Cool Cavani volley marks special milestone as Man Utd stroll into Europa League semi-finals
Edinson Cavani scored as Manchester United booked their place in the Europa League semi-finals after defeating Granada 4-0 on aggregate with a 2-0 second-leg win.
The Red Devils did the hard work in the first leg, scoring two goals and keeping a clean sheet.
However, they took quick strides to sealing their passage in Thursday’s second leg, with Edinson Cavani scoring inside 10 minutes.
Paul Pogba survived a potential red card scare, before the hosts completed the win in the second half.
United headed into the tie knowing that the first goal would practically seal progress to the last four.
As such, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was left beaming when Cavani netted after six minutes. Pogba leapt highest to head back to the Uruguayan, who struck a cool volley.
That was the striker’s 50th goal in UEFA competitions and Pogba’s third assist in four games – as many as in his previous 51 games.
Granada had a brief flurry of action shortly after the goal, driving forward and winning a corner. However, that was as good as it got in the first half for the Spaniards.
United continued to dominate, with Bruno Fernandes missing a smart volley of his own. Mason Greenwood and Kenedy then exchanged dull shots which drifted wide.
Indeed, Pogba’s actions aside from his assist made him a storied figure in the first half. He picked up a yellow card for an arm in the face of Granada captain German Sanchez.
Shortly after, he received his final warning for another altercation, forcing Solskjaer to replace him with Donny van de Beek at half time.
Van de Beek almost got on the scoresheet with a snapshot from outside the box. That opportunity came after Cavani found space to try and head into the corner, but the ball brushed off his shoulder.
Tuanzebe solid in rare Man Utd appearance
At the other end, Red Devils centre-back Axel Tuanzebe – who was making a rare appearance – did well to block Luis Suarez’s cross.
Granada continued to press forward, but their half-hearted efforts would ultimately be in vain.
Indeed, United were in their comfort zone and replaced Cavani and Fernandes with Daniel James and Juan Mata ahead of Sunday’s clash with Burnley. Youngsters Amad Diallo and Brandon Williams then came on to boost their Europa League credentials, as the hosts cruised into the semi-finals.
It looked as if United would complete a 3-0 aggregate win, but Jesus Vallejo’s own goal made it 4-0 overall.
From Alex Telles’ cross, Mata missed with a header attempt and the ball subsequently flashed off the defender into the net.