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Full Match Highlights, Opta Stats, Man-United 6 – 2 Roma

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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.

Player ratings

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.

Edinson Cavani made it 50 goals in major European competition (15 in Europa League, 35 in Champions League), with the Manchester United attacker, at 34 years and 74 days, the oldest player to score a brace at the semi-final stage or beyond in major European competition since Philip Cocu (34y 187d) for PSV vs Milan in the Champions League semi-finals in 2004-05.

United rip Roma to shreds again – Match stats

  1. Manchester United are first side to score six in the semi-final of a major European competition since May 1964 when Real Madrid beat FC Zurich 6-0 in the European Cup 2nd Leg.
  2. Manchester United scored six goals in a single match in European competition for the first time since netting seven against Roma in April 2007.
  3. Roma are the first Italian side to ship six goals in the semi-final of a European competition.
  4. Roma became the first side to make three substitutions in the first-half of a UEFA Europa League game (since 2009).
  5. Bruno Fernandes netted his 25th and 26th goals of the season in all competitions, with Harry Kane (31) and Mohamed Salah (29) the only two Premier League players to score more.
  6. Bruno Fernandes (20) is only the third player in Manchester United’s history to score 20+ penalties, after Ruud van Nistelrooy (28) and Wayne Rooney (27).
  7. Three of the last four penalties Manchester United have conceded in all competitions have been given away by Paul Pogba, while the Frenchman has conceded four of their last six at Old Trafford.

What the manager said…

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told BT Sport: “The job is not done, but it was a job well done. Roma have got quality, scored two goals with their two chances we gave them in the first half, but I was very pleased with the response. The second half was very good.

“We know we’ve got creative players; it’s about getting them up there in good positions. We took most of our chances, I am very pleased. The character showed, the players didn’t lose their heads.

“For five minutes at the end of the first half we didn’t look great, but we managed to get ourselves together.

“The two goals were down to very schoolboy errors, they should happen at this level, we said that at half-time and corrected it.”

WATCH VIDEO EXTENDED HIGHLIGHTS :

What’s next?

Manchester United host Liverpool on Super Sunday at 4.30pm – live on Sky Sports Premier League – while Roma travel to Sampdoria in Serie A on Sunday at 7.45pm. United then travel to Rome for their Europa League semi-final second leg on Thursday at 8pm.

 

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Former Manchester United captain Antonio Valencia announces retirement

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Former Manchester United captain Antonio Valencia has announced his retirement at the age of 35.

 

Valencia spent 10 years at Old Trafford before returning to his home country with LDU Quito, where he played for one season prior to joining Mexican side Queretaro in November.

 

The ex-Ecuador international also represented El Nacional, Villarreal, Recreativo and Wigan Athletic during an 18-year career that will be best remembered for his time with United.

 

He amassed 277 starts for the Red Devils in all competitions and a further 61 outings as substitute, scoring 25 goals.

 

Valencia, who won two Premier League titles, an FA Cup, two EFL Cups, three Community Shields and the Europa League, took to Twitter on Wednesday to thank United

At the age of 14, as a child, I left my village and my first team to travel to the capital of my country. I travelled with a lot of nostalgia bug full of hope,” he said.

 

“A few years later I was able to travel to Europe, something I had never dreamed of. I played in Spain, and then came to my second home: England.

 

“Wigan was a unique experience, and then God gave me the opportunity to join Manchester United. I will never forget everything I experienced at Old Trafford.

 

“I will never forget every goal, every trophy and the wonderful fans.

 

“I did not think this moment would come so soon, but my body has asked me to make this decision. I am announcing my retirement from football.

 

“I want to thank everyone who has been part of my career and life. God in the first place, for always blessing me. Zoila and my daughter Domenik who have been my pillars.

 

“My parents for giving me so much. To fans of all the countries where I have played, I always tried to give my best. Thank you for your affection and support.”

 

Valencia was voted United’s Player of the Year in 2011-12 and won the Players’ Player of the Year in that same campaign and again five seasons later.

 

The 2011-12 season was a particularly memorable one for the versatile right-sided player as he assisted 13 goals in 27 Premier League appearances.

 

Only Nani (14 in 33 appearances) and David Beckham (15 in 31) have assisted more Premier League goals in a single season for the club.

 

Valencia also holds the record for the most appearances of any South American player in the competition with 325, followed by Pablo Zabaleta (303) and Nolberto Solano (302).

 

The El Nacional academy product scored 23 Premier League goals for United and was not on the losing side in any of those matches, the Red Devils winning 95.7 per cent of them.

 

Only two players to have scored in at least 20 matches have a better such win percentage – Chelsea pair Pedro (96.3 per cent) and Florent Malouda (96.7 per cent).

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sends strong message to Man United board about summer signings

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has warned Manchester United’s board that the Red Devils will need to significantly strengthen their squad this summer if they are to challenge for the title next season.

Solskjaer’s side suffered a 2-1 home defeat by Leicester City in the Premier League on Tuesday night, a result which handed Manchester City the Premier League title with three games to spare.

 

Manchester United have shown signs of improvement under Solskjaer this season and they are currently second in the table and 10 points behind their bitter local rivals.

 

However, Solskjaer feels that the Red Devils will have to invest heavily in their squad this summer if they want to be able to challenge Manchester City for the title next term.

 

Speaking to BT Sport after Manchester United’s defeat by Leicester on Tuesday night, Solskjaer said: “If you want to take up the challenge with them we need to strengthen our squad.

Congratulations to them. They have had a fantastic season.

 

“I am very pleased with my boys that have made it to the last 10 days with a Manchester City side ahead of us that are lauded as the best in Europe.

 

“We want to take the next step and it might be that we need a couple more to strengthen the squad.”

 

Manchester United can still end this season with a trophy when they take on Villarreal in the Europa League final at the end of the month.

 

The Red Devils are back in Premier League action on Thursday night when they host Liverpool FC at Old Trafford in their rearranged fixture.

 

 

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Current West Ham player highly likely to return to Man Utd

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Jesse Lingard is allegedly set to return to Manchester United next term, as West Ham United can’t afford to sign the midfielder outright.

The 28-year-old star has managed to get his career back on track since signing for the Hammers on loan in January and has even caught the eye of England head coach Gareth Southgate, who has reintegrated the player into his first team squad ahead of this summer’s UEFA Euro 2020 tournament.

David Moyes is keen for Jesse to stay beyond this term, but according to the Daily Mail, the Irons cannot afford his £100,000 per week wages, as they have suffered financial losses over the past year caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Hammers recorded losses of £65 million last season and a greater financial hit is set to follow for this season.

The West Ham United hierarchy are unwilling to negotiate new big-money contracts with current stars or new signings at present until they receive more clarification from the Government of the United Kingdom about the return of fans to stadiums.

Lingard has made 13 top-flight appearances during his loan spell with the London Stadium outfit, scoring nine goals and providing four assists.

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