Edinson Cavani on target as Manchester United cruise into Europa League semi-finals with Granada win
Europa League quarter final, Old Trafford - Manchester United 2 (Cavani 6’ Vallejo 90') Granada 0. Manchester United win 4-0 on aggregate.
Manchester United's Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring the opening goal of the UEFA Europa league quarter final, second leg football match between Manchester United and Granada at Old Trafford
Edinson Cavani's goal and a late own goal ensured a comfortable progression for Manchester United into the Europa League semi-finals, at the expense of Granada.
With a 2-0 advantage from the away leg, United never looked likely to be threatened and the game was effectively over after six minutes when the Uruguayan striker volleyed home after Paul Pogba nodded on Alex Telles' cross.
The only nervous moment for United was when skipper for the night Pogba was in danger of being cautioned for a second time and missing the upcoming semi-final.
United were never truly troubled and another Telles cross led to an own goal from Jesus Vallejo in injury time sealed the win for the Red Devils.
This will be the fifth time Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has taken United into a semi-final without reaching a final so he will hope this will be the occasion he breaks his duck.
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Roma stand in the way of United and, while it is difficult to use this training session type game as a form guide, they will surely fancy their chances of going one better than last year, when Sevilla denied them at this stage.
While Solskjaer has lost four straight semi-finals with United, they have not lost to Roma in five games and fans will recall one of their best European displays when they crushed the Francesco Totti-led incarnation of the Giallorossi 7-1.
At seventh in Serie A, bottom of the ‘haves’, with Sassuolo heading the ‘have nots’ in eighth, Roma have been far less consistent than United this season, even if Edin Dzeko’s presence is an unpleasant reminder of past miseries and Chris Smalling a man with a point to prove against them.
Compared to Manchester City (twice), Chelsea and Europa League specialists Sevilla, United have a comparatively straightforward task and should be lining up in Gdansk, Covid-19 conditions permitting, on May 21.
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Man of the match – Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Man Utd)
Another fine display in Europe from the United full back.
In the NFL the best corner backs are known as shutdown corners and wide receivers who came up against former star Darrelle Revis were said to be marooned on ‘Revis Island’ as it was so hard to get into the action when the future Hall of Famer was marking them.
You could compare this plight with wide players who have to come up against the former Crystal Palace right back.
He cannot be beaten for pace, his timing of when to put a tackle in is supreme and he is also adept at covering centre backs when crosses are put in from the other flank, as seen by his block of Jorge Molina’s header in the second half.
Man Utd: De Gea 7; Wan-Bissaka 8*, Lindelof 6, Tuanzebe 7, Telles 7; Fred 6, Matic 7, Pogba 7; Fernandes 7; Greenwood 6, Cavani 7. Subs: van de Beek 6, James 6, Mata 6, Amad 6, Williams 6.
Edinson Cavani (Manchester United) bejubelt seinen Treffer gegen den FC Granada
Image credit: Getty Images
7' GOAL FOR UNITED! Pogba flicks on a deep cross into the box and Cavani strikes home with a left foot volley guided into the far corner.
8' Close for Granada! Herrera flicks a header from Montoro's cross which has De Gea beaten but flies beyond the far post.
34' Close to a marvellous goal from Fernandez. Matic clipped a ball over the defence in the right hand side of the penalty area and he caught it with an outside of the foot volley which just did not dip into the far top corner.
90+1' GOAL FOR UNITED! A good cross from Telles and Mata rises to head home but misses the ball and it deflects off Vallejo and into the net. A goal befitting of the match.