Manchester United ran rampant against Roma to take a 6-2 first leg lead in the Europa League semi-finals. The game got off to a bit of a rough start, but as has been the case most of the season Ole’s side responded well in the second half, and gave fans another memorable, high scoring European match against Roma.
Roma were forced to use their first sub early after Jordan Veretout pulled up with what appeared to be a hamstring injury after just a few minutes. He was making a run down United’s right wing and immediately felt the impact before Shaw could challenge him. Gonzalo Villar replaced him in the 5th minute.
Other than the ill-fated run forward from Veretout, it was all Manchester United early. Bruno Fernandes opened the scoring with their first effort on goal after 8 minutes, finishing off a nice build up move by Pogba and Cavani by lifting it calmly over Lopez.
Roma were able to respond a few minutes later after being gifted a penalty. Pogba was perhaps harshly called for handball sliding in front of a cross at the touchline. His arms were up, but it was hardly intentional. Pellegrini converted powerfully past De Gea to make it 1-1.
United responded well, and Roma had very few opportunities to push forward. Bruno Fernandes had a couple more chances, one on a free kick and one from the center of the Roma area. Both were placed off target however. Pogba had the next shot on target for United around the 23rd minute, which was well saved by Lopez. The Roma keeper paid a price for it however, and walked off the pitch momentarily with a shoulder injury. After some examination he was replaced by Mirante, Roma’s second substitution due to injury before the half hour mark.
Roma responded to United’s strong spell with a second goal. Pellegrini ran onto a clever pass through Lindelof’s legs and placed the ball into Dzeko’s path. Roma’s 2nd away goal, and giving them the lead on the night. They soon lost Spinazzola to injury and had to use a third substitution, but had put themselves in a comfortable spot away from home despite losing 3 players to injury.
Cavani should have put United level just before the half after pouncing on a wayward pass at the back, but he couldn’t place it past Mirante, and United went into the dressing room down 1-2.
Manchester United played pretty sloppy football in the first half to go 1-2 down, but controlled the game for large stretches. That trend continued in the second half, but with much more clinical play. Cavani equalized three minutes after the restart, finishing off a good counter move from Pogba and Bruno. United established themselves early again, but didn’t let up this time.
After another good spell of offensive possession Cavani put United ahead in the 64th minute. This time it was a poacher’s finish, pouncing on the rebound of an Aaron Wan-Bissaka shot. The momentum had well and truly swung United’s way. A penalty was won just five minutes later, and converted by Bruno for 4-2.
Pogba added a goal in the 75th minute to make it 5-2, heading home a good cross. He and Bruno struggled to control the game in the first half, but ran the show in the second. Aided by energetic play from the full-backs and a maverick display from Cavani, the two creators showed why they’re the centerpieces of Ole’s team.
Mason Greenwood finished things off late for 6-2, sent down the right by Cavani. There was plenty of space to run into, but the young forward still had plenty of work to do. He set received the ball on the run, turned, and set himself for a powerful strike past Mirante to put United firmly in the driver’s seat. Roma did well to get 2 away goals early, and take the lead after conceding, but they were no match for United in the second half. When firing on all cylinders this team can truly throttle an opponent. They lead 6-2 heading to the Italian capital next week, and their job is now control the game and don’t make any major mistakes rather than score goals to complete a comeback.