Manchester United showed character Thursday night in their Europa League semi-final first leg tie as they overcame an initial scare before beating Roma 6-2 at Old Trafford.
Despite taking the lead in the ninth minute through Bruno Fernandes, United trailed 1-2 at the end of the first half through a penalty from Lorenzo Pellegrini and a tap-in from Edin Dzeko on 34 minutes.
However, a masterclass in the second 45 minutes saw Fernandes, Edison Cavani (2), Paul Pogba, and Mason Greenwood give the Red Devils a high level of breathing space going into the second leg in Italy.
Manchester United took the lead with their first real attack. Paul Pogba dribbled away from Chris Smalling and Cavani set up Fernandes for a delicate finish that keeper Pau Lopez had no answer to.
Pellegrini equalised from the penalty spot and Dzeko scored the go-ahead goal to give Roma the advantage going into the interval.
It was, however, a completely different ball game in the second half when Cavani got two goals, Fernandes added one more and the duo of Pogba and Greenwood also joined in the goals’ feast.
In the other semi-final tie, it is still delicately poised for Samuel Chukwueze and his Villarreal teammates as they could only get a 2-1 win over Arsenal
Chukwueze featured for all ninety minutes but he was not part of the scorers. He assisted for the first goal.
Villarreal took the lead inside the fifth minute, with Trigueros firing home, and just before the half-hour mark, Raul Albiol doubled the advantage for Unai Emery’s side.
Arsenal’s task of getting back in the game became tougher when Daniel Ceballos was shown a second yellow card in the 57th for a stamp on Daniel Parejo.
VAR proved its farcical nature when referee Artur Soares Dias from Portugal and the VAR team at the Ceramica handed the Gunners a bonus lifeline with a penalty on 72 minutes.
Video replays clearly showed Busayo Saka initiated the contact with Manu Trigueros. This was an occasion for VAR to prove why it was brought into the game but the penalty got a go-ahead and Nicolas Pepe got a vital away goal.
But matters intensified when Etienne Capoue got a second yellow card for a foul on Saka in the 80th minute.
Next week at the Emirates will see another physical contest with seven yellow cards shown at the Estadio de la Ceramica.
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401...