It may have lacked the glamour of a Champions League night before it began, but Manchester United’s trip to Denmark to face Midtjylland turned out to be a special one for the host side.
Midtjylland, playing in the knockout phase of a European competition for the first time in its brief history, pulled off a stunning 2-1 upset of the Red Devils in a Europa League Round of 32 match on Thursday. For the Danish club, formed in 1999, the win has to rank among the most important in the club’s history.
It was also the fourth straight loss in Europa League matches for Manchester United.
United was a side hit by injuries in the run up to the match, with captain Wayne Rooney missing out with a knee injury. He was the latest in a growing list of players on the injury list for manager Louis van Gaal — who will no doubt face harsh criticism after this result.
The injury situation for Manchester United went from bad to worse before the match ever started, as keeper David De Gea injured his ankle in the warm-up and replaced in the starting lineup by Sergio Romero.
Still, United started the match in control, and finally made an edge in possession and chances early in the match pay off.
In the 37th minute, Memphis scrambled home a loose ball in the six-yard box to put his side in front:
— BenchWarmers (@BeWarmers) February 18, 2016
Just before the stroke of halftime, Midtjylland’s Pione Sisto — a man of the match candidate — took on a handful of defenders, used to pace to make some room in the box and fired home the equalizer past the sprawling Romero:
Things bogged down a bit after the interval, until substitute Paul Onuachu found some space at the top of the United box and fired a shot inside the left post of Romero to give the Danish side a lead it would not relinquish.
Onuachu 2-1 https://t.co/9IbnNBwNrN
— NP Vine (@NPlayerVine) February 18, 2016
Manchester United does have an away goal with which to work in the teams’ return leg next week, but it will need to play much better next time out.