The Season Ticket
Football | United advance to Europa League final despite defeat in Rome
Manchester United have reached the Europa League final, despite suffering a 3-2 defeat to Roma in the second leg of their semi-final in Italy.
Manchester United have qualified for the UEFA Europa League final despite suffering a 3-2 defeat to Roma in Italy.
The Red Devils advance to the final in Gdansk after defeating Roma 8-5 on aggregate, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side ending their run of four consecutive semi-final eliminations.
Edinson Cavani gave the visitors the lead in Rome, finding the net from 20 yards after being played through by Fred.
Roma fought back; the Serie A side taking the lead through second half goals from Edin Dzeko and Bryan Cristante.
Cavani headed United level before Nicola Zalweski's deflected strike restored Roma's lead in the 83rd minute.
David de Gea proved to be United’s best player on night with a string of instrumental saves first from Gianluca Mancini in the early stages of the half. The Spanish international was forced to deny Lorenzo Pellegrini from six yards with a firm block at the near post. The best save of the bunch came in the second half, as, within a minute a Roma going 2-1 up, de Gea pulled off a superb double save first from Dzeko, then from Pedro to prevent Roma from scoring a third as the pressure was beginning to pile up on United and on another night if those goals went in the complex of the game could have taken a different turn.
United now March onto their first major final under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer where they will meet Villarreal - who eliminated Arsenal on aggregate after a 0-0 draw at the Emirates - on Wednesday May 26th in Poland.
Full Match details
Manchester United were looking to make it to another major European final since winning the Europa League crown in 2017 when Jose Mourinho was at the helm.
Roma, who entered the match four goals behind on aggregate, were hoping for another famous night at the Stadio Olimpico. The Serie A sided started the brighter of the two as they controlled the majority of the possession in the opening stage and went close to opening the scoring in the fourth minute, after Pellegrini's free-kick found it way to Mancini, who forced David De Gea into an early save. The replay, however, showed that Mancini handled the ball prior to the save.
Former Manchester United defender Chris Smalling - who was part of the 2017 triumph over Ajax - was involved in the build up for the next Roma chance after flicking on Pellegrini’s corner towards the back post to the unmarked Henrikh Mkhitaryan who headed his effort into the side netting from just four yards out.
Despite all the early pressure the Italian side put on United, it was the visitors from England who opened the scoring in the 39th minute. Cavani was put through on goal after United broke on the counter attack, with Fred picking out the Uruguay with a well-timed pass. The Uruguayan unleashed a wicked strike from 20 yards past Antonio Mirante.
There was also a chance for Bruno Fernandes to get on the score sheet for a second week in a row after Cavani's first-time lay off, who curled a shot from 18 yards but inches wide of the far post.
With a 1-0 lead (7-2 on aggregate) at half-time, the road to Gdansk was getting ever so close for United, baring an incredible second half comeback from Roma.
The Italian side had a brace of goals to celebrate in a matter of minutes. Firstly, Edin Dzeko headed home for a levelling goal on the night. The Bosnian was quickest to react to Pedro’s volley towards the back of the goal to plant a firm header from close range past a static de Gea. The tie then got interesting when Cristante gave the host the lead with a crisp fire shot from 20 yards across De Gea who could only watch the ball find its way into the far corner.
With a new hope of energy, de Gea was then forced to pull off two key double saves from point blank range to deny Dzeko and Pedro from scoring. The Spanish 'keeper, serving his side nobly, also denied Peres from scoring from just a yard out after Mkhitaryan's initial flicked effort.
The Roma wave was finally extinguished after Cavani's second goal of the game. The veteran striker timed his run to perfection before heading Fernandes' brilliant cross into the net from eight yards out.
With the game now truly put to bed, Roma went in search for another lead goal to give them a win on the night. The game's fifth goal ultimately came in the 83rd minute after Zalewski's vicious volley toward goal, which deflected off Alex Telles and through the legs of de Gea.
The victory on the night went to Roma but it is United who march onto their eighth major European final and a first under Solskjaer where they will face Uni Emery's Villarreal in on May 26th.