Manchester United travelled to Denmark to face FC Midtjylland in their opening tie of the Europa League knockout stages. The visitors struck early thanks to Memphis Depay, but once again showed that they cannot hold a lead, falling 2-1 to the Danes thanks to a brilliant finish by substitute for Ebere Paul Onuachu.
Another injury concern hits United
During pre-game warm-up, David de Gea suffered a knee injury. After tests, it was confirmed he was unfit to play, and that Sergio Romero would be the man in net for the Red Devils.
The injury pile is adding up for United who are already without Wayne Rooney for two months thanks to a knee ligament issue, and Matteo Darmian who dislocated his shoulder and is out for several weeks. It was later confirmed that the Spanish 'keeper was alright but will undergo further tests.
United start lively
Outside of a threat in the 12th minute from the Danes, it was all United in the first half an hour. A corner was whipped in for Kian Hansen to get his head to, but Romero stood up to the task. Ten minutes later, Juan Mata whipped in a corner which Chris Smalling met but did not head towards goal. Instead, he whipped it across the face of goal, with no one there to pick it up at the back post.
Not too long after the wasted opportunity, Anthony Martial was looking for a penalty after Kian’s heavy tackle on the young Frenchman, but the referee was having none of it, awarding a goal kick.
Daley Blind was getting forward often and at 36 minutes, sent in a lovely ball for Martial. But the Frenchman must have lost sight of the ball for a second, with a poor headed effort at goal as a result.
Depay strikes the visitors in front
Václav Kadlec was through on goal and had a teammate running alongside him. The Czech striker decided to go at it alone instead of setting up his teammate for the all but guaranteed goal, and it was a poor decision to say the least as Romero was up to the task again.
Less than a minute after nearly conceding, United found themselves ahead thanks to Depay. The Dutchman acrobatically controlled Jesse Lingard’s pass and sent a bouncing shot right past Mikkel Andersen.
Hosts level right before half time
United looked in control right before the half, leading 1-0. However, Michael Carrick had a misplaced ball picked off in their own half by Pione Sisto. The Norwegian took on the defence and finished it off at the near post after cutting the ball back onto his right foot as the Wolves leveled the match at one apiece.
Both teams go close around the hour mark before Onuachu delivers the stunning blow
Just a few minutes before the hour mark hit, Ander Herrera beautifully set up Lingard. The Englishman took the volley and struck it well, hitting it off the bar. Now a couple of minutes after the hour mark, Romero provided United with a sublime save to keep it level. Onuachu, who came on for Martin Pusic, sent a header back towards the corner where it was delivered. However, Romero halted his momentum, diving back to his left and getting a strong hand to it to keep it level.
As the game grew, the hosts looked much more comfortable as they continued to attack. They finally got their breakthrough through Onuachu, 13 minutes from time. Mata went in for a tackle, but it was poor to say the least as the Nigerian kept possession in the box and fired the Midtjylland to the lead with a fantastic finish to his near post.
Not much was left as United were poor in trying to level the game. The Wolves held onto complete the 2-1 win as they now hold the advantage heading into next week’s showdown at Old Trafford.