Ebere Paul Onuachu struck the winner as Midtjylland sealed a shock 2-1 victory over Manchester United in the first leg of their Europa League last-32 tie on Thursday.
United were on the back foot before a ball was kicked as David de Gea sustained an injury during the warm-up. His replacement Sergio Romero made a handful of fine saves, but was unable to preserve a result for Louis van Gaal.
Starting in place of Wayne Rooney, Memphis Depay snatched the lead for United but they were pegged back before half-time when Pione Sisto’s deflected shot flew into the bottom corner.
The Premier League side, who were perhaps fortunate not to see young Donald Love sent off, seemed content to sit back in the closing stages and were punished when Onuachu drilled low past Romero from the edge of the box.
United fans had baulked at £71 tickets before the game, but their ire will likely switch back to Van Gaal’s inability to get the best out his team after another sorry show.
Showing no ill-effects of his late call-up to the side, Romero reacted superbly to claw Hansen’s header off the line following a corner as Midtjylland looked to exploit their early set-pieces given United’s makeshift backline, though Chris Smalling wasted a great chance from a Daley Blind corner which he headed across goal and wide.
Midtjylland keeper Mikkel Andersen made a good save from Depay’s clever free-kick but the hosts were handed a glorious chance to take the lead as Vaclav Kadlec raced down the middle of the pitch with United’s defence nowhere to be seen, only to side-foot straight at Romero.
Depay made the home side pay just two minutes later, hooking the ball in on the turn from inside the area after Lingard’s cross had bounced through three defenders at the near post.
But United’s lead was short-lived. Sisto drove straight at the heart of the defence and his shot from 18 yards out took a deflection off Smalling on its way past Romero.
United began the second half brightly, with Lingard blazing high and wide after a fine run down the left by Anthony Martial before Juan Mata nodded wide after a good cross from Depay.
Martial was beginning to cause real problems with his movement and another promising run led to Lingard volleying back off the crossbar as he peeled away at the far post, though United escaped a red card minutes later when Love caught Filip Novak on the shin with a raised boot.
Midtjylland threw on striker Onuachu and he forced Romero into a stunning save high to his left with a powerful header from 12 yards within a minute of coming on.
But the towering striker made United pay late on, poking the ball away from Mata before rolling a low shot into the corner beyond Romero’s reach and securing a famous win for the Danish side.
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!