Europa League - Quarter-Final - 1st Leg
GranadaGranada0Man UtdManchester United2

Granada 0-2 Manchester United: Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes on target in first leg

By Michael EmonsBBC Sport
Marcus Rashford
Marcus Rashford has scored eight goals in European competition this season - six in the Champions League and two in the Europa League

Manchester United took a big step towards the Europa League semi-finals with an away win over Granada in the first leg of their last-eight tie.

Marcus Rashford put United ahead when he superbly collected Victor Lindelof's long pass and slid a finish past home goalkeeper Rui Silva.

Yangel Herrera, on loan from Manchester City, hit the outside of the post for the Spanish side and ex-Tottenham striker Roberto Soldado also fired wide.

United doubled their lead late on when Bruno Fernandes squeezed a penalty past Silva after Yan Brice fouled the Portuguese midfielder.

The second leg is at Old Trafford in a week's time with the aggregate winners advancing to a semi-final against either Ajax or Roma, with the Italian side leading that tie 2-1 after the first leg in the Netherlands.

United have now only lost one of their past 17 matches in all competitions, but will be without midfielder Scott McTominay, left-back Luke Shaw and central defender Harry Maguire for the second leg as they will all be suspended after picking up bookings in Spain.

Professional United get the victory

United have not won a trophy since winning the Europa League four years ago, when Jose Mourinho's side defeated Ajax. They have not reached a final in Solskjaer's two and a half seasons in charge.

With United 14 points behind Premier League leaders Manchester City and out of the FA Cup after losing to Leicester last month, the Europa League is their only realistic hope of silverware this season.

And Solskjaer will be pleased with his side's professional performance in southern Spain as they took control of their 27th European quarter-final.

Rashford, who had earlier curled a shot over, grabbed his 20th club goal of the season, with a superb first touch following Lindelof's long pass from inside his own half, with the England international then running through and slotting past Silva.

David de Gea, back in goal after Dean Henderson had featured in the past seven games, maintained United's lead with a save to deny Kenedy.

United looked to kill off the tie against a side who are ninth in La Liga and have the worst defensive record in the Spanish top flight, but captain Maguire dragged a shot well wide, with Paul Pogba also wasting an opportunity.

Fernandes had a shot from the corner of the six-yard box saved, but then doubled United's advantage in the last minute with a penalty that Silva should have saved but the ball squirmed under his body.

Shaw was replaced by Alex Telles for the start of the second half but Solskjaer played down any injury fears for the England left-back and said: "I had to protect Luke but I think and hope he should be ready for the weekend."

Granada's dream story coming to an end?

Granada
The match in Granada was played behind closed doors but there was a large crowd of fans outside the stadium

Granada's run to the last eight in their first season in European competition has been a great story. Their whole team only cost 8m euros and the side were in the Spanish fourth tier 15 seasons ago.

Sadly, the fans were not able to enter the stadium for what was arguably the biggest match in the club's 90-year history, although that did not stop a large number of passionate supporters gathering outside for the arrival of the team buses.

Granada came seventh in La Liga in 2019-20 and had to battle through three qualifying rounds, then the group phase and then two-legged ties against Italy's Napoli and Solskjaer's former team Molde to reach the quarter-finals.

After falling behind, they had chances to equalise but Herrera, Soldado and Kenedy could not take them as they suffered their fourth successive defeat in all competitions.

The match at Old Trafford next week will be their 15th of the season in the Europa League, and if they fail to win by at least a two-goal margin then it will also be their last.

'Very happy with the result' - what they said

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told BT Sport: "It's not a perfect night - we got three yellow cards and suspensions but a 2-0 result is very good. We know how difficult it is to come to Spain to get a result like this and I'm very happy with the result.

"Marcus and Bruno have been exceptional for us and are so important. The first goal was a very good run from Marcus, he took the ball fantastically and a good finish, and Bruno is so good on penalties.

"We want to win every game of football. It's still a young, learning team and we have to improve all the time. It catches you so quickly if you rest and we can't have any other approach other than to go forward and try to score goals [in the second leg]."

Another United clean sheet - the stats

  • Manchester United 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.
  • Granada have lost consecutive games for the first time in their maiden European campaign, after losing just two of their previous 12 (won eight, drew two - including qualifiers).
  • Manchester United have registered four clean sheets in their last five games in Europe (one goal conceded), after managing just one shutout in their previous seven (12 goals conceded).
  • Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford became the fourth Premier League player to reach 20 goals in all competitions this season after Harry Kane (29), Mohamed Salah (27) and Bruno Fernandes (24).
  • 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.
  • Rashford is the first player to score 20+ goals in back-to-back seasons for Manchester United in all competitions since Wayne Rooney in 2008-09 / 2009-10.
  • Bruno Fernandes has scored 19 of his 20 penalties taken for Manchester United in all competitions.

What's next?

Manchester United are away at Tottenham in the Premier League on Sunday (16:30 BST), with Granada playing at Real Valladolid. The second leg is at Old Trafford on Thursday, 15 April (20:00 BST).

Line-ups

Granada

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Dantas da Silva
  • 16Díaz
  • 22Coutinho Meneses DuarteBooked at 51minsSubstituted forSánchezat 54'minutes
  • 20Vallejo
  • 15NevaSubstituted forFoulquierat 74'minutes
  • 21Herrera
  • 4GonalonsSubstituted forEtekiat 86'minutesBooked at 89mins
  • 10Rodríguez Díaz
  • 19Montoro
  • 24KenedySubstituted forMachísat 75'minutes
  • 9SoldadoSubstituted forSuárezat 87'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Foulquier
  • 3Pérez
  • 6Sánchez
  • 7Suárez
  • 8Eteki
  • 11Machís
  • 13Escandell
  • 23Molina
  • 31Fàbrega

Man Utd

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1de Gea
  • 29Wan-Bissaka
  • 2Lindelöf
  • 5MaguireBooked at 72mins
  • 23ShawBooked at 42minsSubstituted forTellesat 45'minutes
  • 6PogbaBooked at 8minsSubstituted forMaticat 74'minutesBooked at 84mins
  • 39McTominayBooked at 40mins
  • 21James
  • 18Bruno Fernandes
  • 10RashfordSubstituted forCavaniat 66'minutes
  • 11GreenwoodSubstituted forvan de Beekat 85'minutes

Substitutes

  • 7Cavani
  • 8Mata
  • 13Grant
  • 17Fred
  • 19Diallo
  • 26Henderson
  • 27Telles
  • 31Matic
  • 33Williams
  • 34van de Beek
  • 38Tuanzebe
  • 56Elanga
Referee:
Artur Manuel Soares Dias

Match Stats

Home TeamGranadaAway TeamMan Utd
Possession
Home33%
Away67%
Shots
Home11
Away13
Shots on Target
Home3
Away3
Corners
Home11
Away5
Fouls
Home14
Away12

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Granada CF 0, Manchester United 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Granada CF 0, Manchester United 2.

  3. Post update

    Harry Maguire (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Luis Suárez (Granada CF).

  5. Post update

    Goal! Granada CF 0, Manchester United 2. Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom left corner.

  6. Booking

    Yan Eteki (Granada CF) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  7. Post update

    Penalty Manchester United. Bruno Fernandes draws a foul in the penalty area.

  8. Post update

    Penalty conceded by Yan Eteki (Granada CF) after a foul in the penalty area.

  9. Substitution

    Substitution, Granada CF. Luis Suárez replaces Roberto Soldado.

  10. Substitution

    Substitution, Granada CF. Yan Eteki replaces Maxime Gonalons.

  11. Post update

    Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Darwin Machís (Granada CF).

  13. Post update

    Corner, Granada CF. Conceded by Nemanja Matic.

  14. Substitution

    Substitution, Manchester United. Donny van de Beek replaces Mason Greenwood.

  15. Booking

    Nemanja Matic (Manchester United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  16. Post update

    Foul by Nemanja Matic (Manchester United).

  17. Post update

    Antonio Puertas (Granada CF) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  18. Post update

    Foul by Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United).

  19. Post update

    Roberto Soldado (Granada CF) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  20. Post update

    Attempt saved. Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United) right footed shot from the left side of the six yard box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Daniel James.

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Thursday 8th April 2021