May 7, 2021

The Red Devils finally reach a cup final under Solskjær at the fifth time of asking.


AS Roma bowed out of the UEFA Europa League with their heads held high as they beat Manchester United 3-2 on the night, losing the semi-final tie 5-8 on aggregate.

Having won the first leg 6-2, you’d think Manchester United would have it relatively easy in the second leg, but that would’ve been too boring for the Red Devils.

Roma started their game carefree and with intent of making a good show of themselves. They came close on two different occasions in the early minutes of the game and had a few more chances at United’s goal in the first half but were denied by David de Gea on each occasion.

When Edinson Cavani blasted one in in the 39th minute you could be forgiven to consider the game finally done and dusted. However, that was just the prelude to how the second half was going to turn out.

Roma’s continuous efforts finally bore fruit early in the second half as Edin Džeko headed in a cross from Pedro in the 57th minute. Less than three minutes later, Bryan Cristante drove one in from the edge of the box, leaving Roma in need of three more goals for a spectacular comeback as United’s defence started to tremble. Moments after that, Roma came again but were denied just about by a de Gea double save. Another Roman shot came in the 62nd minute that deflected from the inside of de Gea’s left leg and ambled past the goal line.

Cavani calmed the nerves (a little) in the 68th minute as he wittingly headed in his second goal from a Bruno Fernandes cross. Roma continued trying to make things interesting and scored another one in the 83rd minute when Nicola Zalewski’s attempt deflected off Alex Telles and into de Gea’s net, but it was too late at that point. United acceded to defeat on the day but were finally through a semi-final.

David de Gea produced, with little doubt, his best performance of this season against the Giallorossi, making crucial saves to keep United in a game they had no right to give away in the first place. The Spaniard has received a lot of criticism for his frequent follies in recent season, but this performance will go a long way to remind people why he used to be regarded as one of the very best.

As far as Roma are concerned, exciting times await them in the next season. Their current coach, Paul Fonseca, is already announced to be leaving at the end of the season, with a certain José Mourinho arriving out of the blue to replace him in the Italian capital. They currently sit 7th in Serie A, nine points off local rivals Lazio, and would be looking to hold on to the last Europa League spot as they face pressure from Sassuolo, who sit two points off them in 8th.

After their match with Liverpool getting rescheduled to May 13, Manchester United now have three Premier League matches in the space of five days. Currently sitting second in the table with 67 points they would like to end the season as close to Manchester City as they can but seeing that one victory would secure their top four finish for a second year running – first time since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement – you wouldn’t be surprised to see Solskjær take the pragmatic approach and prefer avoiding any sort of injuries to his main players, even if that meant losing out on the runner-up spot. Winning the Europa League is absolutely imperative for both Solskjær and Manchester United at this point; the former needs it to make a statement of his managerial credentials, the latter need it to end their worst trophy drought in a little over three decades.

Written By
Anshuman Joshi

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