Talking Points: United 2 Granada 0
Manchester United are through to the semi-finals of the UEFA Europa League, after overcoming Granada 2-0 at Old Trafford on Thursday evening.
Following our 2-0 triumph in Spain last week, United held all the cards ahead of the return leg in Manchester. Edinson Cavani’s sixth-minute volley put us ahead, before a stoppage-time own goal from Jesus Vallejo made sure the result in Spain was repeated in England.
With a 4-0 win on aggregate, the Reds have now made it to five semi-finals during the reign of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Another successful European evening at the Theatre of Dreams meant there were plenty of talking points…
For the second consecutive season, Ole's men have made it to the penultimate stage of the continental competition. The Reds are yet to lose in the Europa League this season, having won both times against Granada and both won and drawn against Real Sociedad and AC Milan in our previous knockout rounds.
The coming semi-final is United's 18th in all European competition, including the Fairs Cup – a stat that can only be bettered by our arch-rivals Liverpool (19) amongst English sides.
BACK TO ITALY
The Reds will face Roma in the next round, with the two legs scheduled for 29 April and 6 May, with United starting at home. This will be the third time we go to Italy in this season's Europa League, after our match-up with AC Milan at the San Siro and our Round-of-32 away leg against Real Sociedad, which had to be played at Allianz Stadium in Turin due to COVID-19 restrictions in Spain.
Should we make it to the final in Gdansk, Ole's men will face the winner of Arsenal and Villareal, who will battle it out for the other place in the final.
NIFTY FIFTY FOR EDI
United got off to a dream start at the Theatre of Dreams thanks to Edinson Cavani’s ruthless left-foot volley. The Uruguayan smashed the Reds in front following a precise backwards header from Paul Pogba. The goal was El Matador’s first for United in European competition and his 50th goal across the Champions League and Europa League.
This is the 11th straight season our no. 7 has scored in European competition and Cavani’s 12th goal in 11 starts within the Europa League.
In Harry Maguire’s absence, Paul Pogba wore the armband for United. The Frenchman has of course been the Reds' captain on multiple occasions before, and produced another dominant midfield display under the floodlights at Old Trafford. Our no.6 got the assist for Cavani’s opener – his sixth assist of the campaign.
JUAN IS BACK
Juan Mata was back among the substitutes last weekend against Tottenham Hotspur and this evening the Spanish maestro made his first Reds appearance since our 3-1 win over Newcastle in February. Our no.8 replaced Bruno Fernandes with just under 20 minutes to play and took on the armband in the process. Great to have you back, Juan!
With Harry Maguire out due to suspension, Ole opted for Axel Tuanzebe as Victor Lindelof’s partner in the heart of defence. The Academy product stood strong in the Reds' defence, which also included Alex Telles, who was in for Luke Shaw (also suspended). Thursday’s quarter-final was Axel’s 15th first-team appearance this season and our no.38 showcased his immense pace and strong aerial prowess on several occasions. Well in, Axel!
David De Gea also provided two magnificent saves towards the end to keep a well-deserved clean sheet – our third in a row in the Europa League.
Pics: Through to the last fourGallery
Check out the best images from OT as United book a European semi-final spot.
A CENTURY OF GOALS
Jesus Vallejo's late own goal was United's 100th of the 2020/21 campaign. The defender headed the ball into his own net following a brilliant cross from Alex Telles and pressure from Mata inside the box.
The Reds are back in action at Old Trafford this Sunday as we welcome Burnley to the Theatre of Dreams. This weekend's Premier League encounter kicks off at 16:00 BST.