Man Utd Beat Granada, Cruise Into Europa League Semis

Manchester United’s Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring the opening goal of the UEFA Europa league quarter final, second leg football match between Manchester United and Granada at Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, north west England, on April 15, 2021. Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Manchester United eased into the Europa League semi-finals on Thursday, staying on course for a potential all-English final against Arsenal after a 4-0 aggregate win against Granada.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men went into the second leg at Old Trafford after a comfortable 2-0 win in Spain and knew that, barring a disaster, they were almost certain to progress.

An early Edinson Cavani goal, his first for the club in Europe, virtually sealed the tie, though the visitors had chances of their own in both halves to keep the tie alive.

United, who won the competition under Jose Mourinho in 2017, will be desperate to win their last-four clash against Roma after four semi-final defeats under Solskjaer.

 

United players celebrate their second goal and own-goal by Granada’s Spanish defender Jesus Vallejo during the UEFA Europa League quarter-final, second leg football match between Manchester United and Granada at Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, north-west England, on April 15, 2021. Manchester United won the game 2-0, (4-0 on aggregate). Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

The home side opened the scoring in the sixth minute when Paul Pogba flicked on a cross to Cavani, who volleyed into the bottom corner from inside the box.

Yangel Herrera twice went close to an equaliser on the night, flashing two headers wide of David de Gea’s goal and Bruno Fernandes volleyed over at the other end.

Pogba was booked early in the game and committed another foul shortly afterwards but the referee decided that challenge did not warrant a second yellow.

Solskjaer substituted the France international at half-time to avoid a red card, bringing on Donny van de Beek in midfield.

Granada’s Jorge Molina went close with a header shortly after the restart and United also had chances to pull further ahead through Mason Greenwood and Cavani.

German Sanchez had another opportunity to make life uncomfortable for United following a set-piece but could not keep his left-footed shot on target.

The game became increasingly open in the final minutes. De Gea made a fine save before an own goal from Jesus Vallejo sealed a 2-0 second-leg victory for United.

United, on course to finish second in the Premier League, are looking to win their first silverware since their triumph in the Europa League four years ago. Last year they lost in the semi-finals to Sevilla.

Arsenal beat Slavia Prague 5-1 on aggregate. Manager Mikel Arteta will next go head to head with his predecessor Unai Emery, now Villarreal boss, keeping alive the dream of an all-English final.

AFP

Free Meals For Kids: Man United Star Rashford Writes British Govt

Manchester United's English forward Marcus Rashford plays a shot during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second-leg football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Manchester United at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on March 6, 2019.  FRANCK FIFE / AFP
File: Manchester United’s English forward Marcus Rashford plays a shot during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second-leg football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Manchester United at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on March 6, 2019.
FRANCK FIFE / AFP

 

Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford has pleaded with the British government to continue to supply free meals for children in poorer families during the summer holidays in a letter “written from the heart”.

Children eligible for free school meals have received food during the coronavirus lockdown, often in the form of vouchers to spend at supermarkets.

About 1.3 million disadvantaged pupils are entitled to free school meals but the scheme in England will not run during the school holiday period, which starts in July.

England international Rashford, who has helped raise around £20 million ($25 million) for FareShare, a charity that fights hunger and food waste, received free meals as a child.

“The government has taken a ‘whatever it takes’ approach to the economy — I’m asking you today to extend that same thinking to protecting all vulnerable children across England,” he wrote in an open letter to lawmakers.

“I encourage you to hear their pleas and find your humanity. Please reconsider your decision to cancel the food voucher scheme over the summer holiday period and guarantee the extension.”

Rashford, 22, added: “As a black man from a low-income family in Wythenshawe, Manchester, I could have been just another statistic.

“Instead, due to the selfless actions of my mum, my family, my neighbours, and my coaches, the only stats I’m associated with are goals, appearances and caps.”

Rashford, last week named the fifth most valuable player in Europe, told the BBC the letter was “written from the heart”.

“What families are going through now, I’ve once had to go through that — and it’s very difficult to find a way out. It’s very important for me to help people who are struggling,” he said.

A spokesman for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Johnson would respond to the letter.

“He (Rashford) has been using his profile in a positive way to highlight some very important issues,” the spokesman said.

“The prime minister understands the issues facing families across the UK, which is why last week the government announced an additional £63 million for local authorities to benefit all families who are struggling to afford food and other basic essentials.”

AFP