Manchester United booked a place opposite Ajax in the UEFA Europa League final on 24 May in Stockholm after a competitive 1-1 draw against Celta Vigo at Old Trafford on Thursday.
A first-half header from Marouane Fellaini was cancelled out by Facundo Roncaglia four minutes from time but ultimately ensured United’s safe passage to Sweden, after a dramatic semi-final second leg which ended with both sides reduced to 10 men after Roncaglia and Eric Bailly were sent off following a flare-up after the equaliser.
Jose Mourinho fielded an unchanged starting line-up following the 1-0 first leg win in Spain as the Reds looked to extend the club’s 17-match unbeaten home run in Europe.
Despite winning all six home Europa League matches this season, it was the visitors who started brightest as former Liverpool man Iago Aspas forced Sergio Romero into a save inside five minutes after cutting in smartly from the right wing.
With Celta Vigo controlling the early possession, it took an individual piece of brilliance in the centre of the park from Paul Pogba to ignite United as he set Marcus Rashford away on the counter-attack, but it was well cut-out.
That was a promising sign of things to come from the Reds who took the lead on 17 minutes as Rashford’s sumptuous cross from the left was clinically met by Fellaini at the far post.
The Belgian’s fourth goal of the season was also United’s 100th of the 2016/17 campaign and the midfielder has now scored in FA Cup, EFL Cup and Europa League semi-final matches for United.
That goal ignited Old Trafford and the hosts could have doubled their lead minutes later as Rashford’s clever turn of pace set him free once more but the ball was pinched off his toe as he looked to strike at goal.