England’s Manchester United are in crisis mode. After a two-year absence from the ‘stage of the stars,’ the Red Devils have fallen to the bottom of their group and are on the verge of elimination.
The Red Devils lost their 2023-2024 UEFA Champions League (UCL) Group A match against Copenhagen (Denmark) 3-4 at 5 a.m. ET on Sept. 9 at Farken Stadium in Copenhagen, Denmark. The result drops United to the bottom of the group (fourth place) with just one win and three points. If they don’t turn things around in their remaining two games, they could experience a shocking group exit.
In Group A, three teams are battling for second place. Bayern Munich (GER), the ‘Kim Min-jae team’, booked their place in the round of 16 early after winning all four of their matches (12 points). Copenhagen, who hosted United earlier in the day, are second in the group with one win, one draw, and two losses (4 points). After a winless run, they picked up their first win against United to climb from last place to second. In third place is Galatasaray (Turkkiye). They have the same record as Copenhagen, with one win, one draw, and two losses (four points), but are one place below them on goal difference.
United have fewer points than them and sit at the bottom of the group. Looking at the remaining schedule, the future is more worrisome. United travel to Galatasaray on October 30th. It’s a trip to the hellhole that even the strongest teams in Europe shy away from. If United lose this game, they’ll be out of the running for the round of 16.
Even if the Red Devils get past Galatasaray, they’ll still have to face the ‘best of the best’ in Munich in the last six. They face off on March 13. It’s United’s home game, and with Munich having booked their place in the round of 16 early, they’ll likely come out flat. However, Munich has a very strong squad. There’s no guarantee of a United victory.
For United, the result in Copenhagen was a shocker. They were 2-0 up before their defense collapsed in the second half and they lost 3-4. They were also unlucky. United had all the bad luck in the world on this day, with Marcus Rashford getting sent off early in the first half and Harry Maguire hitting the post in stoppage time. In the end, heads were down.
Even the local media in England were disappointed with United’s performance. “United suffered a shocking 3-4 defeat in Copenhagen,” said 90MIN, a British soccer publication. Their hopes of reaching the round of 16 have faded. The Red Devils took a 2-0 lead through Rasmus Hojlund, but Rashford’s sending off just before half-time made things difficult.”
On this day, United went with a 4-2-3-1 formation. Rasmus Højlund up top, with Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes, and Alejandro Garnacho in the second line to support the attack. For the Danish striker, Copenhagen is home. He came through the Copenhagen youth ranks and started his professional career there. He quickly rose through the ranks and broke into the big club at the tender age of 20.
United have also paired Christian Eriksen with Scott McTominay in midfield. The back four was Diogo Dalot, Jonny Evans, Harry Maguire, and Aaron Wambisaka. Andre Onana was in goal.
Copenhagen lined up in a 4-3-3 formation. Norwegian striker Mohamed Elionusi, who played for Southampton in England, started on the right flank.
United and Copenhagen have already met in the third leg on March 25. Back then, United won a thrilling 1-0 victory. Maguire, who had been in a bit of a slump, scored the winning goal to complete the ‘upset’. But in the rematch, Copenhagen got their revenge.
United started well. In the third minute of the first half, Hui Lun opened the scoring. Good buildup play allowed United to attack down the right flank, and McTominay’s pass was easily slotted home by Hui Lun. United kept the momentum going and added another goal in the 28th minute. Again, it was Hoilearn. Garnacho’s shot was saved by the goalkeeper, but Huilun was on hand to rattle the net.
But there was an unexpected twist for United. In the 42nd minute, Rashford was sent off for a direct challenge. Rashford stepped on an opponent’s ankle as he tried to keep the ball in a contest. After a video assistant referee (VAR) review, the referee sent Rashford off. United were forced to play the remaining time with 10 men.
The fear was realized. In the 45th minute, United conceded a late goal. Copenhagen’s ace Elionusi scored the goal. With a goal back, Copenhagen pushed United harder and harder.
Eventually, they equalized before the half was over. In first-half stoppage time, Copenhagen attempted a counterattack, which resulted in a handball foul on United defender Raphael Varane inside the penalty box. The referee awarded a penalty kick, which Diogo Goncalves calmly converted.
The second half was a back-and-forth affair. United scored another goal in a difficult atmosphere to take the lead again. In the 24th minute, the Red Devils were awarded a penalty kick thanks to a handball foul on the other side. Fernandez, the Red Devils’ captain, stepped up and slotted the ball past the opposing goalkeeper. But United’s joy was short-lived. Lucas Lerager equalized in the 33rd minute of the second half.
It wasn’t over yet. In the 42nd minute, Copenhagen’s “18-year-old god” Rooney Bardazi scored the winner. Copenhagen continued to attack United’s flank, sending in crosses. Following Lerager’s equalizer, the same tactic worked again. The United defense initially cleared the ball away, but Vardy, who was behind them, unleashed a fantastic left-footed volley to split the United goal. 캡틴토토 도메인
Vardy is a young player who has only played two UCL games as a substitute this season. Again, he came on as a second-half substitute and created a difficult chance, which he converted into a theatrical winner against all odds.
In United’s final attack, Maguire’s mid-range effort crashed off the crossbar and into the ground as the Red Devils suffered a shocking 3-4 reverse at home.
On the day, European statistical outlet Fúscore.com gave United’s multi-goal striker an 8.1 rating, the highest ever for a United player. But he had no reason to smile as his team lost. Rashford, who was sent off, had a rating of just 5.7. In Copenhagen, Vardy had the highest rating of 7.6.