Europa League - Quarter-Final - 2nd Leg
Man UtdManchester United2GranadaGranada0

Manchester United 2-0 Granada (agg 4-0): Reds set up Europa League semi-final against Roma

By Simon StoneBBC Sport at Old Trafford

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said it is time for Manchester United to take the next step and reach a first final since 2017 after they eased past Granada to set up a Europa League last-four meeting with Roma.

United won the Europa League in their last final but have lost all four semi-finals in which they have featured during Solskjaer's reign, including in this competition last season.

Their progress to a fifth was never in doubt after Edinson Cavani provided a smart finish to Paul Pogba's sixth-minute flicked header to extend their aggregate lead to 3-0, after a two-goal win in Spain last week.

United scored a second in stoppage time when Jesus Vallejo turned Alex Telles' cross into his own net.

"We will relish the chance to go to a final," said Solskjaer, who took over in December 2018.

"We want to use disappointments from the defeats we have had to motivate us to get to the final.

"The next step for this team is to get to a final and win a trophy. That will give this group of players something extra."

As Roma came through a nervy night at the Stadio Olimpico against Ajax, it means a reunion for United old boys Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Chris Smalling, who has been sidelined in recent weeks with a knee injury.

It was a notable night too for Cavani, whose first European goal for United was his 50th in total in continental competition, and ninth of the season overall and will intensify talk about whether the 34-year-old will sign an extension to his contract, which expires at the end of June.

Solskjaer learns his lesson

Earlier this season, in a crucial Champions League group encounter with PSG, United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was caught out when he failed to replace Fred, who was on a booking and looking dangerously close to being sent off.

The United boss was criticised when the Brazilian was then shown a red card, leading to a defeat that was part of the reason his side ended up in the Europa League.

There were echoes of that night in the way Pogba needlessly got himself booked midway through the opening period.

Made captain for the night in the absence of Harry Maguire, one of three United players suspended for this game, Pogba was yellow carded for shoving his arm into the face of German Sanchez.

Within minutes, Pogba had caught Yangel Herrera with a late tackle, bringing screams for a dismissal from the Granada players. The protests of former Tottenham striker Roberto Soldado were so fierce he was booked by Romanian referee Istvan Kovacs.

Solskjaer resisted an immediate change but, with the tie won, he took the sensible option of replacing Pogba with Donny van de Beek at half-time.

Silverware for Solskjaer?

If United fail to get past Roma and secure silverware this season, it will be four seasons without a trophy, matching the four barren campaigns between United's FA Cup wins in 1985 and 1990, the latter marking the start of Sir Alex Ferguson's era of glory.

Mkhitaryan was a goalscorer when United won their last trophy, this competition, in 2017. Pogba was the other.

Together with Marcus Rashford, Pogba will be the only starter from that victory against Ajax in Stockholm likely to be in Solskjaer's team for the semi-final first leg on 29 April.

United's victory was only their second in 11 home games against Spanish opposition, which says a lot about Granada's status compared to the European heavyweights Old Trafford is used to hosting.

They should really have won by more but Bruno Fernandes was off target with a first-time volley from Nemanja Matic's lofted pass and a low shot from Cavani's lay-off, and Mason Greenwood also fired wide as United coasted through the remainder of the contest.

Substitute Jorge Molina's header straight at David de Gea was the highlight for a Granada outfit more notable for the noise they made rather than anything they did on the pitch and who ended the night with an unfortunate own goal.

United are next in action against Burnley in the Premier League on Sunday, 18 April (16:00 BST).

'Roma is a proper European tie' - what they said

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to BT Sport: "Granada do give you a game. It's a physical game, they throw people forward. You have to defend in these kind of games."

On bringing Paul Pogba off at half-time: "Sometimes, Paul wants to win so much... he went into a couple of tackles after his yellow card but I thought I don't want to risk that [him being sent off] even though he played so well. We missed three today [through suspension]. The season has been hard enough as it is."

On playing Roma in the semis: "I've not seen too much of them. I knew they played two good games against Ajax. They defend well, as Italian teams always do. We all know Edin Dzeko so every ball into the box is a dangerous one.

"We are looking forward to it. We're in the semis. It feels like a proper European tie because Roma is a club with lots of history. We've done well against Italian sides before. If we can finish the season with a trophy that'd be great."

Miserly United - the stats

  • United have reached their 18th semi-final in all European competition (including the Fairs Cup) - only Liverpool (19) have appeared in more among English sides.
  • United have won three consecutive knockout stage games without conceding in major European competition for the first time since April 2008.
  • Since losing their first two home games in the Europa League back in the 2011-12 season, United have not lost any of their last 17 games at Old Trafford in the competition (W13 D4).
  • United have kept five clean sheets in six Europa League games since the turn of the year, more than any other side in 2021.
  • Paul Pogba has provided three assists in his last four games in all competitions, as many as in his previous 51 combined.

Player of the match

CavaniEdinson Cavani

with an average of 7.86

Manchester United

  1. Squad number7Player nameCavani
    Average rating

    7.86

  2. Squad number34Player namevan de Beek
    Average rating

    7.24

  3. Squad number18Player nameBruno Fernandes
    Average rating

    7.13

  4. Squad number6Player namePogba
    Average rating

    7.13

  5. Squad number8Player nameMata
    Average rating

    7.09

  6. Squad number11Player nameGreenwood
    Average rating

    7.02

  7. Squad number29Player nameWan-Bissaka
    Average rating

    6.92

  8. Squad number21Player nameJames
    Average rating

    6.78

  9. Squad number19Player nameAmad
    Average rating

    6.73

  10. Squad number38Player nameTuanzebe
    Average rating

    6.67

  11. Squad number2Player nameLindelöf
    Average rating

    6.56

  12. Squad number27Player nameAlex Telles
    Average rating

    6.54

  13. Squad number33Player nameWilliams
    Average rating

    6.49

  14. Squad number1Player namede Gea
    Average rating

    6.44

  15. Squad number31Player nameMatic
    Average rating

    6.36

  16. Squad number17Player nameFred
    Average rating

    6.29

Granada

  1. Squad number21Player nameHerrera
    Average rating

    5.56

  2. Squad number9Player nameSoldado
    Average rating

    5.46

  3. Squad number24Player nameKenedy
    Average rating

    5.43

  4. Squad number11Player nameMachís
    Average rating

    5.42

  5. Squad number20Player nameVallejo
    Average rating

    5.32

  6. Squad number19Player nameMontoro
    Average rating

    5.30

  7. Squad number3Player namePérez
    Average rating

    5.27

  8. Squad number6Player nameSánchez
    Average rating

    5.25

  9. Squad number7Player nameSuárez
    Average rating

    5.24

  10. Squad number15Player nameNeva
    Average rating

    5.24

  11. Squad number4Player nameGonalons
    Average rating

    5.23

  12. Squad number2Player nameFoulquier
    Average rating

    5.19

  13. Squad number23Player nameMolina
    Average rating

    5.15

  14. Squad number16Player nameDíaz
    Average rating

    5.13

  15. Squad number1Player nameRui Silva
    Average rating

    5.13

  16. Squad number10Player nameAntonio Puertas
    Average rating

    4.99

Line-ups

Man Utd

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1de Gea
  • 29Wan-BissakaSubstituted forWilliamsat 82'minutes
  • 38Tuanzebe
  • 2Lindelöf
  • 27Telles
  • 17Fred
  • 31Matic
  • 11GreenwoodSubstituted forDialloat 82'minutes
  • 18Bruno FernandesSubstituted forMataat 73'minutes
  • 6PogbaBooked at 17minsSubstituted forvan de Beekat 45'minutes
  • 7CavaniSubstituted forJamesat 60'minutes

Substitutes

  • 8Mata
  • 10Rashford
  • 13Grant
  • 19Diallo
  • 21James
  • 26Henderson
  • 33Williams
  • 34van de Beek
  • 48Fish
  • 56Elanga
  • 74Shoretire

Granada

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Dantas da Silva
  • 2Foulquier
  • 6SánchezBooked at 61minsSubstituted forPérezat 82'minutes
  • 20Vallejo
  • 15NevaBooked at 74minsSubstituted forDíazat 74'minutes
  • 4GonalonsSubstituted forMolinaat 32'minutes
  • 19Montoro
  • 24KenedySubstituted forRodríguez Díazat 45'minutes
  • 21Herrera
  • 11Machís
  • 9SoldadoBooked at 19minsSubstituted forSuárezat 45'minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Pérez
  • 7Suárez
  • 10Rodríguez Díaz
  • 13Escandell
  • 16Díaz
  • 23Molina
  • 28Ruiz
  • 30Torrente
  • 31Fàbrega
Referee:
István Kovács

Match Stats

Home TeamMan UtdAway TeamGranada
Possession
Home59%
Away41%
Shots
Home9
Away11
Shots on Target
Home2
Away3
Corners
Home0
Away4
Fouls
Home16
Away12

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Manchester United 2, Granada CF 0.

  2. Full Time

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

  3. Post update

    Offside, Granada CF. Dimitri Foulquier tries a through ball, but Luis Suárez is caught offside.

  4. Goal!

    Own Goal by Jesús Vallejo, Granada CF. Manchester United 2, Granada CF 0.

  5. Post update

    Attempt saved. Yangel Herrera (Granada CF) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Darwin Machís with a cross.

  6. Post update

    Corner, Granada CF. Conceded by Alex Telles.

  7. Post update

    Attempt saved. Víctor Díaz (Granada CF) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

  8. Post update

    Corner, Granada CF. Conceded by Nemanja Matic.

  9. Substitution

    Substitution, Manchester United. Brandon Williams replaces Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

  10. Substitution

    Substitution, Manchester United. Amad replaces Mason Greenwood.

  11. Substitution

    Substitution, Granada CF. Nehuen Pérez replaces Germán Sánchez.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Alex Telles (Manchester United).

  13. Post update

    Antonio Puertas (Granada CF) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  14. Post update

    Offside, Manchester United. Alex Telles tries a through ball, but Daniel James is caught offside.

  15. Post update

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

  16. Post update

    Foul by Yangel Herrera (Granada CF).

  17. Post update

    Victor Lindelöf (Manchester United).

  18. Post update

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

  19. Substitution

    Substitution, Granada CF. Víctor Díaz replaces Carlos Neva.

  20. Booking

    Carlos Neva (Granada CF) is shown the yellow card.

Around the BBC iPlayer bannerAround the BBC iPlayer footer

Comments

Join the conversation

These comments are now closed.

1038 comments