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TelaSaco Digital No es Caraota | Manchester United brush off Granada in Europa League semi finals

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Granada fought for a way back into what was billed as the biggest match in their recent history, with Chelsea loanee Kenedy testing David de Gea from range before Yangel Herrera – on loan from Manchester City – hit the post with a volley

In a game where clear-cut chances were sparse, the highlight of a dull opening quarter came when a streaker somehow managed to find his way onto the pitch, despite crowds not being allowed to attend the match due to Covid-19 protocols. Soccer Football – Europa League – Quarter Final First Leg – Granada v Manchester United – Nuevo Estadio de Los Carmenes, Granada, Spain – April 8, 2021 (Reuters) Manchester United's Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes have secured a hard-fought 2-0 victory at Granada in the Europa League quarter-final first leg to put their side in the driving seat.

In a game where clear-cut chances were sparse, the highlight of a dull opening quarter came when a streaker somehow managed to find his way onto the pitch, despite crowds not being allowed to attend the match due to Covid-19 protocols.

Rashford's goal just past the half-hour was the game's standout piece of quality.

Victor Lindelof strode out of defence and his long ball was perfectly weighted into the path of England forward, who controlled well before coolly finishing to put United ahead and notch up his 20th goal of the season in all competitions.

Granada fought for a way back into what was billed as the biggest match in their recent history, with Chelsea loanee Kenedy testing David de Gea from range before Yangel Herrera – on loan from Manchester City – hit the post with a volley.

A massive win

In a cagey second-half, Fernandes was denied from close range by a save from Portuguese countryman Rui Silva late on before the midfielder netted United's second with a stoppage-time penalty after being felled by substitute Yan Brice Eteki.

“It’s a massive win. We knew it was going to be hard coming here,” United forward Daniel James told BT Sport.

“Marcus took his goal really well and Bruno put his penalty away at the end. We always knew it was going to be tough. We had to play our football, which is where the first goal came from. Obviously, the second goal gives us a good platform.”

“Today’s a great win. We need to go into next week with the same attitude as today.”

United will be without suspended club captain Harry Maguire, as well as Luke Shaw and Scott McTominay for the return leg after the trio were booked.

The winners of the tie will face the victors in Ajax Amsterdam's clash with AS Roma in which the Italians hold a 2-1 lead from their first away leg which was also played on Thursday.

Arsenal frustrated

Arsenal conceded in injury time to draw 1-1 with Slavia Prague in the first leg of their Europa League quarterfinal,

Arsenal paid the price for a lack of concentration after failing to defend Nicolas Pepe’s 86th-minute opener.

Goalkeeper Bernd Leno made a fine save to deny Lukas Provod in injury time, but couldn’t stop Tomáš Holeš from grabbing Prague’s equalizer from the resultant corner.

Arsenal had worked hard for Pepe’s opener. Brazilian winger Willian struck the post with a free kick early in the second half, and Alexandre Lacazette should have scored later when he only had the goalkeeper to beat. The French striker opted to lift the ball only to see it crash back off the crossbar.

The visitors missed chances of their own before Pepe finally broke the deadlock with a chip over the outrushing Ondřej Kolar in the Slavia goal.

Holes headed in Prague’s equaliser in the fourth minute of injury time.

Roma come back

Ajax, like Arsenal, was to rue a missed opportunity.

Davy Klaassen capitalised on hesitant defending to score the home team’s opener in the 39th. The Dutch midfielder cut out Amadou Diawara’s weak back pass and exchanged passes with Dusan Tadic before scoring as Roma defenders Roger Ibanez and Gianluca Mancini backed off.

Tadic should have made it 2-0 early in the second half, but Roma goalkeeper Pau Lopez saved his penalty.

Lorenzo Pellegrini then equalised with a free kick that young goalkeeper Kjell Scherpen fumbled over the line in the 57th, and Ibanez atoned for his lackluster defensive display with the winner in the 87th. Ibanez took Klaassen’s attempted clearance from a corner on his chest before firing a volley in under the crossbar.

The second legs are to be played next Thursday.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies