Erik ten Hag was saved by Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial as Manchester United overcame a goal deficit to defeat Omonia in Europa League play. The former scored twice, and the latter scored an important goal to help the Red Devils advance to victory.
With 82% possession, eight shots on goal, and 220 passes completed to Omonia’s 51, United completely dominated the first 20 minutes.
Ronaldo and Antony came the closest to scoring in the opening 45 minutes despite all of their pressure in and around Omonia’s box, but goalkeeper Fabinho denied them with outstanding saves.
Tyrell Malacia received the same fate tonight after he fumbled the ball in Omonia’s half, which resulted in a wonderful counterattacking goal from the home team. Tyrell Malacia was substituted at halftime in the 6-3 loss to Manchester City at the weekend. With United outnumbered, Bruno Felipe picked up the ball and raced. He then sent the ideal pass to Karim Ansarifard, who took a touch and fired a shot past De Get.
Rashford and Martial were brought in the second half and both players had an immediate impact, so Ten Hag made some adjustments of his own.
Rashford finished the game with two goals and an assist as Martial, who had been unable to score all night, finally managed to do it on the stroke of 63.
With five minutes left, Omonia launched a late comeback of their own thanks to Nikolas Panayiotou, who immediately answered Rashford’s second goal from a minute earlier. However, the Red Devils hung on to secure a crucial three points and advance to the knockout rounds.
The wait for Ronaldo’s 700th goal goes on.
Ten Hag claimed this past week that Ronaldo gets “p*ssed off when he’s not playing.” You could say that after tonight’s game, when he was unable to score, he will be even more irate. The Portuguese is one goal away from hitting the absurd 700 club goal milestone, but it was clear that it wouldn’t happen tonight against what was expected to be an easy opponent.
Although Fabinho made a good save on the 37-year-powerful old’s effort from a tight angle during the first half, Ronaldo continued to have opportunities miss as the game progressed.
He curled one a few inches wide of the post in the final seconds, curled one just inside the post from six yards out when it seemed tougher to miss, blasted a free kick over the bar, found the side netting. Although it seemed like the Portuguese full-back had a good chance to score himself, he passed up the opportunity to glide into an open goal to instead locate Ronaldo standing at the doorstep, setting up the opportunity.
Although some could argue that he was heading for goal himself, Ronaldo did make a clever pass that allowed Rashford to score his second. The former Real Madrid player was all smiles, albeit cheeky ones, but secretly he’ll be disappointed that he didn’t hit the 700 milestone and make a point to Ten Hag that he shouldn’t have been left out of playing against City.
Martial and Rashford forming a team
Rashford has already matched his goal total from last season, which is a good sign that he is going back to his best. It could be related to the upcoming World Cup or a fresh start under new management. Whatever it is, Rashford appears eager to make a statement. When Martial joined the aggressive front line, the England forward became the center of attention and the engine that kept things moving up front. He occasionally hooked up well with Ronaldo.
Though playing on the left side of the field comes more naturally to me, Rashford admitted that he enjoys playing both positions and contributing to the squad. “If we have injuries, you never know when you might be needed to play,” the coach said.
Martial, who scored another goal tonight off the bench after scoring two versus City over the weekend, also received praise from him. He has long been a crucial member of our team, according to Rashford. “He is an incredible player when he is content and at his best. He has been hurt for a longer period of time than I have, so it is nice for him to play and have an influence.”
Jadon Sancho was largely invisible during his first-half debut before being yanked off at halftime, which will make Ten Hag rethink his team choices in the future.
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