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AS Roma 3-2 Manchester United: 5 Hits and Flops as Red Devils sail to UEL final despite nightmare in Rome | UEFA Europa League 2020/21

AS Roma v Manchester United - UEFA Europa League Semi Final: Leg Two
AS Roma v Manchester United - UEFA Europa League Semi Final: Leg Two
Sai Teja
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Manchester United played out an entertaining five-goal thriller at the Stadio Olimpico and sealed their spot in the UEFA Europa League final. Despite ultimately being beaten 3-2 by a spirited AS Roma side on the night, the Red Devils got past the Giallorossi with an aggregate score of 8-5.

Edinson Cavani continued his fine form from the reverse fixture and netted the opener in the first half after smashing the ball in from range. His goal was possibly the only real highlight for Manchester United in the first half as they were generally sluggish and conceded a handful of big chances to the hosts.

Cavani missed another great chance from close range, as did Bruno Fernandes after being set up by the Uruguayan near the edge of the area.

The game sparked to life in the second 45 as Roma turned up the heat and put the Red Devils to the sword with waves of attacks. They got back into the game after Pedro's scuffed shot on the volley found its way to Edin Dzeko, who was just a few yards away from goal, and headed the ball past David de Gea.

Bryan Cristante gave the Romans the lead just three minutes later as he dispatched the ball with a surreal strike into the top-left corner after Fred lost the ball in a dangerous area. Cristante's goal was canceled out by another Cavani goal for Manchester United as the 34-year-old headed the ball in from a Bruno Fernandes cross.

However, with less than ten minutes of regulation time left on the clock, Roma teenager Nicola Zalewski came on to score the eventual winner on his European debut for the Giallorossi. The 19-year-old's strike from close range found the back of the net after a heavy deflection off Alex Telles to give Paulo Fonseca's side the win.

It was a great way for the Portuguese coach to bow out of European football with Roma as he is set to be replaced by former Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho next season. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side will now have their eyes on the final where they're set to come up against Unai Emery's Villarreal.

On that note, here are 5 hits and flops from the game.


Hit: Lorenzo Pellegrini | AS Roma

AS Roma v Manchester United - UEFA Europa League Semi Final: Leg Two
AS Roma v Manchester United - UEFA Europa League Semi Final: Leg Two

Roma captain Lorenzo Pellegrini gave his side the equaliser at Old Trafford, and although he failed to score in Rome, he was arguably one of the best players for the hosts against Manchester United. The Italian was one of their biggest creative threats on the night alongside Pedro and Mkhitaryan and created the second goal after nicking the ball off Fred.

The 24-year-old created three chances, registered three tackles, attempted 11 crosses, won two fouls, completed two take-ons, and won seven out of his 11 duels — a figure bettered only by Roger Ibanez's eight. Overall, it was a great display from Pellegrini as he contributed heavily to the side on both the offence and defence.


Flop: Fred | Manchester United

AS Roma v Manchester United - UEFA Europa League Semi Final: Leg Two
AS Roma v Manchester United - UEFA Europa League Semi Final: Leg Two

Starting in a midfield pivot with Paul Pogba, the Brazilian had a bit more responsibility to carry out in the middle for Manchester United than he usually does, and he was far from his best. Fred was erratic on the ball, and despite registering an assist for the opener, he was constantly caught out of position and failed to screen his backline well enough on the night.

The worst moment of his game was during the second half as Fred was directly at fault for the second goal they conceded. After receiving the ball on the edge of the area in his own half, the Brazilian tried to pull off a skill move to get out of the situation but lost the ball cheaply, allowing Pellegrini to set up Bryan Cristante for the go-ahead goal. Fred has been a liability a few times this season, such as his poor display against Leicester City recently, and he wasn't at his best in Rome.


Also read: Top 5 left-footed centre-backs in world football

Hit: Edinson Cavani | Manchester United

Cavani ran riot against Roma in the first leg and continued to do so in Italy, adding two more goals to his tally for the season. He scored the opener with a rifled finish past a hapless Antonio Mirante on 39 minutes after being released by Fred, who spotted his run in behind. It was an incredible finish from outside the box which made up for the poor chance he spurned earlier on, one that Cavani would've generally been expected to bury.

When Roma fought back into the game in the second half, the 34-year-old bailed out his side out once again with a superb equaliser. Bruno Fernandes received the ball to look up and spot Cavani's angled run at the far post, and the Uruguayan ghosted in behind to meet the midfielder's cross and arrow the ball into the net with a header. It was a brilliant display from the veteran striker, who ended the tie with four goals and two assists.


Flop: Alex Telles | Manchester United

AS Roma v Manchester United - UEFA Europa League Semi Final: Leg Two
AS Roma v Manchester United - UEFA Europa League Semi Final: Leg Two

Alex Telles hasn't had the greatest of seasons since moving to Manchester United in the summer, and while he's been serviceable as a deputy to Luke Shaw, the Brazilian had a poor outing in Rome. Telles came on at half-time in place of Shaw and failed to cope with Roma's second-half charge.

Pedro proved too much to handle for Telles as the Spaniard, who had a relatively quiet first half, had a lot of joy on the Brazilian's flank. Roma's equaliser and winner both came from his side of the pitch, and Telles couldn't do well enough to react in time and prevent either of them. He was eventually credited with an own goal that decided the result of the game.


Hit: David de Gea | Manchester United

AS Roma v Manchester United - UEFA Europa League Semi Final: Leg Two
AS Roma v Manchester United - UEFA Europa League Semi Final: Leg Two

There's been a lot of talk around David de Gea's long-term future at the club after being dethroned as the club's first-choice keeper. The Spaniard was selected to start for only the fourth time since the end of February, and he delivered a stunning display against the Romans to keep Manchester United in the game.

De Gea rolled back the years with a handful of superb saves across the 90 minutes. This included an outstanding reflex double save in the second half, which was reminiscent of his heroics from the 2017/18 campaign for Manchester United. Overall, he made ten saves against Roma — the third highest number of saves he's made in a game for United — with nine of them coming from within the box.

It was a vintage display from David de Gea at the Stadio Olimpico, who was their best player on the night, and he single-handedly prevented the hosts from doing further damage to the scoreline.


Also read: 5 Players who can replace Nemanja Matic at Manchester United

Edited by Sai Teja
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