Manchester United assumed control of their Europa League quarter-final against Granada as goals from Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes secured a 2-0 first-leg victory at Estadio Los Carmenes.
Rashford notched his eighth European goal of the season on 31 minutes with an exquisite control and finish from Victor Lindelof’s pinpoint diagonal, before Fernandes secured a two-goal cushion with a late penalty after he was struck in the face by defender Yan Brice.
The streets were lined with supporters as the teams arrived at the stadium for what was arguably the biggest night in Granada’s history as they participated in a European quarter-final for the very first time – but despite drawing the returning David de Gea into a number of routine saves – the La Liga club rarely threatened United.
The victory leaves United in pole position to progress into the Europa League semi-finals in next Thursday’s return at Old Trafford, though Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will have to finish the job without captain Harry Maguire, Scott McTominay and Luke Shaw, who are all suspended after picking up yellow cards.
Granada: Silva (6), Diaz (6), Duarte (5), Neva (5), Vallejo (6), Gonalons (6), Montoro (5), Puertas (6), Herrera (6), Kenedy (7), Soldado (5).
Subs: Foulquier (5), Sanchez (5), Machis (5), Suarez (5), Eteki (n/a).
Man Utd: De Gea (7), Wan-Bissaka (6), Lindelof (7), Maguire (6), Shaw (5), McTominay (5), Pogba (6), James (6), Greenwood (6), Fernandes (7), Rashford (7).
Subs: Telles (6), Matic (5), Van de Beek (n/a).
Man of the Match: Marcus Rashford
Rashford, Bruno hand United advantage in Granada
Granada flew out of the traps but United’s main concern after the hosts’ blistering start had subsided was the fitness of Rashford, who having been passed fit enough to start looked to be in some discomfort and nursing an injury in the opening quarter of an hour.
United quickly assumed control of the contest, restricting Granada to the odd sight of goal. On-loan Chelsea forward Kenedy blazed a volley over from tight angle and former Spurs striker Roberto Soldado lashed a shot into the side-netting, but from the next passage of play the visitors got that crucial away goal.
Lindelof’s sumptuous 70-yard diagonal was latched onto by Rashford, who produced a flawless first touch before allaying any lingering fitness concern with a composed finish past the on-rushing goalkeeper into the corner.
United switched off from a free-kick and nearly paid the price five minutes before the break, but the woodwork came to their rescue as on-loan Manchester City midfielder Yangel Herrera’s cross-shot cannoned off the post.
McTominay and Shaw picked up bookings in quick succession which will rule them out of next week’s return leg at Old Trafford for fouls on Antonio Puertas, but that was the only blow Granada could place on United before the break, with Kenedy’s volleying a crisp effort into the arms of De Gea.
De Gea was called upon early in the second half to prevent another effort from Kenedy from swerving into the bottom corner before Maguire fizzed a shot wide after shimmying his way into space in midfield.
Edinson Cavani replaced Rashford for the final 25 minutes as Solskjaer looked to secure a more handsome first-leg advantage. Fernandes very nearly delivered a second away goal six minutes from time, only to be denied by the outstretched arm of Granada goalkeeper Rui Silva.
With the seconds ticking down Granada would have settled for a one-goal deficit – but the size of their task increased in the final minute when Brice was adjudged to have struck Fernandes off the ball in the area – and the Portuguese squeezed the penalty past Silva to leave United in the driving seat.
Bruno Fernandes has scored 19 of his 20 penalties taken for Manchester United in all competitions.
Rashford rises in Europe – Match stats
- Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford became the fourth Premier League player to reach 20 goals in all competitions this season after Harry Kane (29), Mo Salah (27) and Bruno Fernandes (24).
- Marcus Rashford is the first English player to score eight goals for Manchester United in European competition in a single season (excluding qualifiers) since Bobby Charlton in 1964-65.
- Manchester have won consecutive away games in Europe against Spanish opposition for the first time ever, also beating Real Sociedad 4-0 on the road in February 2021.
- Manchester United have registered four clean sheets in their last five games in Europe (1 goal conceded), after managing just one shutout in their previous seven (12 goals conceded).
- Granada have lost consecutive games for the first time in their maiden European campaign, after losing just two of their previous 12 (W8 D2 – including qualifiers).
Video Highlights, Full Match Analysis: Chelsea 0 – 1 Arsenal
Emile Smith Rowe denied Chelsea the chance to cement their top-four status as he took advantage of Jorginho’s howler to give Arsenal a 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues would have all but secured their Champions League qualification with a victory which would have taken them 10 points clear of Liverpool, who have four games left to play, but after making seven changes ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup final, struggled to create clear-cut chances.
Kai Havertz should have put them ahead 10 minutes in when he intercepted Gabriel’s loose pass for Pablo Mari and raced clean through, but then fired over Bernd Leno’s bar with only his compatriot to beat. Moments later Jorginho’s equally poor back-pass was kept out by Kepa Arrizabalaga at full stretch, but Smith Rowe was on hand to bundle home after being teed up by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Chelsea were dominant for the large majority of the remaining 75 minutes without forcing Leno into any uncomfortable saves until the final minute. They did beat him through Pulisic’s close-range header from a corner, which was swiftly denied by a VAR review, before the German produced a stunning stop to tip Kurt Zouma’s header onto the crossbar, which was then rattled by Olivier Giroud’s shot on the rebound.
Chelsea: Kepa (6), James (6), Azpilicueta (6), Silva (6), Zouma (6), Chilwell (5), Jorginho (4), Gilmour (5), Pulisic (5), Mount (6), Havertz (5).
Subs: Hudson-Odoi (6), Giroud (6), Ziyech (5).
Arsenal: Leno (7), Gabriel (6), Mari (7), Holding (6), Tierney (7), Partey (6), Elneny (8), Saka (5), Odegaard (6), Smith Rowe (7), Aubameyang (5).
Subs: Bellerin (6), Lacazette (5), Chambers (6).
Man of the match: Mohamed Elneny
What the managers said…
Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel told Sky Sports: “We had three days, we are on a good run, we had a good mood. The choices were not so good today from my side for the line-up so that’s on me. We were unlucky, of course. But we did everything today to lose.
“I’m not happy with my line-up. It’s easy to say afterwards. But it was too many changes, I should not have done it like this. It’s something in particular – but I will not tell you!”
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta told Sky Sports: “I don’t know how they’re going to try from the outside but from the inside, nothing is broken.
“They’re going to put things on me that I never said, you can see the spirit of the team from the first minute. You can never doubt their efforts and how much they try.”
- Arsenal completed their first Premier League double over Chelsea since the 2003-04 season, while this was their first league win at Stamford Bridge since October 2011, ending an eight-game winless run there (D2 L6).
- Chelsea suffered only their third defeat in 26 matches in all competitions under Thomas Tuchel (W17 D6), with all three defeats coming at Stamford Bridge.
- Arsenal have won three consecutive away Premier League matches without conceding for the first time since May 2013 under Arsène Wenger.
- Arsenal have had a different player aged younger than 21 score in each of their last three Premier League matches against Chelsea – Gabriel Martinelli in January 2020, Bukayo Saka in December 2020 and Emile Smith Rowe tonight.
Chelsea are off to Wembley in the FA Cup final on Saturday, where they will face Leicester City; Kick-off at 5.15pm.
Arsenal’s penultimate game of the season is also in London, with a trip to Crystal Palace next Wednesday night; Kick-off at 7pm.
📽️ Watch The Video Highlights:
Video: Match Highlights, Opta Stats, Man City 1- 2 Chelsea
Chelsea tormented Manchester City once again by delaying their title-winning party and boosting their own top-four hopes with the help of an awful Panenka penalty miss by Sergio Aguero during their 2-1 comeback win at the Etihad on Saturday.
Hakim Ziyech, who had ended City’s Quadruple dreams in a FA Cup semi-final last month, was on target again to cancel out Raheem Sterling’s opener for the much-changed hosts, before Marcos Alonso (90+2) grabbed a deserved stoppage-time winner for the visitors against a side they will meet in the Champions League final on May 29.
A mis-control from Aguero – City’s most-famous title-clincher of all – had allowed Sterling to find the net for the first time in 13 games on 44 minutes but another error from the striker moments later proved far more costly, with his weak spot-kick easily saved.
Chelsea capitalised and had the upper hand throughout the second period, with Timo Werner and Callum Hudson-Odoi seeing efforts ruled out for offside after Ziyech’s leveller on 63 minutes, and they leapfrogged Leicester into third place in the Premier League with Alonso’s last-gasp finish from close range.
Chelsea are now six points clear of fifth-placed West Ham in the top-four race, while City – who were aggrieved not to be awarded a late penalty when Sterling was tumbled by Kurt Zouma – could still reclaim the crown this weekend if Manchester United lose at Aston Villa on Sunday, live on Sky Sports.
Man City: Ederson (6), Cancelo (6), Dias (6), Laporte (6), Ake (6), Mendy (5), Rodri (5), Torres (6), Sterling (7), Aguero (4), Jesus (7).
Subs: Gundogan (6), Foden (6), Zinchencko (6)
Chelsea: Mendy (7), Azpilicueta (7), Christensen (4), Rudiger (7), James (8), Kante (7), Gilmour (6), Alonso (8), Ziyech (8), Werner (7), Pulisic (6).
Subs: Zouma (7), Jorginho (6), Hudson-Odoi (7)
Man of the match: Reece James (Chelsea)
📺 Watch The Highlights:
Opta Stats – Chelsea leave it late
- Manchester City have dropped eight points from winning positions in home Premier League games this season, last dropping more at home in the competition in 2008-09 (12).
- After losing his first three managerial meetings with Pep Guardiola in all competitions, Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel is unbeaten in his last four encounters with the Spaniard (W2 D2).
- Man City’s Pep Guardiola has lost four home league games this season, twice as many as he’d lost in any other campaign in his managerial career.
- Manchester City have lost consecutive Premier League home games thanks to a goal scored in the 90th minute – as many as they had in their previous 235 Premier League games at the Etihad Stadium.
- At 91 minutes and 54 seconds, Marcos Alonso’s winner was the latest winning goal scored in an away Premier League game against Manchester City since Paul Scholes for Man Utd in April 2010 (92:41).
Manchester City go to Newcastle at 8pm on Friday, live on Sky Sports, while Chelsea are next in action at home to Arsenal on Wednesday, live on Sky Sports at 8.15pm.
Match Highlights, Opta Stats, Player Ratings Chelsea vs Real Madrid
Chelsea set up an all-English Champions League final with Manchester City after beating Real Madrid 2-0 at Stamford Bridge in the semi-final second leg, going through 3-1 on aggregate.
Timo Werner put Chelsea ahead (28), nodding into the empty net from under the crossbar after Kai Havertz’s chip had hit the woodwork, before Real rode their luck as the hosts missed four big chances to double their lead in the opening 20 minutes of the second period.
The hosts finally got their second to kill off the tie with five minutes remaining as Mason Mount stuck home substitute Christian Pulisic’s centre at close range, capping off a fine display and marking an extraordinary turnaround at the club since Thomas Tuchel joined in January.
Chelsea will now play in their third Champions League final (2008 and 2012) in Istanbul on Saturday May 29, and have set up just the third all-English Champions League final after 2008 (Man Utd-Chelsea) and 2019 (Liverpool-Tottenham) as Manchester City look to complete a treble.
Chelsea: Mendy (8); Christensen (7), Thiago Silva (7), Rudiger (8), Azpilicueta (7), Kante (8), Jorginho (7), Chilwell (7), Mount (7), Havertz (7), Werner (7)
Subs: Pulisic (7), James (NA), Ziyech (NA), Giroud (NA)
Real Madrid: Courtois (7); Nacho (5), Militao (4), Ramos (6), Mendy (5), Kroos (6), Modric (6), Casemiro (5), Hazard (4), Vinicius Junior (5), Benzema (6)
Subs: Valverde (5), Asensio (5), Rodrygo (NA), Mariano (NA)
Man of the match: N’Golo Kante
Full English: When is the Champions League final?
This year’s final between Chelsea and Manchester City will take place in Istanbul on Saturday May 29.
The Ataturk Olympic Stadium famously staged the 2005 Champions League showdown, when Liverpool came from 3-0 down at half-time to beat AC Milan on penalties.
UEFA has not yet confirmed the kick-off time, but says detailed information regarding the capacity for the match, travel and ticketing details will be communicated publicly by the end of the week.
Opta stats – Watertight Chelsea
- Chelsea have kept 18 clean sheets in 24 matches under Thomas Tuchel in all competitions (75 per cent), compared with 26 in 84 games under his predecessor Frank Lampard (31 per cent).
- Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy has kept eight Champions League clean sheets this season, the most ever by a goalkeeper for an English club in a single season.
- Having also led PSG to the 2019/20 Champions League final, Chelsea manager Tuchel is the first manager to reach the European Cup/Champions League final in consecutive seasons with different clubs.
- It’s only the eighth time two teams from the same nation will be contesting the final, with Spanish teams also doing so a joint-record three times – 2000 (Real Madrid vs Valencia) and 2014 & 2016 (Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid).
- This was only the second time Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has lost a two-legged UEFA Champions League tie in 13 attempts, also losing in the last 16 in 2019-20 against Manchester City.
📺Watch The Extended Highlights:
What’s next for Chelsea in bid for top four?
Chelsea now go to Man City on Saturday Night Football, live on Sky Sports Premier League at 5.30pm, knowing a City victory will wrap up the Premier League title for Pep Guardiola’s side.
They then host Arsenal in the Premier League on Wednesday evening, also live on Sky Sports Premier League at 8.15pm.
And what’s next for Real in La Liga title race?
Real Madrid host Sevilla in La Liga on Sunday night at 8pm, currently sitting two points behind leaders Atletico Madrid with four games of the season remaining.
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