By Sky Sports
Manchester United produced a scintillating second-half fightback to put one foot in the Europa League final with a thrilling 6-2 semi-final first-leg victory over Roma at Old Trafford.
United’s semi-final curse under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looked set to continue when Lorenzo Pellegrini’s penalty and Edin Dzeko’s sixth Old Trafford goal cancelled out Bruno Fernandes’ brilliant opener to hand Roma two away goals before half-time.
United looked shell-shocked and out of ideas but wrestled back control with a devastating attacking display as Edinson Cavani’s double, Fernandes’ second from the penalty spot, Paul Pogba’s header and Mason Greenwood’s sixth saw them score five unanswered goals.
Roma, who were forced into three substitutions before the interval due to injury, grew wearier with each passing minute and were fortunate to escape Old Trafford without conceding seven like they did in 2007, though that will come as little consolation to Paulo Fonseca’s side as their hopes of reaching the final were effectively ended.
Man Utd: De Gea (7), Wan-Bissaka (5), Lindelof (6), Maguire (7), Shaw (7), McTominay (7), Fred (6), Rashford (6), Fernandes (9), Pogba (8), Cavani (9).
Subs: Greenwood (7), Mata (n/a), Matic (n/a).
Roma: Pau Lopez (4), Smalling (5), Cristante (6), Ibanez (5), Karsdorp (7), Diawara (6), Veretout (3), Spinazzola (7), Pellegrini (7), Mkhitaryan (6), Dzeko (7).
Subs: Mirante (5), Villar (5), Bruno Peres (5).
Man of the Match: Edinson Cavani.
Ruthless United put Roma to the sword
Roma lost midfielder Jordan Veretout to injury inside five minutes and, four minutes later, United grabbed the initiative with a breakthrough goal which oozed class and quality.Advertisement
Pogba skipped around two Roma challenges before feeding the ball up to Cavani who, with his back to goal, released Fernandes with a first-time pass which the Portuguese lifted delicately and devastatingly over on-rushing goalkeeper Pau Lopez.
- David de Gea, Paul Pogba and Edinson Cavani returned as Man Utd made three changes from the goalless draw at Leeds.
- Chris Smalling, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Edin Dzeko started as Paulo Fonseca made seven changes following Roma’s 3-2 defeat at Cagliari.
United’s perfect start lasted barely five minutes, with Pogba harshly penalised for handball while sliding in to block Rick Karsdorp’s cross. The Frenchman deflected the ball onto his arm at close proximity, but the referee stuck with his decision, handing Roma captain Pellegrini the chance to score an away goal, which he took emphatically.