I scored eleven goals in the semi-finals of the European League. Villarreal beat Arsenal 2-1, and Manchester United beat Roma, who suffered injuries, after trailing 2-1 6-2.
The deserved win over Arsenal, which was particularly disappointing in the first half, was an impressive win for coach Unai Emery. After succeeding Arsene Wenger Eternal at Arsenal in the summer of 2018, he was fired after less than a year and a half. With 2-1 he set a foundation to protect himself in his former club in the semifinals.
In Villarreal, the small town 60 kilometers north of Valencia, Emery is growing something successful. Villarreal still has very good prospects to reach places in the Europa League in the current tournament in Spain. When it comes to winning the European League as a coach, no one can fool the Spaniard. Before moving to Paris Saint-Germain, he won three consecutive victories with FC Sevilla in the European Junior (and future midsize) club competition three times in a row.
With the tight defeat, Arsenal, who Granit Shaka did not play in the left defense for the first time, came out very lightly. From the 50th minute, the Londoners played ten times after a yellow-red card against Daniel Ceballos. They outnumbered them and scored the away goal after 73 minutes thanks to a highly dubious missed penalty kick exploited by Ivorian Nicolas Pepe. Seven minutes later, the Villarreal player was disqualified after the second warning.
In the first half of the match at Old Trafford, Manchester United conceded two goals – twice what it had been in all previous knockout matches combined. The score was 1: 2. But in the second half, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side responded with five goals. Bruno Fernandez and Edinson Cavani emerged as two-time goalscorers. Most of the seven goals were worth watching. The exception was the penalty kick that Bruno Fernandes used to make it 4: 2, because it was difficult to determine what was wrong with the action in question.
Roma’s great misfortune was part of the match’s story. The Romans, who had already won away matches against Braga and Ajax Amsterdam in the knockout stage, were shaken early. In the first 37 minutes, coach Paulo Fonseca had to substitute three injured players: Jordan Ferretot, goalkeeper Pau Lopez and finally Leonardo Spinazzola. That way, Fonseca lost any other chance to switch during the game. Never before in the European League or UEFA Cup have three players on a team been injured before a break.
Manchester United-Roma 6: 2 (1: 2)
SR Del Cerro (ESP). – Tor: 9. Bruno Fernandez 1: 0. 15. Pellegrini (penalty of two hands) 1: 1. 34 – Gecko 1: 2. 48. Cavani 2: 2.64. Cavani 3: 2.70. Fernandez (Foulpenalty) 4 : 2. 75 – Pogba 5: 2. 86. Greenwood 6: 2.
Manchester United: De Gea. Wan Bisaka, Lindelof, Maguire and Shaw; Maktominay, Fred (83. Matic); Rashford (76. Greenwood), Bruno Fernandez (90. Mata), Pogba; Cavani.
Rome: Lopez (28 Meranti); Smalling Cristante Ibanez; Carsdorp, Diawara, Ferretot (5. Villar), Spinazola (37. Pires); Pellegrini, Chittargan; Dzico.
Notes: Manchester United excluding Marshall and Jones (both injured). Roma without Mancini (suspended), Pedro, Zaniolo and Calafiori (all injured). Ferretot, Lopez and Spinazola retired injured.
Villarreal-Arsenal 2: 1 (2: 0)
SR Soares Dias (POR). – Tore: 5. Trigueros 1: 0. 29. Biol 2: 0. 73. Pepe (Foulpenalty) 2: 1.
Villarreal: Rolly. Voith (70. Gaspar), Albiol, Pau Torres, Pedraza (81. Alberto Moreno); Parejo, Capoye, Triggeros (81. Gomez); Gerard Moreno, Alcacer (46. Coquelin), Chukwueze.
Arsenal: Leno. Chambers Holding, Pablo Marie, Shaka; Smith Row (95. Elney), Sibaios, Partie, Saka (85. Aubameyang); Odegaard (63. Martinelli), Pepe (95. Willian).
Comments: Villarreal without Ibora (injured). Arsenal without Lacazette (convalescence). 57. The yellow and red card against Ceballos (foul). 77 Yellow Red Card vs. Kabwe (foul).