The first semi-finals of the Europa League were very productive. Manchester United, Roma, Villarreal and Arsenal have combined to score 11 goals. At the same time, at key moments of matches, the referees made unobvious decisions in favor of the English teams, assigning strange penalties.
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It was as if Manchester United had opened a scoring fountain at Old Trafford. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team scored six goals against a pair of Roma goalkeepers, while Edinson Cavani scored a double, earned a penalty and gave two assists, and Bruno Fernandes played 2+2. The plot of the match of these rivals in 2007 was almost repeated, when Manchester United defeated Roma in the Champions League playoffs with a score of 7:1, shameful for the Romans.
True, the first half turned out to be difficult for the hosts. Although already in the 9th minute, Paul Pogba and Cavani organized a goal for Fernandes. But after half an hour, Roma was already winning. Lorenzo Pellegrini converted the penalty awarded for playing with Pogba’s hand, and Edin Dzeko played well ahead of the curve. By the way, ex-Manchester United midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan made a goal with a thin penetrating pass.
However, even during the first half, the Romans lost three players due to injuries – goalkeeper Pau Lopez, who was replaced by 38-year-old Antonio Mirante, as well as Jordan Vereta and Leonardo Spinazzola. This somehow affected the guests’ game.
The second half remained entirely for Manchester United, whose impulse in a controversial situation was supported by the referees. First, Cavani made a double. In the episode at the 48th minute, he famously shot into touch, and at the 64th minute, he succeeded in finishing off after the goalkeeper’s mistake, who was unable to fix the ball. The minimum lag still retained the hopes of Roma, but in the 71st minute, the controversial decision was made by Carlos Del Cerro Grande. During the single combat, ex-Manchester United defender Chris Smalling did not hit Cavani, and the touch of his foot occurred after the ball flew past the players. Nevertheless, the judges with VAR supported their Spanish colleague – they did not see an obvious mistake in Carlos Grande. Mirante had little chance of repelling Fernandes’ hit from the point.
After that, the guests finally “floated”, and the hosts finished off the weakened opponent. The same Smalling brought another goal, missing Pogba on the standard. In the end, young Mason Greenwood ran away from the Roma defenders, as from veterans who had come out to play football “under a beer.” There is no doubt about Manchester United in the Europa League final.