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Friday, 12 May 2017

Manchester United in Europa League Final despite late drama by Celta Vigo 1-1 (agg2-1)




Manchester United 1-1 Celta Vigo (agg 2-1): Marouane Fellaini header seals Red Devils' place in Europa League final despite late drama

  • Wayne Rooney was benched in favour of Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard
  • Marcus Rashford whipped in a sensational cross for Marouane Fellaini to head home at the back post
  • Facundo Roncaglia nodded a brilliant header into the corner to set up a nervy final five minutes
  • Roncaglia and Eric Bailly were then sent off following a heated scuffle in the middle of the park 
  • Jose Mourinho's men held on and will now play Ajax in the final of the Europa League on May 24
  • Manchester United 1-1 Celta Vigo: Follow all the action as it happened live from Old Trafford
For what may well have been the greatest gamble of Jose Mourinho’s career to pay off, two things had to happen.
First, Claudo Beauvue, a left winger from the French overseas region of Guadelope, had to cross when he should have shot. Had he shot, from close range on the right, he almost certainly would have scored and Celta Vigo would have won the game and the tie, this being the last minute of extra time. 
Next, John Guidetti, a Swedish striker late of Manchester City, needed to receive that cross and miss his kick, spurning an open net with goalkeeper Sergio Romero floored. Had he done his job, Celta Vigo would have been in the Europe League final against Ajax, his being the last kick of the match.
Marouane Fellaini (right) celebrates with Jesse Lingard (left) after giving his team the lead in the Europa League clash
Marouane Fellaini (right) celebrates with Jesse Lingard (left) after giving his team the lead in the Europa League clash
Belgian midfielder Fellaini (right) heads past Celta Vigo goalkeeper Sergio Alvarez (left) to open the scoring
Belgian midfielder Fellaini (right) heads past Celta Vigo goalkeeper Sergio Alvarez (left) to open the scoring
The 29-year-old (left) made the most of his chance after being found at the back post by Marcus Rashford 
The 29-year-old (left) made the most of his chance after being found at the back post by Marcus Rashford 
Fellaini (2nd left) is congratulated by his United team-mates after breaking the deadlock at Old Trafford
Fellaini (2nd left) is congratulated by his United team-mates after breaking the deadlock at Old Trafford
Manchester United and Celta Vigo players watch on as Facundo Roncaglia's header nestles into the bottom corner
Manchester United and Celta Vigo players watch on as Facundo Roncaglia's header nestles into the bottom corner
Roncaglia (centre) races back to the halfway line with his team-mates after equalising in the 85th minute
Roncaglia (centre) races back to the halfway line with his team-mates after equalising in the 85th minute
Eric Bailly attempts to shove Roncaglia as players from both sides clashed in the closing stages of the semi-final
Eric Bailly attempts to shove Roncaglia as players from both sides clashed in the closing stages of the semi-final
Bailly (centre) and  Roncaglia (2nd left) are both shown red cards by Romanian referee Ovidiu Hategan (right)
Bailly (centre) and Roncaglia (2nd left) are both shown red cards by Romanian referee Ovidiu Hategan (right)
John Guidetti shows his dejection after missing a chance to win the tie with the final kick of the game on Thursday
John Guidetti shows his dejection after missing a chance to win the tie with the final kick of the game on Thursday

MATCH FACTS 

Manchester United (4-3-3): Romero 6.5; Valencia 6, Bailly 6.5, Blind 5.5, Darmian 6; Herrera 6, Pogba 6; Lingard 6 (Rooney 86), Fellaini 7, Mkhitaryan 6.5 (Carrick 77, 6); Rashford 7.5 (Smalling 89) 
Subs not used: De Gea, Jones, Mata, Martial
Goal: Fellaini 17
Booked: Blind, Herrera 
Sent off: Bailly
Celta Vigo (4-5-1): Alvarez 6; Mallo 6, Cabral 6, Roncaglia 6.5, Jonny 6.5; Radoja 6 (Bongonda 68, 5.5), Hernandez 6; Aspas 7, Wass 6.5 (Jozabed 46, 6.5), Guidetti 4.5; Sisto 7 (Beauvue 80)
Subs not used: Villar, Fontas, Gomez, Diaz
Goal: Roncaglia 85 
Booked: Aspas, Cabral
Sent off: Roncaglia 
Referee: Ovidiu Alin Hategan (Romania)
Star man: Marcus Rashford
Instead, it is Manchester United who travel to Stockholm, Manchester United who are one victory away from a place in next season’s Champions League, Manchester United who may add the only major trophy missing from their cabinet if they can overcome Ajax on May 24. 
Mourinho has rolled the dice on a Europa League victory this season, and the numbers have come up in his favour, just. 
This was perilously close to an upset and had United lost, Mourinho’s reasoning in as good as sacrificing the top four for a European trophy would have appeared the most foolhardy self-indulgence.
What a scare they got. Not just in the sixth minute of second-half injury time, but throughout a game that saw Vigo have the bulk of possession and the best chances, before forcing the most dramatic finish with an 85th minute equalising goal from Facundo Roncaglia. 
The tension that followed was summed up by an ugly melee moments later that ended in red cards for goalscorer Roncaglia and United defender Eric Bailly, although Antonio Valencia seemed to do more to merit caution, and Guidetti did not help with his play-acting. 
Bailly will miss the final now, which is a blow – he was superb last night – although not the logistical crisis it would have been, had United’s defensive injuries still been at a peak.
It was tight, though. Dreadfully, unexpectedly tight. Celta were so much better than last week, when they seemed to freeze at home, and they certainly created enough chances to win. 
Their problem was Marouane Fellaini’s 17th minute goal which gave United a 2-0 aggregate lead, and Vigo a hill to climb. It is to their credit that they almost reached the crest. 
French midfielder Paul Pogba (right) breaks away from Namanja Radoja (left) during the first half of the match
French midfielder Paul Pogba (right) breaks away from Namanja Radoja (left) during the first half of the match
Pogba (centre) produced a superb bit of ball juggling to find his way past two Celta midfielders and start an attack
Pogba (centre) produced a superb bit of ball juggling to find his way past two Celta midfielders and start an attack
English forward Lingard (right) makes a pass before he is challenged by defensive midfielder Radoja (left)
English forward Lingard (right) makes a pass before he is challenged by defensive midfielder Radoja (left)
Long after the final whistle sounded, their fans were still inside Old Trafford saluting the team that then came out to show their appreciation. It was as if they had won. As underdogs, taking the mighty Manchester United to the very last kick, maybe it felt as if they had.
United will see it a different way, obviously. Back in August, Mourinho, not to mention the majority inside Old Trafford, would probably have taken one domestic trophy, one European trophy and a place in the Champions League next season as the bounty of his first year in charge – and if he can add the Europa League to the League Cup, it will be classed a good campaign. 
Many, however, would have presumed that the Champions League qualification would have been achieved through a top four league position, not by UEFA’s back door. Mourinho has seen that as an either-or option, though, and opted to take the simpler cup route. 
Whether this was what Michel Platini had in mind when he gave a Champions League qualifying place to the winners of UEFA’s second tournament, is another matter. He probably though it would give one of Europe’s growing clubs a chance, rather than create a safety net for a member of Europe’s privileged elite. The best laid plans, and all that. 
Spanish midfielder Ander Herrera (left) holds off Danish winger Daniel Wass (right) during the semi-final showdown
Spanish midfielder Ander Herrera (left) holds off Danish winger Daniel Wass (right) during the semi-final showdown
United captain Wayne Rooney watches on from the bench after being left out of the starting line-up by Mourinho
United captain Wayne Rooney watches on from the bench after being left out of the starting line-up by Mourinho
Iago Aspas shows his frustration after having his effort denied by an excellent save from Sergio Romero
Iago Aspas shows his frustration after having his effort denied by an excellent save from Sergio Romero
Yet Mourinho is nothing if not pragmatic and he identified the potential of the Europa League with a strong squad very early. So did Louis Van Gaal, mind you, only to get knocked out at the quarter-final stage by Liverpool last year. 
So to those who decry Mourinho’s achievement in reaching the final, it is worth pointing out that this has never been an easy tournament to win. 
True, Real Madrid and Juventus are not lurking, but humble Celta proved last night that there are no mugs at this stage. They finished the game with 67 per cent possession, to United’s 33: an incredible achievement for the underdogs at Old Trafford.
Last night’s match programme depicted the last piece of a red jigsaw falling into place – but victory over Ajax cannot be guaranteed on this showing. 
Maybe United simply underestimated the opposition. Celta Vigo could not have been more disappointing at home last week, or more impressive here. Indeed, apart from losing their way at the mid-point of the first-half, when Manchester United took the lead and threatened to put the tie to bed, Celta had the better chances. 
Spanish midfielder Pablo Hernandez (right) unleashes a fierce shot from range which was tipped over by Romero
Spanish midfielder Pablo Hernandez (right) unleashes a fierce shot from range which was tipped over by Romero
Henrikh Mkhitaryan (2nd left) came close to doubling the lead with a rasping strike from outside the box
Henrikh Mkhitaryan (2nd left) came close to doubling the lead with a rasping strike from outside the box
United manager Jose Mourinho (left) can't help but laugh as Celta boss Eduardo Berizzo (right) bemoans a missed chance
United manager Jose Mourinho (left) can't help but laugh as Celta boss Eduardo Berizzo (right) bemoans a missed chance
Thank heavens, then for Marcus Rashford and Fellaini, the pair combing for the goal that at least allowed United to feel comfortable through Celta’s ferocious efforts. 
It was a lovely ball by Rashford, the scorer of key goals in previous Europa League ties but here the provider, sending a ball in from the left which Fellaini met at the far post, his header defeating goalkeeper Sergio Alvarez.
For a brief period after this, United looked as if they were ready to take charge, mainly through Jesse Lingard and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. There were some wild shots, some good saves from Alvarez – not least from Rashford after 64 minutes.
Yet United were never allowed to settle. Vigo attacked intelligently, particularly on the right where Iago Aspas should have capitalised on an error by Blind, before forcing an excellent save from Sergio Romero, the first of a few.  
Swedish striker Guidetti (centre) gestures to the away support after Roncaglia's equalising goal at Old Trafford
Swedish striker Guidetti (centre) gestures to the away support after Roncaglia's equalising goal at Old Trafford
Bailly (left) and Roncaglia (2nd right) continue to argue with each other as they are escorted from the pitch by officials
Bailly (left) and Roncaglia (2nd right) continue to argue with each other as they are escorted from the pitch by officials
Herrera (centre) puts the ball in the net in injury time only for the goal to be disallowed due to Pogba's  foul
Herrera (centre) puts the ball in the net in injury time only for the goal to be disallowed due to Pogba's foul
David De Gea’s understudy – who really has been in top form at the business end of this European campaign – also had to be at his best after 27 minutes, when Pablo Hernandez found his range with a shot that was tipped over.
Pione Sisto twice came close to turning the match around, most spectacularly with a cross for Daniel Waas, that was headed just wide. Guidetti missed after 58 minutes, Jozabed – on loan from Fulham – came close from 25 yards. 
Still, it is done now. After 14 games, Manchester United are in the Europa League final, as Mourinho intended. 
Don’t think it was plain sailing, though. Nothing has been in this huff and puff of a season. The only people who seem to find it easy at Old Trafford these days, are the agents.
Guidetti shows his despair after missing a golden chance to fire his team into the final with the last kick of the game
Guidetti shows his despair after missing a golden chance to fire his team into the final with the last kick of the game
Mourinho roars with delight after the referee's final whistle confirmed his team's place in this year's final
Mourinho roars with delight after the referee's final whistle confirmed his team's place in this year's final



Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-4497312/Manchester-United-1-1-Celta-Vigo-agg-2-1.html#ixzz4gq1NnIq1
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