Match report: Man Utd 1 FC Copenhagen 0

Tuesday 24 October 2023 22:09

Harry Maguire’s goal and Andre Onana’s injury-time penalty save secured an important Champions League win for Manchester United over FC Copenhagen, on a night when Old Trafford paid an emotional tribute to Sir Bobby Charlton.

Maguire headed home his first goal of the season in the second half and Onana denied Jordan Larsson with the last touch of the game to secure all three points for Erik ten Hag’s side and breathe life into our Group A campaign.

Inside the stadium dubbed the Theatre of Dreams by Sir Bobby, the 73,000 fans present had risen as one before kick-off to applaud the club icon, before a lone piper led out Erik ten Hag to lay a wreath in the centre circle and prompt a poignant minute’s silence.

Perhaps affected, understandably, by that emotive and fitting opening, United didn’t settle in the first half but were much improved after the break and Maguire celebrated his goal passionately by thumping the badge and making a love heart sign towards the Stretford End.

After defeats in our first two Champions League games, the centre-back’s effort and Onana’s heroics secured a much-needed victory and Ten Hag’s side will look to build on that when visiting the Danish capital on the reverse fixture next month.

Old Trafford falls silent for Sir Bobby Video

Old Trafford falls silent for Sir Bobby

Sir Bobby Charlton was remembered by United and FC Copenhagen before kick-off at Old Trafford…


United began the game slowly and the lively visitors spurned a good chance to take the lead in the fifth minute. 

Former Southampton winger Mohamed Elyounoussi beat Sofyan Amrabat to the ball in midfield, drove forward and crossed from the right for Diogo Goncalves to head against a post, and Elyounoussi’s attempt to convert the rebound was deflected wide.

United’s first real sight of goal came just after the quarter-hour mark, as Rasmus Hojlund demonstrated his threat against his former club. Marcus Rashford fired a ball into the feet of the striker, who took a touch in the box before hitting his shot over.

With Copenhagen content to get men behind the ball, the Reds struggled to fashion many more opportunities before the break, though Scott McTominay came close to extending his recent goalscoring run when he headed the returning Sergio Reguilon’s cross over. 

Onana wasn’t being tested too often himself but had to be alert when Elias Achouri dribbled dangerously and hit a low shot into the side-netting.


Looking for more creativity from his side, Ten Hag introduced Christian Eriksen for Amrabat at the break, and the Reds began the second period with much more urgency.

But Onana was forced into a sensational save to keep us level, tipping away a vicious shot wide from Lukas Lerager, who had found himself in space on the edge of the box. 

At the other end, Kamil Grabara made a fine stop of his own, keeping out Hojlund’s low shot after Eriksen had laid the ball back to his compatriot inside the box. United then had a penalty appeal waved away when Marcus Rashford went down under Grabara’s challenge as he reached the ball ahead of the goalkeeper after charging onto McTominay’s through-ball.

United had created more openings in the first 10 minutes of the second half than in the entire first period but with the game still goalless on the hour mark, Ten Hag brought on Alejandro Garnacho for Antony as part of a double substitution, with Victor Lindelof also replacing Reguilon.

By now, United were decidedly on top but Copenhagen proved they were still a threat when left-back Elias Jelert got forward and hit a shot from a tight angle that deflected off Raphael Varane into the side-netting.

Moments later, an electrifying break involving Rashford and Bruno Fernandes resulted in Garnacho running through on goal but the youngster took a heavy touch and the chance went begging. But the Reds continued to probe and the opener eventually came, as Maguire stayed forward after a corner and got on the end of a delicious Eriksen cross to power a header beyond Grabara, with a VAR check confirming he was just onside.

United could, and perhaps should, have made it two after another counter-attack, with Grabara denying Garnacho and McTominay putting the rebound just wide. As Copenhagen pushed forward in search of an equaliser, United found more space and Fernandes’s drilled shot was deflected wide.

However, the Reds looked set to be stunned by a last-gasp sucker punch when McTominay was penalised for a foot-high challenge on Elyounoussi, a decision confirmed by VAR after an agonising wait.

With all four minutes of stoppage time having elapsed, Onana dived the right way to superbly palm away a spot-kick from substitute Larsson, son of former United striker Henrik, and the final whistle then sparked scenes of jubilation around Old Trafford.

Rasmus Hojlund was lively against his former club.


United: Onana; Dalot, Varane, Maguire, Reguilon (Lindelof 63); Amrabat (Eriksen 46), McTominay; Antony (Garnacho 63), Fernandes (c), Rashford; Hojlund (Martial 86).

Unused substitutes: Bayindir, Heaton, Evans, Hannibal, Mount, Pellistri.

Goals: Maguire 72.

Bookings: Fernandes, McTominay.

FC Copenhagen: Grabara; Ankersen, Vavro, Diks, Jelert (Sorensen 77); Lerager, Falk, Diogo Goncalves (Larsson 85); Elyounoussi, Claesson (c) (Oskarsson 76), Achouri (Hojlund 90+1).

Unused substitutes: Khocholava, Tanlongo, Babacar, Boilesen, Sander, Lund, Bardghji, Dithmer.