UEFA Europa League Round of 32 First Leg
FC Midtjylland vs. Manchester United
Venue: MCH Arena
Date: Thursday, 18 February 2016
Kick-off: 18:00 GMT
Manchester United’s miserable season continues to run amok, as they suffered a shock, but actually not really a shock, defeat away at FC Midtjylland.
The 2-1 comeback win for the Danish side in the Round of 32 first leg of this year’s Europa League saw Pione Sisto level before the break as Paul Onuachu came off the bench to win it late on.
Memphis grabbed United’s goal, as Louis van Gaal’s young side and squad was leaderless in a competition they should look to win to gain entry in next season’s Champions League with a top four place in the league seemingly gone.
Good work from Jesse Lingard to win the ball back sent Memphis free; his shot was blocked before the short corner routine saw Juan Mata’s shot saved low by Mikkel Andersen.
A side dangerous from set pieces, Kian Hansen’s header from a corner needed a superb save from Romero to deny a goal, as Chris Smalling misdirected his header at the other end in a later spell.
Captain Tim Sparv fouled Memphis with the latter’s free-kick parried, as a FC Midtjylland break saw Romero’s left leg deny Vaclav Kadlec who had Rilwan Hassan to his right for a certain tap-in but chose to ignore his teammate.
It was Lingard’s cross from the right that was controlled by Memphis who was almost on the ground, but the Dutchman squeezed his shot past Andersen to give United the lead.
That lead didn’t last long, with Michael Carrick’s woeful pass allowing Sisto to run at the visiting defence and his shot deflected past Romero and found the back of the net.
It seemed as though United were beginning to take control after the break with Lingard firing over and striking the bar via his volley, but after that the visitors offered next to nothing.
Substitute Onuachu had barely entered the fray before his header was somehow saved by Romero’s left hand as Sisto curled an effort wide with Kadlec doing likewise in a later attack.
Then came the winner with Mata’s half-hearted challenge gifting Onuachu space and he finished accomplishedly into the bottom corner.
Usually the United onslaught would arrive at this point, but not these days, as the home side looked the more likely with Sisto’s powerful shot from an angle falling over the top.
Full-time arrived in Scandinavia with back-to-back defeats arising for United, who lacked confidence, urgency, innovation, ideas, and so much more on the night.
A fair result, with the return leg taking place at Old Trafford this time next week with an 8:05pm kick-off.
Before then, a fourth straight away match is to be contested at Shrewsbury Town in the FA Cup fifth round on Monday night, with kick-off at 7:45pm.
Manchester United: Romero; Love, Smalling, McNair, Blind; Carrick, Herrera (Schneiderlin 72); Lingard, Mata (Pereira 78), Memphis; Martial.
Subs: Poole, Riley, Schneiderlin, Pereira, Weir, Keane.
Manager: Louis van Gaal
FC Midtjylland: Andersen; Romer, Hansen, Bodurov, Novak; Sparv, Hassan (Urena 67); Kadlec (Royer 86), Sisto, Olsson; Pusic (Onuachu 61).
Subs: Urena, Dahlin, Duelund, Banggaard Jensen, Bak Nielsen, Onuachu, Royer.
Manager: Jess Thorup