Manchester United drew with Celta Vigo 1-1 in the Second Leg of their Europa League Semi-Final, but advanced to the Final with an aggregate score of 2-1, courtesy of the one-goal victory in the previous leg.
Celta got the first big chance of the night, as Romero made a good save from Aspas’ strike. United then scored the opening goal as Rashford’s brilliant cross found Fellaini, who exquisitely guided the ball past the outstretched Alvarez. The goal gave United players a lot of confidence, as they were on the front foot for some minutes after that. Both teams had plenty of chances, which were either saved or off target, but neither of the teams managed to score another goal in the half.
The second half saw Celta in the driving seat, as they menaced the United defence. Romero had to make some fine saves from Sisto, Aspas and Guidetti, while Alvarez made some great saves from Rashford, Fellaini and Mkhitaryan’s strikes.Former Manchester City striker Guidetti missed the best chance of the night, as his header from Aspas’ cross missed the target when he was unmarked from just a few yards. After a bit of poor defending from the home side, Celta got one back as Roncoglia scored a well-placed header from Malla’s cross. Just a couple of minutes later a major brawl took place which saw both Bailly and Roncaglia sent off. United made some changes and sat back for the final few minutes, and Guidetti missed a chance to shoot in an empty net with the final kick of the game.
With this win, United advance to the Final in Stockholm on May 24, where they’ll face Ajax, who beat Lyon 5-4 on aggregate.
Here are the Talking Points from the Match-
Romero and Fellaini Repay Mourinho’s Faith
Both Sergio Romero and Marouane Fellaini had a night to remember as they both put in splendid performances. Romero made a couple of brilliant saves to thwart Mallo and Aspas, and dealt well with everything that was thrown at him. With another flawless performance, he has staked his claim for starting the Final. Fellaini also had a great night, as he redeemed his stupid red card in the Manchester derby by scoring a bullet header, which was vital for the win. Both players have repaid Mourinho’s faith in them, and the boss would be quite happy to achieve what he wanted.
Rashford is on Fire
Marcus Rashford performed really well, yet again, and has single-handedly taken United to the Final. His goal in the first leg and his scintillating assist tonight were enough to help Mourinho’s men get a ticket to Stockholm. He had a couple of good chances and was unlucky to have not scored courtesy of Alvarez’s good goalkeeping. He has displayed maturity beyond his years and is already a star for the club at Old Trafford.
Celta Lose Tie, but Win Hearts
Celta Vigo were obviously the underdogs for this tie, but the way they stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Mourinho’s men was commendable. Eduardo Berizzo’s side played beautiful football, and threatened to upset United but were unable to do so. They were equally matched with their opponents in every aspect of the game and were agonisingly close to victory in the final moments of the night. And even if they lost the tie, they did deservingly win lots of hearts for their brave displays.
Guidetti to Blame?
Former Manchester City striker John Guidetti had a night to forget as he missed a couple of chances when the goal was almost a certainty. His miss from a header from just 6 yards in the 65th minute was astonishing, given his aerial ability. His header could’ve beaten Romero, but it was well wide of the target. He missed another brilliant chance from the final kick of the match, as he failed to guide the ball into an empty net, and was visibly distraught with himself after the final whistle. Had he scored even one of these two chances, Celta would’ve advanced to the Final, in what would’ve been the biggest night of their history. So it is only fair if Guidetti receives the backlash from the fans for his awful display in a big match.
Champions League One Step Closer
Mourinho’s men are now only one step from making a return to the supreme competition, as his side beat Celta in what was their “biggest match” in recent history. However, don’t expect things to be smooth enough for United, as they face Ajax who thrashed high-flying Lyon. Ajax have had a great season and will be equal favourites to take the tie, particularly because of the in availability of a full-strength United side, which would be missing Bailly as well now. This would be an uphill task for the English club because they have to play 3 matches in the next 9 days, while Ajax have no match to play and will get ample of rest.