Manchester United suffered a bitter reverse in Copenhagen as Marcus Rashford was sent off.
Manchester United came from behind to defeat FC Copenhagen 3-4 on aggregate in the fourth leg of their UEFA Champions League Group A match of the 2023/24 season at Farken Stadium in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Monday (Sept. 9).
Rasmus Hoylund’s first-half brace put the hosts in front, but a Rashford sending-off left them two goals down at 2-2, and a Bruno Fernandes penalty in the second half put them back in front, but two late goals brought them to their knees.
After a much-criticized 1-0 theater win at home in the previous three games, thanks to goals from Harry Maguire and Andre Onana, United slipped to the bottom of the group with a bitter defeat away from home. Copenhagen, on the other hand, jumped to second place in the group with one win, one draw and two losses and four points.
The home team lined up in a 4-3-3. Camille Gravara got the goalkeeping gloves. Peter Jankersen, Dennis Babro, Kevin Dix, and Elias Yellert formed the back four. Lucas Lehracher, Rasmus Falk, and Diogo Goncalves made up the midfield. Mohamed Elneny, Viktor Claesson, and Elias Ashoury were the front three.
The visitors lined up in a 4-2-3-1. Andre Onana was in goal. Diogo Dalot, Jonny Evans, Harry Maguire, and Aaron Wan-Bissaka formed the back line. Christian Eriksen and Scott McTominay were in the midfield, while Alejandro Garnacho, Bruno Fernandez, and Marcus Rashford formed the second line. Up front, Rasmus Hojlund was the main striker.
United took the lead quickly. In the third minute of the first half, Hoyle broke the deadlock. Following a flanking play that led to Rashford Wan Bisaka, Wan Bisaka found McTominay, who penetrated the Hearth space. McTominay sent a low, quick cross to Hoylun on the other side, who rattled the post with just his foot. There were no home team tributes. Rasmus ran to the away end, where the United fans were seated, to celebrate.
In the ninth minute of the first half, there was a brief disturbance when a supporter carrying a banner with the Copenhagen emblem ran onto the field of play. Play resumed after about a minute.
United made one early substitution due to Evans’ injury. In the 13th minute of the first half, Evans complained of pain in his thigh and signaled that he was unable to continue, requesting a substitution. Raphael Varane came on to replace Evans, who walked off the field rather than being stretchered off. There was then a problem in the stands as well, prompting the medical team on the pitch to be called in. The game was stopped for about five minutes, and once the situation was cleared, play resumed.
United used excellent positioning and efficient forward pressure to keep Copenhagen at bay. When they won the ball, they quickly set the tempo by attacking from high up the pitch.
In the 21st minute, Bruno wowed with a perfect reverse transition pass to find Garnacho on the left flank. However, Garnacho was unable to overcome the pressure of two opposing defenders and lost the ball.
For the first time in a long time, Copenhagen advanced up the halfway line. Instead of dropping their line, they pulled it high and saw an opportunity. Moments later, a low early cross from Elionusi found Ashley, who looked to have a chance, but Onana was quick to make the catch.
United pulled one back. In the 28th minute of the first half, Hoilearn completed his hat-trick. In a Copenhagen attacking situation, Bruno played the ball forward after a good interception. Garnacho picked up the ball and dribbled into the box, but instead of connecting with the onrushing Hoilearn on the other side, he hit his shot. This choice actually led to a better chance. Gravara cleared the ball away, but it fell to the feet of the onrushing Hoilearn, who slotted the ball into the back of the net to make it 2-0.
With momentum in their favor, United continued to push Copenhagen. In the 29th minute, Hoylun’s shot was followed by a header from Maguire on a corner kick, which was saved by Gravara.
Copenhagen stayed high up the pitch instead of dropping their line, and in the 32nd minute, they pressed United down the right flank. After Onana broke up a buildup, Copenhagen tried to counterattack, but Baran cleared it away. They then tried to attack from the left flank, but this time Wan Bissaka made the tackle. In the 35th minute, there was a nice penetrating pass from the midfield, but it didn’t connect properly and was cleared off the line.
As Copenhagen continued to attack, United were on the counterattack again. After Rashford cleared the ball off the line, Bruno crossed for Hoyle. He took one defender with him and fired a left-footed shot. It was slightly deflected but headed for the corner of the net and narrowly missed the side netting.
To make matters worse for United, video assistant referee (VAR) confirmed that Rashford had stepped on the inside of an opponent’s ankle as he cut out the ball before Hoyle’s shot. The referee confirmed this and ordered a straight red card, which meant Rashford was off after 43 minutes. A free-kick was awarded to Copenhagen and United were in trouble. Copenhagen’s sharp free kick hit the top of the net. United narrowly avoided a goal.
With the numerical advantage, Copenhagen crawled back into the game. In the 45th minute, Elionusi finished off a simple passing play. Jankersen’s long cross from the right flank was flicked into the box by Goncalves, and Eleonusi, waiting in the center, ripped a nonstop shot across the face of goal. Onana got a hand to it but was unable to stop it.
Due to the length of the stoppage, 13 minutes of extra time were awarded. Both teams were pushing hard for a goal. United’s attack didn’t work, but Copenhagen’s did. A handball foul on Maguire led to a penalty kick opportunity. Gonsalves stepped up to the spot kick and fooled Onana perfectly to tie the game at 2-2. The first half ended 2-2.레모나토토 도메인
Copenhagen led in shots 53-47 and 7-5. However, the shots on goal were more in United’s favor with five to Copenhagen’s three.
At the start of the second half, United took Eriksen off and brought on Sofiane Amrabat to add depth in the middle. The start of the second half was a search-and-rescue affair. United opened the scoring. Garnacho broke down the left flank and fired a shot that hit the post. Then Copenhagen went on the attack. They sent in a cross from the left flank, which was met with a header. However, it wasn’t strong enough and Onana easily caught it.
With one less man, United didn’t try to force the issue. They wanted to take their time and create as many chances as possible. Copenhagen also played calmly, unlike in the first half when they were on the front foot.
In the 16th minute of the second half, Copenhagen had their first chance in a long time. They took advantage of the right flank. A quick pass distracted the United defense. However, he was unable to capitalize as his shot bounced off a teammate. Falk’s subsequent penetrating pass was also ruled offside. Two minutes later, he went straight for a volley after the ball was cleared by the United defense, but it was high.
Shortly after, Copenhagen made a substitution. They brought off Elionusi and brought on Rudy Vardy. Vardy immediately tried to shoot, cutting the ball off himself and dribbling to the penalty arc before striking with his left foot. But it went wide of the side netting.
United had a golden opportunity. In the 21st minute of the second half, Copenhagen were adjudged to have committed a handball in the box. Maguire’s header hit Leracher’s arm. The referee checked VAR and awarded a penalty kick. Leracher protested that Baran had committed a pushing foul, but it was not accepted. Captain Bruno stepped up to take the spot kick and found the back of the net with a cannonball into the top left corner of the net. United were back in front, 3-2.
Since signing last summer, Hoilearn has come under fire for his “colorless” performances in the Premier League.
In particular, his shots per 90 minutes ranked 100th in the Premier League. He is averaging 1.7 shots per 90 minutes. That’s well below the 5.7 shots per 90 minutes of the top-ranked Liverpool striker, Darwin Núñez.
These numbers “stunned” Sky Sports pundits Daniel Sturridge and Jamie Carragher, who played side-by-side for Liverpool in the Premier League. They highlighted Hoyun’s stats on the network’s Monday Night Football program and analyzed the reasons for his struggles.
Sturridge, who like Hoilett comes from a striker’s background, defended Hoilett by saying, “The reason he’s taking so few shots is because United as a whole aren’t creating chances for him,” and then argued that “the reason he’s taking so few shots is because we have Marcus Rashford on the left wing.”
Rashford is a player who likes to cut in from the left and shoot directly at goal. When he does get a chance, he’s more likely to finish it off himself rather than letting Hoyle do the work, which means that Hoyle is far less likely to get a shot off on United’s attacking chances. Additionally, the Red Devils aren’t generating many chances themselves at the moment.
However, this is only true in the Premier League. In the Champions League group stage, where the quality of opposition is actually lower than in the Premier League, Hoyle has been doing just fine. He currently has five goals.
Copenhagen made a change to their lineup, dropping Ankersen and Goncalves in favor of Christian Sørensen and Ori Oskarsson. Copenhagen gained more possession. Achoury drove the United defense around in the box and created space. However, he was unable to capitalize.
Copenhagen made another change, bringing on Jordan Larsson and Nicolai Boilissen for Achoury and Babro. In the chaos of the substitutions, United took the lead on the counterattack. Bruno’s cut-back was met by McTominay, but his timing was off. McTominay’s shot sailed high and wide of the goal. In the 36th minute, United rattled the net from a corner kick, but the goal was disallowed for a goalkeeping foul.
Copenhagen equalized again. In the 38th minute, Polk’s cross was met by Leracher, who beat Dalot to the ball in front of goal with just his feet.