Manchester United's Marouane Fellaini holds off the challenge of Celta's Daniel Wass.
Manchester United's Marouane Fellaini holds off the challenge of Celta's Daniel Wass. Dave Thompson

United survives late drama to make Europa League final

MANCHESTER United has edged into the Europa League final after a 1-1 draw with Celta Vigo in their semi-final second leg secured a 2-1 aggregate win.

Having won 1-0 in Spain a week ago, Marouane Fellaini extended United's aggregate advantage in the 17th minute at Old Trafford when he headed in from Marcus Rashford's deep cross.

However, Celta set up a tense finish when Facundo Roncaglia scored with four minutes remaining.

Both Roncaglia and Eric Bailly were sent off after a heated confrontation and John Guidetti missed a gilt-edged chance to send Celta through with the final kick of the match.

United will face Ajax in the final in Stockholm on Wednesday, May 24, after the Eredivisie side beat Lyon 5-4 on aggregate.

It will be the first opportunity for United to win the Europa League trophy - the only major European trophy missing from its collection - and also seemingly its best chance of qualifying for next season's Champions League.

With a top-four finish in the Premier League looking unlikely, victory in Stockholm will secure a place in the group stage of the Champions League for United.

And, with the EFL Cup already in the bag, it would give Jose Mourinho the chance to win a double in his first season in charge at Old Tradfford.

Having made eight changes in the 2-0 defeat to Arsenal on Sunday, Mourinho reverted back to the side that won the first leg against Celta 1-0, with Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford, Antonio Valencia and Fellaini returning to the starting line-up.

 

Referee Ovidiu Hategan shows a red card to Manchester United's Eric Bailly (third from right) and Celta's Facundo Roncaglia (third from left).
Referee Ovidiu Hategan shows a red card to Manchester United's Eric Bailly (third from right) and Celta's Facundo Roncaglia (third from left). Dave Thompson

While United had dominated in Spain, it was the visitors who made the brighter start in England as Iago Aspas forced Sergio Romero into a sharp save.

But despite plenty of early possession, Celta fell further behind on aggregate after 17 minutes as Fellaini headed in at the back post from Rashford's cross.

The goal appeared to settle United nerves and Henrikh Mkhitaryan fired off target before Jesse Lingard saw a shot deflected over the bar.

Romero tipped away Pablo Hernandez's shot at the other end before Pogba shot over from the edge of the box.

But Celta finished the half strongly and Daniel Wass headed wide from Pione Sisto's driven cross.

Celta continued to create chances after the break as Guidetti fired wide from Sisto's pull-back and then failed to hit the target with a header in front of goal.

In between the two misses, Alvarez kept out a powerful strike from Lingard and saved from Rashford and Fellaini.

Celta set up a nervy finish when Roncaglia headed in with six minutes remaining.

But although Roncaglia and Bailly were sent off after several players clashed in midfield, United held out to advance to the final as Guidetti failed to convert from close range with the final kick.

News Corp Australia

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