Rashford sees red as Man United give up two-goal lead to lose in Copenhagen
Manchester United gave up a two-goal lead in a breathless 4-3 Champions League loss to FC Copenhagen on Wednesday that turned after Marcus Rashford was shown a controversial red card following a brace by young United striker Rasmus Hojlund.
The loss was a calamitous setback in United’s hopes for last-16 qualification with Erik ten Hag’s side fourth in Group A on three points with two group games still to play. Copenhagen are one point better off in second place.
“The red card changes everything,” a beleaguered Ten Hag told TNT Sports. “Then it becomes a different game. I have seen a lot of positives from that game but in the end we have lost some focus.”
“I think the (Rashford red) was a very harsh decision,” he added.
United have two tough games to finish the group stage, at third-placed Galatasaray, who have four points, on Nov. 29 and at home against Bayern Munich, who have won all four group matches to book their spot in the last 16, on Dec. 12.
Hojlund fired United to a brilliant start in a roller-coaster first half, scoring his first when the game was just 171 seconds old by tucking in Scott McTominay’s pass from close range.
The 20-year-old netted again against his former club in the 28th minute after a Kamil Grabara save sent the ball spinning practically to his feet.
The tide turned when Rashford was sent off in the 42nd minute for planting his foot on the ankle of Elias Jelert to protect the ball. The moment breathed new life into the home side and Mohamed Elyounoussi pulled one back three minutes later.
There was more misery to come as Copenhagen were awarded a penalty right before halftime after Harry Maguire’s handball, and Diogo Goncalves slotted it past Andre Onana.
United briefly regained the lead when VAR awarded them a penalty for a handball which Bruno Fernandes calmly converted.
But they imploded in the final few minutes giving up two goals, in the 83rd when Lukas Lerager sprinted in to meet Rasmus Falk’s cross and four minutes later when 17-year-old substitute Roony Bardghji fired home.
As the teams walked onto the pitch at Parken Stadium, Copenhagen fans unveiled a tifo that read “Your Theatre of Nightmares,” a play on Old Trafford’s nickname as the Theatre of Dreams and an apt description on Wednesday.
United became the first side to score two goals, have a player sent off, and concede a penalty in the first half of a Champions League match since Bayern Munich against Man City in November 2014.
The night marked the first Champions League loss for United in which they led by two or more goals. It was their first defeat after taking a two-goal lead in all competitions since a 5-3 loss to Leicester City in September 2014.
The defeat spoiled a feel-good return to Copenhagen for Hojlund, who was born in the Danish capital and whose younger brothers Emil and Oscar both play for Copenhagen.
Real Madrid beat Braga 3-0 to clinch Champions League last-16 place
Brahim Diaz, Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo scored as Real Madrid cruised into the last 16 of the Champions League with two group games remaining after a 3-0 victory over Portuguese side Braga on Wednesday.
Real manager Carlo Ancelotti rested several regular starters, including top scorer Jude Bellingham with a shoulder injury, but the 14-times champions maintained their 100% record to lead Group C with 12 points from four games.
They could secure top spot with a point at home in their next game against Napoli.
The Italian champions are second on seven points, four clear of Braga in third. Union Berlin are bottom on one point after a 1-1 draw against Napoli earlier on Wednesday.
Real got an early scare when Lucas Vazquez held Braga defender Cristian Borja inside the box to concede a penalty in the fourth minute.
However, goalkeeper Andriy Lunin, who was a last-minute addition to Real’s starting eleven due to an injury suffered by Kepa Arrizabalaga in the warm-up, palmed away a weak effort by Alvaro Djalo from the spot.
Vazquez went in hard on a challenge on winger Bruma inside the box in the 20th minute that could have cost Real another penalty and a second yellow card if the referee decided that it was an infringement, as Braga players complained heavily.
However, he was let off and Real then took control of the game. Diaz, who had an earlier goal ruled out for a foul in the build-up, opened the scoring with a first-time strike from close range in the 27th minute, assisted by Rodrygo with a low cross.
Diaz could have extended their lead in the 55th minute, but goalkeeper Matheus made two consecutive reflex saves to deny the Spanish midfielder’s double-effort from close-range.
Matheus also stopped a Rodrygo strike from the edge of the box to help Braga stay in the game, but Vinicius Jr doubled the lead in the 58th minute when he collected a low cross by Vazquez to strike home a tidy finish from inside the box.
Three minutes later, Vinicius started a counter-attack and played in his compatriot Rodrygo, who netted a brilliant chip over the goalkeeper to secure the result.
Arsenal cruise to 2-0 win against Sevilla
Arsenal returned to winning ways with a routine 2-0 defeat of Sevilla to take a big step towards qualification for the Champions League knockout rounds on Wednesday.
Successive defeats in the League Cup and Premier League had halted Arsenal’s momentum but goals by Leandro Trossard and Bukayo Saka cemented their place as leaders of Group B.
Trossard tapped home in the 29th minute to put Mikel Arteta’s side in front and Saka underlined Arsenal’s superiority with a superb effort midway through the second half.
Europa League champions Sevilla were desperately disappointing and managed only one shot on target, with the last kick of the game, as their last-16 hopes receded.
The only blemish on an otherwise stress-free night for Arsenal was the sight of Saka, who set up Trossard’s goal, hobbling off late on after falling awkwardly.
Arsenal strengthened their position at the top of Group B with nine points from four games and would have qualified had Lens beaten PSV Eindhoven but the French club lost 1-0.
Lens and PSV have five points while winless Sevilla are bottom with two points.
After the fall-out from Arsenal’s controversial Premier League defeat at Newcastle United at the weekend, which sparked an emotional Arteta outburst, what the side needed was a routine night with no VAR drama and compliant opposition.
Arsenal got their wish as the technology that caused Arteta’s angst at Newcastle was redundant and Sevilla offered virtually nothing to cause alarm.
Sevilla have endured a disappointing start to the La Liga season and the appointment of former Uruguay national Diego Alonso a month ago has hardly revived their fortunes.
They had managed only one win in his first five matches since he replaced Jose Luis Mendilibar — against lowly Quintanar in the Copa del Rey — and they never looked like pulling off a surprise victory in north London.
Arsenal were efficient rather than spectacular but dominated from the first whistle and Kai Havertz should have give them the lead inside two minutes but headed wide.
The hosts took the lead when Jorginho, captain for the night in place of the injured Martin Odegaard, released Saka down the right and he slid a pass across for Trossard to score his second Champions League goal of the campaign.
Havertz twice went close to scoring after the break, having one goalbound shot deflected away and firing another effort agonisingly wide of the far post.
Saka eventually gave Arsenal breathing space with a superb effort, racing on to Gabriel Martinelli’s pass down the right and then cutting back inside to place a left-foot shot past visiting keeper Marko Dmitrovic.
Arsenal keeper David Raya could have had the night off, such was his lack of involvement in the game, with his only save coming in the sixth minute of stoppage time from Mariano Diaz.
Late Kane double sends Bayern 2-1 past Galatasaray and into last 16
Bayern Munich top scorer Harry Kane struck twice in seven minutes late in the game to guide his team to a 2-1 victory over Galatasaray on Wednesday and secure a spot in the Champions League knockout stage as group winners with two games to spare.
The England captain, who had scored a hat-trick against Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga on Saturday, headed in a Joshua Kimmich free kick in the 80th minute and then tapped in his second six minutes later to make sure of a top two finish.
Man-of-the-match Kane, the Bundesliga’s record signing when he joined this season for 100 million euros ($107.06 million), has now scored four times in his first four Champions League games for Bayern to match a club record, on top of his 15 goals in his first 10 league games.
He is also only the third English player to reach 25 goals in the competition.
The visitors cut the deficit in second half stoppage time with Cedric Bakambu.
The Bavarians, who also hit the post with Kane early in the second half, stretched their unbeaten run in Champions League group matches to 38, having won the last 17 in a row, both competition records.
They are top of Group A on 12 points and are certain of a top two finish with two matches left. FC Copenhagen moved into second place on four points, as many as Galatasaray, following their thrilling 4-3 win over Manchester United, who are in last place on three.
In an entertaining first half, both teams had their chances with Galatasaray pressing high but Bayern constantly finding ways to untangle themselves from that pressure.
Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer did well to deny Mauro Icardi at the end of the first half after his Galatasaray counterpart Fernando Muslera had made his own share of good saves earlier.
Bayern saw Jamal Musiala taken off injured with a hamstring injury in the first half and Kane should have put them in the lead but his volley at the far post only hit the woodwork in the 53rd.
The Turks also thought they had scored just after the hour mark but Icardi was ruled offside.
As was the case in the first match between the two sides, Galatasaray’s high-intensity game saw them gradually run out of steam and allowed the Germans the space they needed to score.
Kane first rose high to connect with Kimmich’s free kick in the box before launching the move for the second goal and finishing it at the far post with a simple tap-in in the 86th minute.
Galatasaray cut the deficit in stoppage time but ran out of time to find an equaliser.
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