“Gone now are the old times
Forgotten, time to hold on the railing
The Rubix cube isn’t solving for us
Old friends, long forgotten
The old ways at the bottom
Of the ocean now has swallowed
The only thing that’s left
Is us, so pardon the silence
That you’re hearing is turning
Into a deafening, painful, shameful roar”
- Ode to the Mets, by The Strokes...
Manchester United fall to the bottom of Group A in the UEFA Champions League after a chaotic, painful, and heartbreaking 4-3 defeat in Copenhagen on Wednesday. FC Kobenhavn grabbed a late winner thanks to one Roony Bardghji, a 17-year old who stole the spotlight emphatically on what looked early to be a happy homecoming for Rasmus Hojlund.
The match could not have ended more differently from what we saw in the early minutes, and while many conversations about handball, VAR and refereeing in general, the obvious and shattering talking point is that we are witnessing a snowballing Manchester United side continue a hurtle towards the chasm of chaos and uncertainty.
Rasmus Hojlund, a former FC Kobenhavn product, scored a brace in the first half, capping what looked at the very least to be a comfortable United performance with the side’s second two-goal lead of the season (yes, really). The match changed in a flash however with a VAR check for red card on what appeared to be an innocuous Marcus Rashford foul. The forward planted his foot on the turn, putting his studs accidentally into the ankle of an opposing player who was putting a foot in for the ball. An accident, and at worst a yellow card, but ruled a straight red for United’s no. 10.
FC Kobenhavn responded with a quick goal back from Elyounoussi, 2-1.
Then in stoppage time at the end of the first half a penalty was given for a non-issue handball, as is the standard in European play.
FC Kobenhavn converted, 2-2.
Down to 10 men United came out in the second half with more organization, taking some chances to go forward, and were awarded a penalty thanks to UEFA’s awful handball rule. A total non-issue handball became a penalty for Bruno Fernandes to convert and put the Reds up 3-2.
But of course that couldn’t be the end. Not this season, not in this run of atrocious play and results.
In the final minutes the hosts scored twice. First, converting at the back post on a cross to once again expose Diogo Dalot defensively, and the second time a back breaker written into the script for Roony to blast United into fourth place.
We go on, but we do so with little to no enthusiasm.
Hold onto that glimpse of joy that Hojlund’s goals gave us, maybe one day that feeling will be lasting fulfilling again.