MATCH REPORT: AS ROMA VS MANCHESTER UNITED- AS THE PENDULUM SWINGS AND THE ROMANS AVENGE, MANCHESTER UNITED LOSE THE BATTLE BUT WIN THE WAR
In the comfort of their home at the Stadio Olympico Roma dazzled through the night and ran victorious, but the uphill task to miraculously transform the tie proved a mountain too high to climb.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer broke his semifinal jinx to lead Manchester to the final of the Europa League where they will face Unai Emery’s Villareal who saw out a goalless draw to avoid an all English Final on both fronts.
It was a rollicking performance by Roma who showed great spirit to challenge a complacent and lackluster Manchester United but the 6-2 first leg deficit proved to be too much for the Italian giants. Here are our four talking points from the match –
Roma started off proceedings well aware that they had to find an early goal if they had to breathe any sort of life into the tie. The Romans threw the kitchen floor at United trying to fork out some early reprieve. In the third minute, Mancini found himself clear in the United box, as the ball dropped for him, he attempted a scissor kick from close range however de Gea did splendidly to keep it out.
As has become routine with Solskaer’s outfit, the Red Devils began very sluggishly and failed to string more than a handful of passes together. United remained complacent allowing Roma to bring the attack to them as the Giallorossi continued to threaten the United goal. De Gea was certainly the busier of the two goalkeepers.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) May 6, 2021
United under no pressure, stuck to their plan of playing on the counter, attempting to initiate their attacks through Cavani. The Uruguayan had a couple of big chances to put the game to bed as Antonio Mirante denied him twice.
Roma’s worst fears of playing a high line came in the 39th minute. Fernandes sent Fred on his way with a delicate flick, the Brazillian played Cavani through, in a one-on-one with Antonio Mirante, who made no mistake this time and smashed the ball into the net to deliver the sucker punch 5 minutes from half time. Game Set Match.
DE GEA’S MOMENT(S) IN THE SUN
The new number 2 between the sticks, is something that David de Gea has not been synonymous with during his time in Manchester. The Spaniard having lost his place in the Premier League to the homegrown Dean Henderson was the star of the evening. After a brilliant first half to avoid any hiccups.
David de Gea vs. Roma:
🔘 10 saves
🔘 9 from inside the box
A vintage performance. 🍷 pic.twitter.com/2D8z3ukItB
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) May 6, 2021
De Gea held fort in vintage style making three top-class saves in 4 minutes as Roma steamrolled the United defence after scoring two quickfire goals. Given the charge was on de Gea did brilliantly to deny the Romans the path to what could have been one of the great comebacks.
WHIFF OF THE UNTHINKABLE?
Old foe Edin Dzeko governed his troops to stare the tie in the face by equalising in the 57th minute. The Bosnian striker skimmed a header home from close range after getting on the end of a bouncing ball from Pedro who had fired the ball into the ground from the right.
— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) May 6, 2021
Three minutes later a mistake from Fred gifted Roma with possession as Christante scored a beauty from distance. The Roman revenge was on as the hosts down in the trenches all game bludgeoned the United post with three quick-fire chances. You best believe Solskjaer would have been wrestling with his defenders complacency only for De Gea to bail them out.
SEEING IT OUT
If the first leg was one-way traffic the second was clearly a pendulum of tides. Edinson Cavani the hero of the night drew the game level. The Uruguayan beat the Roma offside trap and ran into to meet a peach of a delivery from Bruno Fernandes. Cavani who scored seven goals from six games was shortly replaced.
🏆 Your 2021 #UELfinal!
As the clock ran down, the war was over but the battle wasn’t, Roma took the lead in the 83rd minute. Zalewski smashed the ball goalwards from a tight angle and the ball deflected off Alex Telles to roll past De Gea.
United looked far from a team that played with authority. The Red Devils superior quality and showcasing it in moments was the reason they were able to save face in a game that Roma was clearly the better side. Solskjaer will be hoping that his side does better than this in the final later this month.