Match report as Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes hand Man Utd first-leg advantage over Granada in Europa League quarter-finals; Harry Maguire, Scott McTominay, and Luke Shaw ruled out of the second leg at Old Trafford after picking up booking suspensions.
Manchester United assumed control of their Europa League quarter-final against Granada as goals from Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes secured a 2-0 first-leg victory at Estadio Los Carmenes.
Rashford notched his eighth European goal of the season on 31 minutes with exquisite control and finish from Victor Lindelof’s pinpoint diagonal before Fernandes secured a two-goal cushion with a late penalty after he was fouled in the box by defender Yan Brice.
The streets were lined with supporters as the teams arrived at the stadium for what was arguably the biggest night in Granada’s history as they participated in a European quarter-final for the very first time, but despite drawing the returning David de Gea into a number of routine saves, the La Liga club rarely threatened United.
Advantage United after Rashford strike in Granada
Granada flew out of the traps but Manchester United’s main concern after the hosts’ blistering start had subsided was the fitness of Rashford, who having been passed fit enough to start looked to be in some discomfort and nursing an injury in the opening quarter of an hour.
United quickly assumed control of the contest, restricting Granada to the odd sight of goal. On-loan Chelsea forward Kenedy blazed a volley over from a tight angle and former Spurs striker Roberto Soldado lashed a shot into the side-netting, but from the next passage of play, the visitors got that crucial away goal.
- Jesus Vallejo and Carlos Neva returned as Granada made two changes to the side beaten by Villarreal in La Liga. Former Spurs striker Roberto Soldado, on-loan Man City midfielder Yangle Herrera, and on-loan Chelsea forward Kenedy started for Granada.
- David de Gea, Scott McTominay, and Daniel James returned as Man Utd made three changes from the weekend Premier League victory over Brighton.
Victor Lindelof’s sumptuous 70-yard diagonal was latched onto by Rashford, who produced a flawless first touch before allaying any lingering fitness concern with a composed finish past the on-rushing goalkeeper into the corner.
United switched off from a free-kick and nearly paid the price five minutes before the break, but the woodwork came to their rescue as on-loan Manchester City midfielder Yangel Herrera’s cross-shot cannoned off the post.
Scott McTominay and Luke Shaw picked up bookings in quick succession which will rule them out of next week’s return leg at Old Trafford for fouls on Antonio Puertas, but that was the only blow Granada could place on United before the break, with Kenedy’s volleying a crisp effort into the arms of David de Gea.
De Gea was called upon early in the second half to prevent another effort from Kenedy from swerving into the bottom corner before Harry Maguire fizzed a shot wide after shimmying his way into space in midfield.
Edinson Cavani replaced Rashford for the final 25 minutes as Solskjaer looked to secure a more handsome first-leg advantage.
Bruno Fernandes very nearly delivered a second away goal six minutes from time, only to be denied by the outstretched arm of Granada goalkeeper Rui Silva.
With the seconds ticking down, Granada would have settled for a one-goal deficit, but the size of their task increased in the final minute when Brice was adjudged to have struck Fernandes in the face in the area – and the Portuguese squeezed the penalty past Silva to leave United in the driving seat.