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Man United beat Roma 6-2 to take massive step towards Europa League final

Man United will take a four-goal lead into the second leg of the Europa League semi-final.

Manchester United beat Roma 6-2 in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final on Thursday night. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side took the lead in the game at Old Trafford and were trailing at half-time, but mounted a comeback to run out convincing victors in an entertaining match. They scored five goals in the second half.

Bruno Fernandes (2), Edinson Cavani (2), Paul Pogba and Mason Greenwood scored Man United’s goals on the night. The Red Devils are on course to reach the Europa League final for the first time since 2017 when they beat Ajax to win the trophy.

Man United 6-2 Roma.

The night started well for the home side. Man United’s best players in the game – Luke Shaw, Pogba, Bruno Fernandes and Cavani – were all involved in an excellent team goal.

Shaw passed inside to Pogba, who took the ball and turned away from two Roma players and skipped past a third opponent before playing a ball into Cavani.

The Uruguayan striker hit a first-time reverse pass into Bruno, who deftly chipped the ball over Roma goalkeeper Pau Lopez.

 

Roma were leading Man United at half time.

However, within minutes the scores were level when Roma were awarded a controversial penalty after the referee adjudged that Pogba handled the ball in the Man United box. Lorenzo Pellegrini scored the penalty and the away side were ahead 10 minutes before half-time after Edin Dzeko scored a well-worked goal. 

Leonardo Spinazzola broke forward into the space vacated by Aaron Wan-Bissaka, with the Man United right-back miles out of position and behind the play, forcing Victor Lindelof to leave central defence and space behind him.

Spinazzola got to the touchline before passing to ex-Man United forward Henrikh Mkhitaryan. The Armenian found Pellegrini unmarked in the penalty area with a pass and Pellegrini squared the ball for Edin Dzeko to score.

Paul Scholes criticises Fred.

Paul Scholes, on punditry duty, was heavily critical of Fred’s role in the goal. The Brazilian midfielder failed to cut out the pass to Pellegrini before Roma scored.

“That’s what he’s in the team for,” Scholes said about Fred as the replay of Roma’s second goal was played on BT Sport at half-time.

“He gets in behind him. Fred, please stop that, he contributes nothing going forward and his absolute job to stop that kind of thing and he’s left wanting again.”

Scholes was also critical of the penalty Roma were awarded.

“First of all, it’s a terrible throw-in from Wan-Bissaka, some full-backs don’t look right throwing the ball and he doesn’t. Roma are right onto it,” the former Man United midfielder said.

“What is he supposed to do? He’s sliding to block the ball, the only thing he’s trying to do is get his arm out of the way and it hits him – there’s absolutely nothing he can do about that.”

Man United greatly improve in the second half.

In the second half, Man United improved immeasurably and put five goals past Roma.

Cavani scored his first of the night just after half time, hitting a stunning shot into the top corner after he was slipped in on goal by Fernandes.

The Uruguayan striker scored his second goal in the 64th minute, tapping in from a few yards out after the Roma goalkeeper parried the ball into his path.

Fernandes made it 4-2 when he dispatched a controversial penalty after the referee adjudged that Chris Smalling had fouled Cavani. Pogba scored Man United’s fifth with a header from Bruno’s corner.

Greenwood completed the scoring in the dying minutes, finishing with his right foot in the penalty area after he was played through on goal with a stunning pass by Cavani.

In the second leg next Thursday in the Italian capital, Roma will need to win by four goals to progress to the final. In the other semi-final, Villarreal beat Arsenal 2-1.

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