News : Europa League semi-finals: Manchester United beat AS Roma, Arsenal FC lost to Villarreal
It has been 14 years since Manchester United made one of the most memorable Champions League evenings ever against AS Roma, United defeated Francesco Totti’s team 7-1 in the quarter-finals. The reunion did not end so clearly this time in the semi-final first leg of the Europa League. Manchester’s chances of reaching the final are still excellent: 6: 2 (1: 2) won the second in the Premier League against the seventh in Serie A. The hosts scored five goals after the break.
Outstanding actors were Edinson Cavani and Bruno Fernandes. Cavani scored the 2-2 (48th) and 3-2 (64th) goals, and he also prepared three goals. Fernandes scored Manchester’s first goal (9th) and the 4-2 (71./foul penalty). The other United goals go to Paul Pogba (75th after presentation by Fernandes) and Mason Greenwood (86th).
For the Roma it had looked at half-time as if the final was within reach. Lorenzo Pellegrini’s penalty kick (15th) and Edin Dzeko (34th) scored away goals for the Italians. But the break-in came and it was violent.
One explanation for this was probably the Roma’s unusual bad luck with injuries: they had to change three times in the first half due to injuries. Jordan Veretout, goalkeeper Pau López and Leonardo Spinazzola all caught it within the first 37 minutes, the TV picture, which showed how several AS players had to be treated in the stands, sometimes shaking their heads, looked as strange as it was bitter from the Roma perspective. So the other professionals had to get through the rest of the time, coach Paulo Fonseca was no longer allowed to change.
It is not known whether Unai Emery is a resentful person. He could feel a bit of satisfaction after his Villarreal FC beat Arsenal 2-1 (2-0) in the other semi-final first leg. The Gunners’ subsequent goal should have clouded his joy significantly.
Emery has been coach at Villarreal since last summer, before he was fired from the London club. Back in November 2019, Emery was eighth in the Premier League with Arsenal. That was not enough for the club, first replacing Emery with his assistant Frederik Ljungberg, and later with Mikel Arteta. However, things don’t go any better under this one: The Gunners are currently in tenth place in England.
Against Villarreal, the seventh in the table from La Liga, Arsenal went into the game as a favorite, the squad is a lot more expensive. Little of that was noticeable at first. Manuel Trigueros gave the Spaniards an early lead (5th), captain Raúl Albiol pushed the ball over the line after a corner to make it 2-0 (29th), and when Dani Ceballos had to leave the field with yellow and red (57th) .), Arsenal seemed to be threatened with extinction. Then Nicolas Pépé converted a flattering penalty to make it 2-1 (73rd). Shortly afterwards, Villarreal’s Étienne Capoue also saw yellow-red (80th).
The second leg will take place next Thursday, the final will be played in Gdansk on May 26th.