Man Utd gained a solid advantage over Granada with a 2-0 away win in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final.
Victor Lindelof capitalised on Granada’s switched-off backline to pick Marcus Rashford with a long-range ball. Like his equaliser against Brighton, Rashford’s finishing was on point again to give the visitors a well-deserved lead.
After going behind, the La Liga outfit adopted a more aggressive approach. However, the United defence didn’t seem to struggle much, allowing only Kenedy’s long-range efforts into David de Gea’s way.
Further, Granada were penalised by Bruno Fernandes from the spot in the 90th minute, after Yan Brice Eteki shoved the Portuguese inside his own penalty area.
1. European Cleansheet Hat-trick
To win a cup competition, defensive resilience is a must and the Red Devils are doing just that.
United scored two unanswered goals at Los Carmenes, ensuring a third straight cleansheet in the Europa League this season. Harry Maguire and company were equally solid in their side’s 4-0 and 1-0 win over Real Sociedad and AC Milan respectively.
2. Bruno’s Penalty Record
Bruno Fernandes is one of the best penalty takers in Europe, perhaps only bettered by his fellow countryman Cristiano Ronaldo.
The 26-year-old doubled United’s lead late in the game from 12 yards. However, Portuguese goalkeeper Rui Silva will be disappointed to not stop the penalty after guessing it right.
This was Fernandes’ 20th spot-kick since joining Manchester United, and he’s impressively managed to put 19 of those into back of the net.
3. Tie Still Not Over
In usual circumstances, a two away goal advantage would have more or less guaranteed United’s spot in the semi-finals of the Europa League. But they will be without Luke Shaw, Scott McTominay and Harry Maguire through suspension when they welcome Granada at Old Trafford for the second leg.
As such, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer might be forced to go with a more pragmatic approach against Diego Martínez’s men next week. Thus, the likes of Donny van de Beek and Amad Diallo – the duo usually expected to start in easier fixtures – could start another game on the bench.