Paul Onuachu’s second half strike has given FC Midtjylland a deserved 2-1 victory over Manchester United in their Europa League Round of 32 first leg tie this evening.
Midtjylland had the game’s first real chance as Kian Hansen powered a header towards goal but a strong hand from Sergio Romero stopped the ball from going in. A dramatic minute in the match then saw Romero deny Vaclav Kadlec before Memphis Depay scrambled home to give Man United the advantage. However, United’s lead didn’t last long as Pione Sisto’s effort took a deflection to take it beyond Romero and in just before the break.
After the break, Jesse Lingard hit the crossbar when he volleyed Ander Herrera’s cross towards goal. Romero then produced another wonderful, flying save to keep out Onuachu’s header. However, substitute Onuachu eventually sealed the win for Midtjylland when he was allowed to turn before firing in.
Romero, handed a rare start after David de Gea injured himself in the warm up, had little time to prepare for the match mentally but he ended up being United’s standout performer, although that told you everything you needed to know about the contest. First of all, he pulled out a superb save to deny Hansen after 11 minutes played.
Diving low to his left, Romero showed wonderful athleticism and reflexes to keep the two sides on level terms early on. It seemed to give him confidence as Romero then blocked Kadlec’s effort seconds before United went up the other end and scored. With Midtjylland’s equaliser, Romero was unlucky; he would have saved it had the ball not took a deflection off Chris Smalling. Romero was excellent in the first half and carried on in the second. His superb save to stop Onuachu’s header was world-class, although he could do nothing to deny him a second time. On a personal level, Romero will be pleased with his performance but he should not have had so much to do.
The Dutchman was given an opportunity to impress in Denmark and he responded by grabbing United’s opening goal.
It was a scrappy one as Memphis forced the ball in from Lingard’s cross but the youngster has to start somewhere and he will not care how the ball went in. With Wayne Rooney injured, Memphis will have to step up and he gave himself a solid enough platform to build on.
Sisto’s strike for Midtjylland’s equaliser was a good one but United did themselves no favours beforehand as Michael Carrick lost possession cheaply and had a mix-up with Herrera. For the hosts’ second goal, it was baffling how Onuachu had so much time to turn before shooting.
United have had to contend with a defensive injury crisis as of late but that cannot be any excuse for what has been a shambles at the back.
Love, making his first start for the United first team, struggled to make an impact against Midtjylland following his cameo from the bench against Sunderland last week, picking up a cheap yellow card in the second half.
Unfortunately, it looks like the young Scot is not up to scratch, although there will still be time for him to prove his doubters wrong.
Louis van Gaal out
How many more times do United have to lose before the Dutchman is sacked? United were strong favourites before the clash but Midtjylland could have easily have won by more had it not been for Romero’s brilliance. Van Gaal has to go.