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FC Copenhagen
Champions League | Group Stage
Nov 8, 2023 at 8pm UK
Manchester United logo

4 - 3
Man Utd

Elyounoussi (45'), Goncalves (45+9' pen.), Lerager (83'), Bardghji (87')
Vavro (45+11')
FT(HT: 2-2)
Hojlund (3', 28'), Fernandes (69' pen.)
Maguire (90+3')
Rashford (42')

Ten-man Manchester United lose to Copenhagen in chaotic seven-goal thriller

Ten-man Man United lose to Copenhagen in chaotic seven-goal thriller
© Reuters
Manchester United lose Marcus Rashford to an early red card in a 4-3 defeat to Copenhagen in the Champions League on Wednesday night.

Manchester United lost Marcus Rashford to an early red card in a 4-3 defeat to Copenhagen in the Champions League on Wednesday night.

Erik ten Hag's side were two goals ahead inside the opening 28 minutes courtesy of a double from Rasmus Hojlund, but Rashford was handed a straight red card in the 42nd minute, and Copenhagen managed to score twice before the end of the first period to make it 2-2.

The Red Devils were back ahead in the 69th minute from a Bruno Fernandes penalty, but Lukas Lerager made it 3-3 in the 83rd minute before 17-year-old Roony Bardghji spectacularly won it for the home side three minutes before the end of normal time.

Bayern Munich beat Galatasaray 2-0 in Group A's other match to qualify for the round of 16, with Copenhagen now in second, while Man United are bottom of the section, one point off second ahead of a trip to Galatasaray at the end of November.

Copenhagen shouted for a penalty inside the first 20 minutes when Scott McTominay kicked the ball against the arm of Harry Maguire from close range, but the referee was not interested and VAR agreed.

Man United made the breakthrough in the third minute of the contest, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka's clever pass releasing McTominay into a crossing position, and the Scotland international picked out Hojlund, who found the back of the net against his former club to make it four goals this season's competition.

"Your Theatre Of Nightmares" read a sign from the Copenhagen fans ahead of kickoff, but the Red Devils started extremely well, with the hosts struggling to impose themselves in the same manner as they did in the reverse game at Old Trafford last month.

Smart work from Alejandro Garnacho almost led to another chance for the visitors in the 12th minute, but the Argentina international just failed to pick out a teammate with his cross, before Red Devils goalkeeper Andre Onana had to keep out a tame strike from Rasmus Falk down the other end.

Jonny Evans was again picked ahead of Raphael Varane in the middle of the defence, but he limped off the field in the 14th minute with a muscular problem on his first Champions League appearance since 2013 and was replaced by Varane, who is currently being heavily linked with a move away from Old Trafford.

Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes in action with Copenhagen's Mohamed Elyounoussi on November 8, 2023© Reuters

There was then a break in play due to a medical emergency in the crowd, but the contest resumed after a short period, and Copenhagen started to show more in an attacking sense, with question marks being asked of Man United's full-backs.

Hojlund, though, doubled his tally for the night in the 28th minute, with a swift counter-attack leading to the 20-year-old scoring from close range after Garnacho's strike had been palmed into his path by Copenhagen goalkeeper Kamil Grabara.

Hojlund was then denied by a smart save from Grabara shortly after his second, before Maguire's header was kept out by the Copenhagen stopper, with the home side struggling to contain the English giants.

Man United's number 11 had a chance to complete his hat-trick in the 40th minute when he raced clear of the Copenhagen defence after collecting a pass from Fernandes, but he fired his effort just wide of the far post.

There was a VAR check for a red card shortly after, with Rashford catching Elias Jelert's ankle after attempting to protect the ball, and the referee came across to send off the England international following a look at the monitor, with the decision controversial at best.

Diogo Goncalves's free kick was deflected onto his own crossbar by Fernandes from the resulting free kick, with Copenhagen coming close to halving the deficit late in the first period.

The home side managed to score from their next attack, with Mohamed Elyounoussi turning a cross from Goncalves into the back of the net from close range, and it was then revealed that 13 minutes would be added on at the end of the first period.

Kevin Diks sent one wide of the Man United goal in the spell that followed, but Copenhagen were awarded a penalty in the eighth minute of added time when Maguire handled inside the box.

Goncalves stepped up, and he found the bottom corner of the net to make it 2-2, with the match being completely turned on its head after such a comfortable start for Man United.

Sofyan Amrabat was introduced for Christian Eriksen at the interval, and Man United had a lot of the ball at the start of the second period, but the first shot came from Denis Vavro, with Onana making the save.

Manchester United's Rasmus Hojlund celebrates scoring against Copenhagen with teammates on November 7, 2023© Reuters

Diogo Dalot then struck the post for Man United down the other end after being released into the penalty box by Garnacho, before Onana saved from Viktor Claesson moments later.

Onana was again called into action to keep out a strike from Goncalves on the hour, with Man United holding firm at the start of the second period after a chaotic end to the opening 45 minutes.

Bardghji was introduced for the hosts in the 63rd minute, with the forward already managing nine goals in all competitions this season, and he was immediately involved, striking over the crossbar from distance.

There was a check for a potential penalty in the 66th minute when Denis Vavro handled inside the box, with the referee being sent across to the monitor, and he pointed to the spot after a short check.

Fernandes stepped forward for the 20-time English champions, and he found the top corner of the net with a sensational penalty to send the visitors back ahead in Denmark.

Copenhagen were on the front foot in the spell that followed, with Wan-Bissaka doing brilliantly to cut out a low cross from Bardghji, and the visitors were sinking deeper into a defensive shape.

McTominay fired one over the crossbar down the other end in the 79th minute, before Maguire had a goal disallowed for a foul on the goalkeeper from a corner.

Copenhagen levelled the scores in the 83rd minute when Lerager converted a Falk cross at the far post, with Dalot not following his marker.

Bardghji then scored a fourth for the home side in the 87th minute, with the teenager finding the back of the net with a brilliant finish to spark jubilant scenes inside the stadium.

Maguire smashed the crossbar with an effort late on, but the referee blew for a foul shortly after, allowing Copenhagen to secure all three points at the end of a stunning game of football, and Man United have now sunk to the bottom of the section due to their third defeat from four matches in this season's competition.

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