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Manchester United player ratings v FC Copenhagen: Mata and Martial excellent

Manchester United set up a third semi-final of the season with a narrow win over FC Copenhagen and will face division rivals Wolves or old nemesis Sevilla in the last four of the Europa League.

The Reds needed extra-time to get the job done, having rattled the post on four occasions and repeatedly failing to find a way past the inspired heroics of Copenhagen keeper Karl-Johan Johansson. A Bruno Fernandes penalty finally separated the sides to send the Reds through and extend this marathon campaign, but United certainly made harder work of it than they should have done.

Here’s how we rated the Reds on a sweltering night in Cologne.

Sergio Romero – 6

United’s cup keeper kept his place from the win over LASK and did little wrong on a night when he was a virtual spectator at times. The Danes failed to register a shot on target with most of Romero’s work restricted to clearing his lines and catching crosses. Will Solskjaer stick with him for the remaining games in this competition? There’s never any worry with the Argentine between the posts.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka – 6

A mixed bag from United’s Mr Consistent. Made a couple of crucial tackles early on and did his share of defensive work but his distribution and attacking impetus needs improvement. In a marathon season, AWB is showing signs of wear and tear but soldiered on and helped United to an ugly win. He does what you want from a right-back, and there was one piece of defending in particular that turned out to be key with the tie on a knife edge. Hesitant to go forward but did his job.

Harry Maguire – 7

United’s captain has played in 57 of the side’s 60 games and survived a couple of early scares including a booking to secure another shutout and lead United into a European semi-final. Had little to do but moved the ball well and did what was needed. Solid rather than amazingly spectacular, he was a steady Eddie throughout.

Eric Bailly – 8

The pick of the bunch at the back, Bailly repeatedly put his body on his line as United started shakily and came under pressure. There was one last ditch challenge in particular that was absolutely superb from the erratic Ivorian. Although Bailly’s performance didn’t merit getting taken off, you can see why Solskjaer made that call – he was already on a booking and isn’t exactly reliable when cool heads are needed. Got spun once but otherwise superb in his best game for ages.

Brandon Williams – 6

Rescued United with a goal saving header off the line but struggled to get forward and seemed to fade, getting pushed back as the match went on. It’s still been an impressive season for one of United’s breakthrough stars, and his tender years mean improvement is still to be expected.

Fred – 6

Industrious and energetic as usual, his distribution left a lot to be desired and he carelessly let Copenhagen in for his best chance. A surprise name on the team sheet ahead of Nemanja Matic, he seemed to struggle when being asked to do the Serbian’s job. Perhaps a little bit rusty, but he was improving until he got taken off.

Paul Pogba – 7

Another to fade in heat of Cologne after a dazzling first half in which Pogba dictated play, set the tempo and set United moving with a stunning array of passes. The Frenchman was the best player on the pitch in the first half but his level dropped in the second half and he didn’t maintain his level.

Mason Greenwood – 7

United’s best attacker in the first hour, having a brilliant finish chalked out for offside and then hit the post after the break. It would have been his 18th of the season, with the Danes struggling to keep a lid on him. Harshly taken off at the start of extra-time but will have a role to play in what we hope will be the last two matches of a stunning season for this very exciting talent. Drifted in and out of the game a bit.

Bruno Fernandes – 6

Although he was nowhere near the totemic level we’ve seen from him, he’s a player that can come up with the goods even when not at his best. Hit the upright twice and had the decisive say – not for the first time – with the winning penalty. There was one pass that channelled his inner Eric Djemba – Djemba but everything United did went through him.

Marcus Rashford – 5

Another poor post-lockdown performance from United’s number ten. Worked hard and was certainly not alone in being denied by a goalkeeping clinic for the ages, but should have scored at least once and still looks rusty. He did improve marginally but it never quite happened for him. Had a goal disallowed.

Anthony Martial – 8

Martial was hovering around a 5 or 6 up until the interval, but he came alive in style in the second half. Almost scored with a ridiculous piece of skill at the death, won the penalty and repeatedly sent the Copenhagen defenders back to their homeland. Filthy. Some of them have families, Tony!

Substitutes

Nemanja Matic – for Fred 70′ – 6

Came on to get hold of the midfield and offer balance in a slightly lopsided midfield. Replaced Fred as a specialist defensive player, and was steady. Did his job and kept things ticking

Victor Lindelof – for Bailly 70′ – 6

Brought on to offer composure and calmness on the ball in place of the impressive if unreliable Bailly. It seemed odd at the time with the game still goalless, but United simply couldn’t run the risk of the Ivorian getting himself sent off.

Juan Mata – for Greenwood 90′ – 8

A vintage cameo from peak 2011 Mata. Broke the lines, opened Copenhagen up and had a major impact with his probing and creativity. Played a part in the winner and should have had a goal for himself.

Jesse Lingard – for Rashford 113′ – N/A

Fresh legs in the closing stages. Ran a lot and offered energy in the closing stages.

Scott McTominay – for Martial 120′ – N/A

No rating. Didn’t get a touch as he came on to see the tie out.

READ MORE: Video: Solskjaer credits Bruno Fernandes for penalty taking ability after FC Copenhagen win

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