Tuesday, November 30, 2021

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Europa League: Man United crush Roma 6-2, Villarreal edge Arsenal

Bruno Fernandes and Edinson Cavani each bagged a brace as Manchester United thrashed an injury-ravaged Roma 6-2 at Old Trafford to close in on the Europa League final.

The Red Devils are aiming to get to a final under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at the fifth time of asking after four semi-final defeats in the past two seasons.

And as things stand, only a second leg collapse will prevent them from facing Villarreal or Arsenal in Gdansk on May 26 after a stunning second-half performance.

The home side trailed at the break as Lorenzo Pellegrini’s penalty and Edin Dzeko’s tap-in cancelled out Fernandes’s early opener.

But the Italians lost three players to injury before the break and United took full advantage.

Two predatory finishes from Cavani turned the tie around before Fernandes also fired home from the spot.

Paul Pogba and Mason Greenwood rounded off the scoring as United became the first team to score six goals in a European semifinal since Real Madrid in 1964.

Elsewhere, Unai Emery won his big reunion with Arsenal but 2-1 might prove a small reward for Villarreal, who failed to take advantage of Dani Ceballos being sent off in a frantic Europa League semifinal first leg on Thursday.

Manu Trigueros and Raul Albiol gave Villarreal a dream start at La Ceramica and the tie looked to be slipping away from Arsenal when Ceballos was shown a second yellow card early in the second half.

But 10-man Arsenal rallied and grabbed an away goal when Nicolas Pepe converted a penalty in the 73rd minute, before Villarreal’s Etienne Capoue also saw red with 10 minutes left to play.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang might even have snatched a late equaliser for the visitors, his shot on the turn blocked by Geronimo Rulli

Under fire manager Mikel Arteta will be delighted his team are not just in the contest but in a healthy position too, with an away goal to take back to London next week.

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