United progress in Europe despite hero goalkeeper Johnsson
Ole and Johnsson
By Chris O'Brien
August 11 2020
Sometimes the performance of one individual opposing player lives long in the memory - and, despite United's one-goal Europa League victory, the heroics of Copenhagen stopper Karl-Johan Johnsson on Monday evening was one such stand-out display.
And the other Ronaldo shellshocked Old Trafford earlier that calendar year, with a sublime hat-trick as Real Madrid lost 4-3 on the night, but won 6-5 on aggregate in a memorable Champions League tussle.
Middlesbrough's Gaizka Mendieta outplayed United, scoring a brace and captivating the Riverside as 'Boro won 4-1 in 2005.
There's of course been many memorable performances against United - and, on Monday evening, Copenhagen stopper Johnsson joined that list with 13 remarkable saves and an accomplished display which almost kept Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's dominant men at bay, at an empty neutral venue in Cologne.
United mustered up 26 shots and 14 on target - improving after the half-time break to control proceedings. Johnsson produced a string of inspired saves, whle the woodwork also denied Bruno Fernandez and Mason Greenwood. Marcus Rashford also had a goal disallowed, while in the first-half, the Red Devils saw a penalty and goal disallowed by the ever-controversial Video Assistant Referee.
However, the only thing Johnsson was not equal to was the imperious penalty-taking of Fernandes. The game went to extra-time, and United were given an ideal opportunity from the spot on 95 minutes as Anthony Martial was foulled by Andreas Bjelland. Fernandes adjusged his trademark spot-kick technique, but the result was still the same - the net bulged in emphatic style, Johnsson was finally beaten and United ended up securing safe passage to the Europa League semi-finals.
United have lost only one game in 24 in all competitions, and have reached the semi-final of every Cup tournament they have competed in this season. Add to that the third placed finish, and the clear team mentality Solskjaer is building, and the #OleOut brigade have thankfully gone very quiet indeed.
Full Time - Manchester United 1-0 FC Copenhagen
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