FC Copenhagen 4, Manchester United 3 (UEFA Champions League)
Manchester United’s Champions League hopes hang in the balance after Marcus Rashford was sent off in a 4-3 defeat to FC Copenhagen at the Parken Stadium.
United were cruising at 3-2 up despite the loss of Rashford to only the second red card of his career before two late goals by their hosts – including one by a player called ‘Roony’ left the Reds bottom of their Champions League group with 2 games to go.
Rasmus Hojlund scored after 171 seconds – his close range finish from Scott McTominay’s assist set the Reds on their way before he doubled the lead in the 28th minute – his 5th goal in 4 Champions League games for United – but tellingly they are his only goals for the Reds this term.
However, the game turned after 43 minutes with a controversial red card review which was called by VAR.Embed from Getty Images
Marcus Rashford was trying to shield the ball from Elias Jelert before half time but accidentally caught his ankle badly – and when the referee was called over to the pitchside monitor to review the incident the writing was on the wall.
Injury to Jonny Evans was the first blow of the night for United but there was worse to come as ex-Southampton man Mohamed Elyounoussi pulled a goal back before Harry Maguire was penalised for handball and Diogo Goncalves levelled matters from the penalty spot before the break, deep into a lengthy period of injury time.
Bizarrely, that spot kick made United the first club to give away a penalty in each of their first four Champions League games in the UEFA Champions League campaign since records began in 2003/04.
But the 10-man Reds might have clawed the lead back thanks to a penalty by Bruno Fernandes after 69 minutes after a handball by Lukas Lerager but United couldn’t hold on and Lerager levelled the scores again with a back post header after 83 minutes.
But there was worse to come for United as Roony Bardghji became the youngest player to score a Champions League goal against United (at 17 years and 358 days) with 2 minutes to go after a calamitous attempt at playing the ball out of the back by Maguire and Raphael Varane allowed the youngster space to volley the ball into the ground and past Andre Onana.
The sad defeat was a far cry from the exciting start they made to go 2-0 up in the first half when Rasmus Hojlund scored twice to put United 2-0 up.
But they couldn’t hold on and eventually lost a game in which they were 2 goals to the good for the first time since September 2014 when Leicester City beat them 5-3 from being 2 goals down to the Reds.
More ominously, it was the Reds’ ninth defeat of the season after 17 games – and the last time they had that poor a start – in 1973/74 – they were relegated.
And a loss to Galatarasay in Istanbul – where they have never won – for match day 5 and United’s European adventure will be over before Christmas.
If they beat the Turks in their own stadium there’s the small matter of a visit from group winners Bayern Munich in December – and the Germans managed to sign summer United target Harry Kane who already has 22 goals in 18 games for his new club.