Tuesday’s match at Old Trafford proved that football is more than just a sport, as Manchester United paid tribute to Sir Bobby Charlton, who tragically passed away recently. The United legend got a standing ovation, with bagpipes played in his honour and Erik Ten Hag placing flowers in the middle of the pitch that arguably England’s greatest sportsman graced so often.
MUN: Onana, Dalot, Varane, Maguire, Reguilón, Amrabat, McTominay, Antony, Bruno Fernandes, Rashford, Højlund
COP: Grabara, Ankersen, Vavro, Diks, Jelert, Lerager, Falk, Cupido Gonçalves, Elyounoussi, Claesson, Achouri
There were early warning signs for United as Achouri fizzed a shot from at thirty yards out or so to force a save from Onana, and moments later their pressure continued as Gonçalves clipped the upright following a delightful ball in from Elyounoussi – who also tried to follow up from the rebound, but his effort was deflected over.
United struggled to break down the compact backline of the Danish side in the opening fifteen minutes, and their first chance didn’t arrive until Rashford whipped in a pass to Højlund’s feet, but he fired over the bar.
In the second period, Copenhagen again started quicker than their hosts with Lerager taking a pop at goal with Onana made to beat it away.
With more than fifty minutes gone, United lacked any real firepower in the match. Erikson tried to change this when his side-footed shot was headed towards the bottom corner, were it not for Grabara pushing it away. It was United’s first real move that caused panic in the box, as Rashford ran along the byline before giving it off to Højlund, who laid it off for his Danish compatriot.
Rashford and Garnacho would find themselves through one on goal on separate occasions but in both situations, heavy touches let them down.
Things were looking dire for the Red Devils with only twenty minutes left to spare – however, United would lead through the unlikely candidate of Harry Maguire. After Erikson’s whipped cross met his head, Maguire guided the ball towards the ground before it bounced into the top corner.Embed from Getty Images
This gave the home side more confidence to push on for a second as Garnacho bore down and goal and forced Grabara to come off his line and push the effort away from the target.
United fans were then stunned with seconds to go as Copenhagen were awarded a spot kick, with it looking like Copenhagen might steal something from the game. But Onana had other plans, as he guessed the right way, diving to keep out Larsson’s strike meaning United would hold on for victory.