Bissaka winning 7 duels in addition to making 4 successful tackles and 2 interceptions, clearances and blocks each. He would know he can do better.

Eric Bailly: 7/10

Surprisingly preferred to Victor Lindelof, Bailly justified Solskjaer’s decision to a great extent on Monday. The Ivorian was not entirely faultless and was embarrassed in the early stages of the game when he was left on the ground. However, for much of the match, Bailly was quite solid, clearing the ball 4 times in addition to winning 3 duels. Accurate with the ball too (41/47 passes completed).

Harry Maguire: 7/10

Solid. (Photo by Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images)

Solid. (Photo by Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images)

Much like his partner at the heart of the Manchester United defence, Maguire cleaned up smartly at the back. With the Red Devils dominating the proceedings, the English international did not have a great deal of defending to do.

But, when Copenhagen took the game to his team, the Manchester United captain was present to ensure that the Danes never really managed to threaten Romero. Colossal in the air, he won 7 aerial duels in addition to completing 4 clearances, 1 block, 2 interceptions and 1 tackle. Looked to open up play with long balls, doing so with 11 such accurate passes. Job well done.

Brandon Williams: 6/10

Williams got another start owing to the continued absence of Luke Shaw. This time around, it was a game of hits and misses for the young full-back. While he carried a great deal of threat and played in 4 key passes, his final ball was not always on point. Held his own at the back well for the most part, indulging in an engaging duel with former Manchester United man Guillermo Varela.

Paul Pogba: 7/10

Back into the side after being given a breather last time out, Pogba produced a professional display in the middle of the park. With others around him not at their best, the Frenchman, who has come in for a lot of praise from Solskjaer lately, looked to take matters into his own hands.

Pogba occupied deeper positions for much of the game and looked to link up with the attackers with precision. However, as the game progressed, he started advancing further up and even had a shot saved by the impressive Karl-Johan Johnsson. Even played in 1 key passes while providing ample defensive support in the form of 2 interceptions, 1 clearance and 1 block.

Fred: 5/10

Another surprising selection, Fred was preferred to Nemanja Matic. Unlike Bailly, though, Fred did not vindicate Solskjaer’s decision. While he misplaced just 7 passes all game, he could not manage to contain his counterpart all too well. Nearly gifted Copenhagen the lead as well, when a simple pass from the back went awry. It is clear why Matic has been the first-choice so far.

Mason Greenwood: 7/10

Greenwood was the least involved player, as far as Manchester United are concerned. However, the teenage prodigy was also the player who managed to conjure up the best openings for the Red Devils in regulation time.

Threatening. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Threatening. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

The 18-year-old produced a fine finish in the first half, only to have the goal ruled out for offside. Another decent effort saw him smash the upright. Otherwise, Greenwood found himself at the periphery, although he did make 1 key pass as well. Will be eager to find the back of the net in the semi-final.

Bruno Fernandes: 6.5/10

Over the past month or so, Bruno Fernandes has not quite been at his best, even though he has been creating chances galore. And, it was more of the same against FC Copenhagen too. Needlessly losing the ball and misplacing simple passes, the Portuguese managed to frustrate a great deal on Monday.

However, he was also the player who constantly looked to find a way past a resolute Copenhagen defence and played in 3 key passes while also having 4 shots saved. However, Johnsson did not have an answer when Fernandes stepped up to the spot to convert the match-winning penalty after Anthony Martial was brought down in the box.

Marcus Rashford: 5/10

It has been a running theme for quite some time now – Rashford posing a great deal of threat with his playmaking abilities but not quite managing to do well in front of goal. Against Copenhagen, the English international once again showed off his passing range and made 3 key passes. However, he also lost the ball a whopping 19 times, which is a concern. Needs to get back to his best soon.

Anthony Martial: 9/10

This was not a trademark Anthony Martial performance, as the Frenchman was left isolated for parts of the game. However, whenever he found himself getting in on the action, Martial posed a lot of threat. The most impressive aspect of his game was the fact that he completed every single pass he attempted while creating 3 chances.

Martial was also left frustrated by Johnsson, who denied the Manchester United striker thrice. Did end up making the difference in the end, though, as his directness helped him earn the penalty that was duly converted by Bruno Fernandes. The single most key player for United at the moment.


Victor Lindelof: 6/10

On for Bailly, Lindelof was largely untroubled, as Manchester United heaped the pressure on FC Copenhagen in the decisive stage of the game. 1 block is all the tangible return he had to show for his efforts.

Nemanja Matic: 7/10

On for the underperforming Fred, Matic turned the tide of the game with his introduction. The Serb helped Manchester United assert their control on the game, using his incredible close control to evade the Copenhagen press to open up play. Gave away a needless free-kick towards the end of the game, but that was the only wrong step he took.

Juan Mata: 7/10

Brought on for Greenwood as extra time beckoned, it seemed like an odd move from Solskjaer. But, in the end, Mata ended up being decisive for Manchester United, providing an injection of energy and playing some dangerous passes in the half spaces, including one towards Martial before he won the penalty. Has thrived in the Europa League this season.

Jesse Lingard: N/A

On for a tiring Rashford, Lingard did not see a lot of the ball but helped see the game out with a superb run deep into the Copenhagen half.

Scott McTominay: N/A

A late introduction, McTominay helped to tick off the remaining seconds of the game.

Leave A Comment...