May 11, 2021

LIVE: Manchester United vs Roma

E. Cavani

Goal

Manchester United

64′ Goal Edinson Roberto Cavani Gómez

62′ Roma win two corners in a row but aren’t able to do anything with them. That proves costly for them because…

C. Smalling

Yellow Card

Roma

61′ Smalling is the next player to get a yellow card for catching Fernandes from behind. This has been an absorbing game, you have to say.

60′ McTominay just about prevents Mkhitaryan from reaching a direct Roma pass. He was the last man so he needed to get the challenge right. Smalling fired high and wide from Dzeko’s pass shortly beforehand.

59′ Roma’s raiding Dutch wing-back Karsdorp plays a wonderful slide-rule pass for Pellegrini who tries to find Dzeko. Maguire does enough to put the ex-City striker off.

58′ Karsdorp plays into United’s box first-time and McTominay’s clearance comes off his knee. It’ll be a Roma corner. McTominay is the player to get it away for United.

56′ United come on the attack again. Pogba dinks to McTominay and the Scot is entitled to shoot from the left of the box but instead rolls across goal to Smalling. Roma breathe a sigh of relief as McTominay clambers up for a follow-up cross and fouls the ex-United man.

55′ Pellegrini clears United’s corner. Meanwhile, in the other semi-final first leg, Arsenal are not only 2-0 down to Villarreal but they’re also down to 10 men.

54′ Diawara gives the ball away in midfield and Fernandes swings in a tantalising cross for Rashford. Ibanez gets his head to it first to hand United a corner.

53′ United are starting to find their groove. Shaw reaches the byline and cuts back for Cavani who leans back and fires over.

P. Pogba

Yellow Card

Manchester United

51′ Pogba quickly follows Villar into the book for accidentally catching Mirante in the face with his hand while racing for a loose ball. It’s a harsh one.

Gonzalo Villar

Yellow Card

Roma

50′ The substitute Villar picks up the game’s first yellow card for a poor challenge on Pogba.

Bruno Fernandes

Assist

Manchester United

48′ That was a lightning transition by United in what has been a rather open game. Fernandes only had to make an easy pass to Cavani and Cavani did the rest.

E. Cavani

Goal

Manchester United

48′ GOAL! MANCHESTER UNITED 2-2 ROMA! Cavani pulls United level with a brilliant finish! No sooner has a Roma attack broken down than Fernandes finds Cavani with a pass into the box. Cavani finds the far top corner with the inside of his foot.

46′ United still look a little nervy as de Gea plays a clearance straight to Dzeko. Luckily for the Spaniard Dzeko isn’t alert and the ball bounces out for a goal-kick.

45′ United get the second half going. It’s a little surprising that Solskjaer hasn’t made any changes at half-time.

Roma have become the first team to make three substitutions in the first half of a Europa League game. To their credit, the Italians have held firm and resisted United for the most part, scoring with the two shots they’ve had. Solskjaer will want his team to play with greater pace in the second half in the hope that Roma eventually tire.

Despite all their fitness problems Roma are looking confident so far. United took an early lead through a sumptuous goal from Fernandes but were quickly pegged back by Pellegrini after Pogba gave away a penalty. Pellegrini then set up Dzeko to put Roma ahead. There should be more goals in this one.

45′ + 5′ HALF-TIME: MANCHESTER UNITED 1-2 ROMA

45′ + 5′ The corner comes in and McTominay’s header sails over. That’s all for now!

45′ + 4′ United nearly equalise on the brink of half-time as Roma almost self-destruct! Cavani latches onto a square pass across goal and Mirante rushes out to save from the Uruguayan. Cavani ges a second bite of the cherry but again his shot is blocked. Rashford forces the ball out for a corner.

45′ + 4′ Rashford tries to find Fernandes with a first-time cross into the box from deep. It’s too close to Mirante.

45′ + 2′ McTominay intercepts in the centre of the park and sends United on their way forward. Fred finds room and passes to Rashford who can’t get a shot away. United rebuild and Mirante grabs the loose ball.

45′ There’ll be a minimum of five minutes added on at the end of this half due to all of Roma’s injury woes.

44′ The flag goes up against Cavani who has quite clearly strayed offside. Maguire clips Roma’s captain Pellegrini from behind and hands the visitors a free-kick.

43′ United aren’t playing with any real intensity at the moment. They’re not causing Roma issues as a result.

41′ Rashford tries to slip Cavani into the penalty area. Cavani can’t get the ball out of his feet and Cristante makes a hurried clearance.

39′ United are having the bulk of possession but they’re finding it hard to break Roma down now. Fernandes and Pogba have swapped positions for the time being.

Bruno Peres

L. Spinazzola

Roma

37′ Yep, Spinazzola can’t carry on either. That’s a loss for Roma as the left wing-back had started the game strongly for them. The Brazilian Peres slots in.

36′ Now Spinazzola is having difficulties. Roma might have to make their third injury-related substitution in the first half alone. This is ludicrous.

35′ Roma will be delighted to have turned things around given the unfortunate start they’ve had to this game. Mkhitaryan’s caught offside from Pellegrini’s throughball.

L. Pellegrini

Assist

Roma

34′ That goal was all about Mkhitaryan’s pass to Pellegrini. It took all United’s defenders out of the game. Pellegrini’s resulting cross was an easy one.

E. Džeko

Goal

Roma

33′ GOAL! MANCHESTER UNITED 1-2 ROMA! Roma strike again! Spinazzola goes on a mazy run down the left and passes inside. Mkhitaryan plays a clever reverse pass to Pellegrini in the box and Pellegrini squares it to Dzeko who taps in at close range!

32′ United win a free-kick to the left of Roma’s box. Roma defend Fernandes’ ball in well as Cristante heads it away at the near post.

30′ McTominay busts a gut to reach Rashford’s pass towards the byline but Spinazzola shepherds it out for a Roma goal-kick.

29′ Roma haven’t gotten forward often but look dangerous when they do. Karsdorp fizzes in a low cross and Maguire makes a timely clearance with Dzeko lurking behind him in the middle.

A. Mirante

Pau López

Roma

28′ The 37-year-old goalkeeper Mirante comes on in place of Lopez. Roma have lost two players to injury in the opening half hour.

27′ Roma’s luck doesn’t seem to be in. It looks like Lopez damaged his left shoulder making the save. Lopez seems reluctant to come off but the physios are having their way. He’ll have to go off too.

25′ Mkhitaryan gives the ball away and United try to capitalise immediately! Lopez dives to his left to make a fingertip save from Pogba’s shot from range. Wan-Bissaka’s follow-up cross is blocked by Spinazzola.

24′ Rashford drives inside from the right and lays off to Fernandes. Fernandes takes a touch inside the D and drags his shot wide of the left-hand post.

22′ Fernandes swishes his right foot and sends the free-kick dipping over the crossbar. It wasn’t one of his best efforts, to be honest.

21′ Ibanez climbs all over the back of Rashford in an aerial challenge and gives United a free-kick in a dangerous position 25 yards out.

20′ Pogba shows his strength to ping a pass out to Rashford on the right. Spinazzola and Mkhitaryan combine to stop Rashford from getting any further forward.

18′ United earn a free-kick as Diawara unfairly blocks McTominay. Fernandes sends an early ball into the box. Lopez claims it before Cavani can get to it.

16′ Both teams have scored with their first shots of the game. Let’s hope this tie continues in this vein.

L. Pellegrini

Penalty Goal

Roma

15′ GOAL! MANCHESTER UNITED 1-1 ROMA! Pellegrini steps up and smashes the penalty kick into the left-hand side of the goal. De Gea had no chance of keeping that out. Roma weren’t behind for long!

13′ PENALTY FOR ROMA! Karsdorp gallops down the right and slides to reach the ball inside the box. Pogba also slides in to meet it and accidentally blocks the cross with his arm. The referee points immediately to the spot. What an opening to this game!

12′ Since making his debut in the Europa League in February 2018, Fernandes has been directly involved in 27 goals in the competition now, more than any other player. The Portugal midfielder is imperious at this level.

11′ United go looking for a second goal straight away, forcing two corners in a row down their right. Roma get rid of both.

E. Cavani

Assist

Manchester United

10′ That was a lovely goal all round for United, who’ve made a strong start to this game Cavani’s hold-up play to create it was immaculate.

Bruno Fernandes

Goal

Manchester United

9′ GOAL! MANCHESTER UNITED 1-0 ROMA! United take an early lead with a beautiful goal! Pogba drifts inside from his left wing post and pops a pass to Cavani. Cavani lays off for the onrushing Fernandes who lifts the ball over Lopez for his 25th goal of the season.

7′ Mkhitaryan, another former United player, looks for the overlap down the left but Spinazzola isn’t on his wavelength. Fernandes fizzes in a cross from out wide and Roma deal with it easily enough. 

Gonzalo Villar

J. Veretout

Roma

5′ Veretout trudges off. He understandably looks forlorn. The 23-year-old Spanish midfielder Villar is his replacement for Roma.

4′ Veretout ventures back on but it looks like he’ll be unable to carry on. United construct their first attack and Smalling punts the ball away from danger.

2′ Veretout bursts towards United’s corner flag and pulls up to kick the ball out. It looks like the ex-Aston Villa man might have tweaked his hamstring. He’s receiving treatment for now.

1′ The referee Carlos del Cerro Grande blows his whistle and Roma get this game underway!

The teams are out on the pitch in Manchester. United are in their traditional red shirts and black shorts. Roma are wearing their all-white away strip. The two captains Maguire and Pellegrini share pleasantries.

This is the seventh meeting between United and Roma in European competition with United losing just one of the last six. Roma have lost all three of their previous visits to Old Trafford, going down famously 7-1 in 2007 and 1-0 on their last visit here in 2008, both in the Champions League. They haven’t won away to an English side since 2001. Is now their time?

Solskjaer makes just three changes to the United side that drew 0-0 with Leeds in the Premier League last time out. De Gea replaces Henderson in goal, while Pogba starts on the left of midfield. Cavani starts up front. There are seven changes to Roma’s starting 11 from their 3-2 defeat to Cagliari in Serie A. One of the constants is ex-United man Smalling, who makes his 50th start for the Italians.

SUBS: Marash Kumbulla, Gonzalo Villar, Riccardo Ciervo, Davide Santon, Carles Perez, Borja Mayoral, Ebrima Darboe, Antonio Mirante, Bruno Peres, Daniel Fuzato.

ROMA (3-4-3): Pau Lopez; Chris Smalling, Bryan Cristante, Ibanez; Rick Karsdorp, Amadou Diawara, Jordan Veretout, Leonardo Spinazzola; Lorenzo Pellegrini (c), Edin Dzeko, Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

SUBS: Juan Mata, Eric Bailly, Axel Tuanzebe, Dean Henderson, Mason Greenwood, Lee Grant, Alex Telles, Daniel James, Amad Diallo Traore, Donny van de Beek, Nemanja Matic, Brandon Williams.

MANCHESTER UNITED (4-2-3-1): David de Gea; Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire (c), Luke Shaw; Scott McTominay, Fred; Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba; Edinson Cavani.

While United won this trophy as recently as 2016-17, Roma will believe they can make it to their first European final since 1990-91 after edging out Ajax in the last round. Paulo Fonseca’s men have won nine Europa League games this season, as many as they did in 1990-91 which ended in defeat to their compatriots Inter. A tenth victory here would go a long way towards making their European dreams a reality.

Man United are just two games away from the Europa League final in Gdansk where they’ll face Villarreal or Arsenal. Having made light work of Granada in the quarter-finals, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men will be confident of making a strong start to this semi-final here at Old Trafford. They haven’t lost at home at this stage of a European competition since April 1997.

Hello! Welcome to our live text commentary of this UEFA Europa League semi-final first leg between Manchester United and Roma at Old Trafford.