Cavani at the double in crazy Roma game as Man Utd confirm Europa League final place

Date published: Thursday 6th May 2021 9:54 - James Marshment

Edinson Cavani, Man Utd celeb v Roma, Europa League

Manchester United will play Villarreal in the Europa League final on May 26 in Gdansk after a 3-2 defeat at Roma still saw them secure a crazy 8-5 win on aggregate in their semi-final showdown.

After destroying the Italians 6-2 in the first leg at Old Trafford last week, progress to the final looked almost certain. However, they did have to survive one or two scares – most notably in the second half – with David De Gea proving his undoubted quality. Ultimately they were indebted to two goals from Edinson Cavani as El Matador illustrated his importance again and served another timely reminder of his expert finishing prowess.

Roma made a bright start and could have opened the scoring in the first three minutes. Firstly Gianluca Mancini saw his close-range shot well saved by De Gea. From the resulting corner, the ball was flicked on to the back post. Former United man Henrikh Mkhitaryan, however, could only steer his header into the side-netting.

After a bit of midfield posturing, it was United who carved out the next meaningful chance. With Cavani through on goal, he opted to chip the ball over the advancing Antonio Mirante. However, the normally-reliable Uruguayan saw his lobbed effort bounce off the top of the crossbar and out.

Cavani then had another golden opportunity after being played in by Bruno Fernandes. However, his fierce drive was comfortably parried by Mirante.

Mkhitaryan then spurned another glorious chance to hand Roma a lifeline when he flashed a lunging header just wide. The chance was crafted by Edin Dzeko, who played Pedro in down the wing. His sumptuous cross picked out Mkhitaryan but the Armenian was just unable to stretch enough and make meaningful contact.

De Gea then had to be sharp to parry a fierce drive from Lorenzo Pellegrini from the angle.

However, Roma were made to rue those misses after an emphatic Cavani finish put United ahead. He was played in by a delightful Fred pass and he smashed a unstoppable finish into the net from just outside the area. It was his sixth goal in his last six appearances for United.

Mkhitaryan then spurned an immediate chance to level matters on the night for Roma. Fernandes, meanwhile, curled an effort just wide shortly before the half-time whistle.


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Roma give Man Utd a fright

Roma started the second period on the frontfoot. They saw an early penalty appeal waved away after the ball flicked off Harry Maguire’s boot and struck his hand.

De Gea then got down low to prevent a Pellegrini shot sneaking in.

But Paulo Fonseca’s side did restore parity on the night on 57 minues. The goal came from Dzeko – his ninth career goal against United. The former Man City man headed in from close range after Pedro smashed a cross his way.

Bryan Cristante then fired a brilliant strike on the turn to put Roma 2-1 ahead on the night.

And it was almost 3-1 moments later when De Gea made a brilliant double save to deny the Italians in quick succession. De Gea then saved again, this time almost unwittingly, with his leg, as the ball spun across goal and to safety. United were at panic stations and another goal at this point would have set up a jittery finish.

Mason Greenwood then lifted a chance just wide when through on goal.

However, that man Cavani powered a bullet header home from Fernandes’ exquisite cross to make it 2-2 and calm any nerves. That made it seven goals in six games and four goals in total across the two semi-finals.

Mkhitaryan then hit the outside of the post as Cavani was withdrawn and replaced by Marcus Rashford.

Roma then made it 3-2 on the night when sub Nicola Zalewski’s volley deflected into the net off Alex Telles after 83.

United will play Villarreal in the final after they scraped a 0-0 draw at Arsenal to claim a narrow 2-1 aggregate success.

READ MORESolskjaer reveals he has more hope than ever over Cavani development

 

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