Live Commentary: FC Midtjylland 2-1 Manchester United - as it happened

Live Commentary: Midtjylland 2-1 Man United - as it happened
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Relive Sports Mole's live commentary of the Europa League last-32 first leg between FC Midtjylland and Manchester United, which ended in a 2-1 home win.

Manchester United travelled to Danish side FC Midtjylland for the first leg of their last-32 clash in the Europa League on Thursday.

The visitors took the lead in the 37th minute when Memphis Depay converted from close range, but Midtjylland levelled just before the break through Pione Sisto.

The home side then took the lead in the 77th minute when Paul Onuachu found the bottom corner from outside the box, which was enough to secure a first-leg advantage.

Read how it all unfolded in Sports Mole's minute-by-minute live commentary of the action below.


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5.01pmEvening all! Sports Mole's live Europa League coverage continues from Denmark as FC Midtjylland welcome Manchester United for the first leg of their last-32 clash. Tonight is quite comfortably Midtjylland's highest-profile fixture in their history and they will be looking to claim a scalp against one of the world's biggest clubs. On paper, it should be an away win and a comfortable progression for the Reds, but Man United are currently going through a very difficult period under Louis van Gaal.

5.04pmIt will not come as much of a surprise that these two clubs have never met in a competitive match, but Midtjylland have faced English opposition on four occasions and have recorded two wins and suffered just one defeat. Earlier this season, the Danish outfit dumped Southampton out in the playoff round courtesy of a 2-1 aggregate victory, which included a 1-0 win in this very stadium.

5.07pmAs for Man United, they have faced Danish opposition on six previous occasions – recording four wins and suffering just one defeat. Their last three visits to Denmark have all been in the Champions League – beating Brondby in their trophy-winning 1998-99 season, losing at Copenhagen during the 2006-07 campaign and beating Aalborg 3-0 on their most recent trip - September 2008.

5.10pmRight, without further ado, let me bring you up-to-speed with the all-important team news. Van Gaal has made four changes to his XI and a certain Donald Love is in the team at right-back...

5.13pmTEAMS:

MID: Andersen; Hansen, Bodurov, Romer, Novak; Olsson, Sparv, Hassan; Sisto, Pusic, Kadlec

UNITED: De Gea; Love, Smalling, McNair, Blind; Herrera, Carrick; Depay, Mata, Lingard; Martial


5.16pmNo real surprises in the Midtjylland XI tonight, with experienced midfielder Jakob Poulsen missing out through suspension. Tim Sparv will skipper the hosts from the middle of the park, while there is also a start for on-loan Fulham defender Nikolay Bodurov. The highly-rated attacker Pione Sisto is also included, while Hull City fans might remember centre-forward Martin Pusic, who had a spell with the Tigers in 2011.

5.19pmAs for Man United, Van Gaal is without his skipper Wayne Rooney, who has a knee problem, which means that Anthony Martial will switch to the tip of the attack. Memphis Depay comes into a wide position, while Ander Herrera is selected ahead of Morgan Schneiderlin to partner Michael Carrick in the middle of midfield. The English side have a whole host of defensive problems and there will be a full debut for Donald Love at right-back, while Paddy McNair starts alongside Chris Smalling at centre-back.

Memphis Depay of Manchester United celebrates his team's 3-0 win in the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Sunderland at Old Trafford on September 26, 2015 in Manchester, United Kingdom.© Getty Images


5.22pmSo there we have it. The two teams are in and we are now little under 40 minutes from kickoff on this mild evening in Denmark. I shall speak about Man United a little bit later, but let's start with the home side, who are competing in the spring phase of a UEFA competition for the first time. Indeed, this season was also the first time that Midtjylland had made it through to the group stages of the Europa League.

5.25pmMidtjylland were drawn into Europa League Group D alongside Napoli, Club Brugge and Legia Warszawa. As expected, Italian side Napoli topped the group, winning all six of their matches, but it was Midtjylland that managed to grab second place ahead of Brugge. The Danish side only won two of their six matches, however, and qualified with seven points despite only scoring six goals.

5.28pmThey took two hammerings from Napoli (4-1 at home and 5-0 away) and Man United at full throttle would usually fancy their chances of a strong win tonight. That is simply not the case at the moment due to the Premier League side's troubles, but Midtjylland are currently without a win in their last four European games – losing three times in the process. You sense that they need to secure a positive result tonight to stand a chance of progressing from the second leg at Old Trafford.

Pione Sisto of FC Midtjylland (R) reacts after scoring against Club Brugge during the UEFA Europa League group D football match between FC Midtjylland vs Club Brugge KV in Herning, Denmark on December 10, 2015© Getty Images


5.32pmThe home side currently sit third in their domestic table, but have not played a league match since the start of December. Denmark's winter break does not finish until the end of this month and Midtjylland's last four matches have all been friendlies. Indeed, they have not played a competitive game since finishing their group-stage campaign with a 1-1 home draw against Club Brugge on December 10.

5.35pmAs for Man United, the Red Devils are competing in the Europa League for the first time since the 2011-12 season, when they reached the round of 16 before losing to an impressive Athletic Bilbao outfit. Van Gaal's side were handed an extremely favourable Champions League group, but it was Wolfsburg that topped Group B and PSV Eindhoven advancing to the last-16 stage in second spot.

5.38pmMan United only won two of their six Group B games and managed just seven goals. Eight points was enough to finish ahead of bottom-place CSKA Moscow though and the club may well see this competition as their best chance to qualify for next season's Champions League. In theory, they are among the favourites to win it, but you just do not know what Man United team is going to turn up.

Manchester United's English midfielder Jesse Lingard (35), Manchester United's Belgian midfielder Marouane Fellaini (27) react after the UEFA Champions League Group B second-leg football match VfL Wolfsburg vs Manchester United in Wolfsburg, central Germa© Getty Images


5.42pmNot only did Man United fail to win in their three Champions League away group games earlier this season, they are currently on a three-match losing streak in the Europa League. A welcome break from Premier League action sees the Red Devils face this game tonight, Shrewsbury Town in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Monday, before the return leg against Midtjylland next week.

5.45pmVan Gaal might well be glad to have a break from the Premier League after Saturday's 2-1 defeat at struggling Sunderland left his side in fifth in the table, six points off the top four. The pressure continues to build on the Dutchman, but despite a whole host of speculation, the experienced boss remains in charge and that will seemingly be the case until at least the end of the current season.

5.48pmWhile the Europa League cannot be compared to the Champions League in terms of size or importance, the standard of teams in this season's competition is very, very high. The likes of Tottenham Hotspur, Porto, Borussia Dortmund, Sevilla, Napoli, Bayer Leverkusen, Liverpool and Villarreal will all fancy their chances of winning it, while there are also a number of dark horses.

5.52pmInjuries, injuries and more injuries for Man United at the moment. The most high-profile of those is of course the skipper Rooney, who is facing up to six weeks on the sidelines with a knee problem. It is a massive blow for the Reds, who are not exactly blessed with options in the final third! David de Gea went down in the warm-up and looked to be a concern for this match, but he seems to be fit to start...

David de Gea is loving life during the Premier League game between Manchester United and Stoke on February 2, 2016© Getty Images


5.53pmBREAKING! Ignore that news on De Gea. The word was that the Spaniard would start, but it has been confirmed that Sergio Romero will now feature for the visitors between the sticks!


5.55pmPREDICTION! I fancy Man United to record a narrow win tonight. The home side will more than likely allow the visitors plenty of possession and it will be up to Van Gaal's team to break them down. Midtjylland might be a tough nut to crack on home soil, but I fancy Man United to win 2-1 here.

5.58pmConfirmation of the change for Man United and the two sides for tonight's match then...

MID: Andersen; Hansen, Bodurov, Romer, Novak; Olsson, Sparv, Hassan; Sisto, Pusic, Kadlec

UNITED: Romero; Love, Smalling, McNair, Blind; Herrera, Carrick; Depay, Mata, Lingard; Martial


0 minKICKOFF! Here we go then - the pre-match handshakes have been undertaken and the flags have been exchanged. Time for the football! It is the home side that kick us off at the MCH Arena...

2 min... as expected, there is a wonderful atmosphere inside the stadium, with both sets of supporters in fine voice. The home side look long from kickoff, but it goes straight out for a goal-kick and an early touch for Romero. Moments later, McNair is forced to hook clear following a through pass.

3 minMemphis carries the ball clear for Man United and looks to slide a pass into Martial, but the Frenchman slips at the vital moment and the home side can clear. Pretty open start to this match.

5 minA long throw-in from Hansen causes problems inside the Man United box and the visitors make a meal of a clearance, which is allowing the hosts to gain confidence. Sisto beats his man down the left before delivering, but there are no takers and Memphis eventually wins a free kick for the away side.

6 minBit of possession for Man United in the last minute or two, which is what they need!

7 minSmalling has just been allowed back on the field after waiting an eternity for the referee to wave him back on. I think the official thought that the ball needed to go out first? Bizarre scenes!

8 minCHANCE! First chance of the match as Lingard delivers a super pass into Depay, who takes one touch and attempts to find the bottom corner, but Hansen makes a fine block!

9 minSAVE! A low Man United corner is delivered towards the near post, where Mata makes contract, but the home side's goalkeeper is down to make a really smart stop.

11 minSAVE! Wonderful goalkeeping from Romero as the Man United stopper gets down to keep out a close-range header from Hansen. It is an excellent stop from the Argentine!

13 minIt has been a decent opening 13 minutes to this match, with both teams threatening to make the breakthrough. Neither defence looks particular comfortable under pressure at the moment.

15 minMan United just do not look comfortable when Midtjylland break with pace and Sisto has proved threatening in the opening 15 minutes. The same can be said for Memphis and Martial, however, who have combined well in the final third. The former, however, has been a little sloppy in possession.

17 minIt is easy to see why Midtjylland score so many goals from set pieces, but Man United have defended the high ball pretty well thus far. Lingard is the next player to break for Man United, but the midfielder cannot run away from two defenders. Still goalless with 17 minutes on the clock here.

18 minMemphis does brilliantly to turn away from Hansen, but the attacker takes too long to deliver and allows the full-back to make the challenge. From the resulting corner, Herrera rises and indeed makes contact, but his header was always over the crossbar. Half-chance, but no more than that.

21 minMartial is too good and too strong for the home side's back four and he manages to release a strike from inside the box, but Romer is on hand to make the block. Man United starting to settle here.

21 minCHANCE! Smalling rises above everyone to meet a Blind corner and it looks as if the centre-back will find the back of the net, but his effort is cleared en route to goal!

23 minHerrera turns into trouble and Kadlec is on hand to make the challenge, but the ball is fed to Sisto and Man United have players back to clear. Even game with 23 minutes on the clock here.

24 minPENALTY SHOUT! Martial goes down inside the box under a challenge from Hassan and the French forward wants a penalty, but the referee is not interested and points for a goal kick.

26 minPossession football from the home side in the last couple of moments here.

28 minYou sense that Man United will have chances to score tonight - especially on the counter-attack. Memphis, Martial and Lingard have all been dangerous, but we have not seen too much from Mata in the opening 28 minutes. The home side's threat here has mainly come from set pieces.

31 minThe home supporters are enjoying themselves at the moment and why not? Their team has matched Man United for the opening 31 minutes of this match. There are signs that the visitors are improving, but clear chances as a whole have been few and far between in this match tonight.

33 minHerrera again gets his head to a Blind corner, but everyone had come to the near post and the home side can clear down-field. Not too much from Midtjylland going forward at the moment.

35 minLittle over 10 minutes of the first period remaining and in truth, not too much is happening at the moment. Man United have control of the possession, but are struggling to create openings here.

35 minA dangerous cross from Blind causes problems inside the home side's box, but Martial cannot make clear contact with his head and the ball is cleared just when Mata was lining one up!

36 minSAVE! Andersen flies across his goal to keep out a powerful free kick from Memphis!

36 minSAVE! Man United get caught on the counter and Kadlec goes through one-on-one with the goalkeeper, but Romero stands tall and makes the save. Super stop once again there!

37 minGOAL! Midtjylland 0-1 Man United (Memphis)

38 minMan United take the lead run the 37th minute as Memphis taps home from close range after Lingard had delivered from the right. Memphis actually missed his first strike and fell to the floor, but the Dutchman managed to get enough contact on the ball to beat the home side's stopper!

41 minThe home side force a free kick in a good position as Herrera brings Romer to the deck...

41 min... Novak delivers towards the six-yard box, but Smalling is on hand to make the clearance.

43 minMan United are pretty comfortable at the moment as they pass and probe in the final third of the field. In truth, there is a massive gap between these two teams in terms of quality on the ball.

44 minGOAL! Midtjylland 1-1 Man United (Sisto)

45 minThe home side level in the latter stages of the first period as Sisto carries the ball towards the Man United box before slipping McNair and Herrera and then finding the bottom corner!

45 min+1HALF-TIME: Midtjylland 1-1 Man United

6.48pmSo there we have it. The referee brings the first period to a close with the two teams level at 1-1. Man United broke the deadlock in the 37th minute when Memphis notched from close range, but Midtjylland levelled the scores in the 44th minute courtesy of a fine finish from the highly-rated Sisto.

6.53pmSTATISTICS! Man United have dominated the possession with 58%, while they have had seven attempts - three of which were on target. The home side have also managed three attempts on target, however, and will feel that they deserve to be level at the break. No bookings to report thus far tonight.

6.58pmBENCH WATCH! Man United boss Van Gaal only really has kids on a very inexperienced bench tonight, but both Andreas Pereira and certainly Will Keane will fancy their chances of making a difference. As for Midtjylland, the hosts have options in the shape of Urena, Royer and Banggaard.

7.01pmMATCH PIC!

Jesse Lingard of Manchester United and Rilwan Hassan of FC Midtjylland compete for the ball on February 18, 2016© Getty Images


46 minRESTART! Here we go then - both sets of players re-join us on the pitch for the second period. Will we see more goals in Denmark? Stay with us to find out. Man United resume the action here...

47 min... no changes from either side at the break, which is not too much of a surprise. However, I suspect that both managers will have alterations in mind as the second period develops here.

48 minCHANCE! Martial does brilliantly to carry the ball into the home side's box before setting up Lingard, but the Englishman's strike is really poor - high and wide of the crossbar.

50 minLively start to the second period from both teams and I would be surprised if this finished 1-1. I backed 2-1 Man United before the match and I will stick with that based on what I have seen!

52 minKadlec embarks on a dangerous run down the Man United right, but Lingard does well to cover his full-back and the danger is cleared. This match is absolutely flying past at the moment tonight.

54 minSisto cuts inside Love and fires towards goal, but Romero is down to make the save.

54 minCHANCE! Wonderful chance for Mata this time as Memphis picks out the head of the Spaniard with a super cross, but his effort is wide of the post. Should have done a lot better!

56 minCROSSBAR! Wonderful chance for Man United to take the lead as Herrera picks out Lingard at the far post, but his effort hits the crossbar from close range! So unlucky there!

58 minGood spell for Man United at the moment as they continue to force the issue and the home side are just struggling to keep the ball. Little over 30 minutes of football remaining in this game.

58 minMemphis sets up Herrera this time, but the midfielder's effort is well wide of the post.

60 minThe home side have the chance to counter as another Man United attack breaks down, but Lingard is on hand to make the challenge. Play is then stopped following an injury to Novak!

60 minBOOKING! Love is booked for that challenge on Novak.

61 minMIDTJYLLAND SUB! Onuachu replaces Pusic for the home team.

62 minSAVE! Oh my word! What a save from Romero! Onuachu gets up above everyone inside the Man United box, but Romero flies across his goal to make a super stop!

65 minDe Gea is facing a spell on the sidelines, but Romero has been wonderful for Man United tonight. Those ahead of him, however, are just a little one-paced at the moment in Denmark.

67 minLove looks to thread a low pass into Lingard, but it is just too strong and the home side regain possession with their goalkeeper. Little over 20 minutes remaining and it is still all square here.

68 minMIDTJYLLAND SUB! Urena replaces Hassan for the home team.

68 minCHANCE! Man United are caught once again and Urena plays the ball into Sisto, who cuts inside before curling one towards the top corner, but his effort is wide of the post.

70 minSchneiderlin is about to enter the frame for Man United here.

71 minKadlec fires wide of the Man United post after another smart move from the home side.

72 minMAN UNITED SUB! Schneiderlin replaces Herrera for Man United.

74 minLittle over 15 minutes of this first leg remaining and it is very delicately poised in Denmark. A 1-1 draw would not be the worst result for Man United, but they would have wanted a win tonight.

76 minThe home side remain a threat here and the introduction of Urena has given Man United's patched-up defence some problems. You still get the feeling that there is a winning goal in this match.

77 minGOAL! Midtjylland 2-1 Man United (Onuachu)

78 minThe home side take the lead in the 77th minute as Onuachu finds the bottom corner from the edge of the box. Terrible defending from Mata, who just shirked the challenge with the big striker.

78 minMAN UNITED SUB! Pereira replaces Mata for the visitors.

80 minThe home supporters are having a wonderful time at the moment and who can blame them.

82 minSisto again beats Blind and fires one towards goal, but his effort is over the crossbar.

84 minLittle over five minutes of the first period remaining and Man United have not really responded to that set-back. In truth, it has been a very poor second-half performance from the visitors here.

85 minBOOKING! Lingard (Man United) is booked for a late challenge on Onuachu.

86 minMIDTJYLLAND SUB! Kadlec is replaced by Royer for the home side.

88 minVan Gaal sits on the bench and looks a beaten man. Could this be it for the Dutchman?

90 minCarrick meets a near-post corner from Pereira, but his header is over.

90 min+1Four additional minutes to be played in this match.

90 min+2Not an awful lot happening at the moment as the home team keep control of the ball.

90 min+3Lingard has a shot blocked and Novak hammers the ball down the field.

90 min+4BOOKING! Smalling (Man United) is booked for a poor challenge on Urena.

90 min+5Sisto fires the resulting free kick straight into the wall.

90 min+5FULL-TIME: FC Midtjylland 2-1 Man United

7.53pmWhat a night for the Danish champions, who beat a very poor Man United team 2-1 in the first leg of their last-32 clash in the Europa League. It is another disastrous night for Van Gaal, with more questions on his future bound to follow. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for the action. Until next time!

Manchester United's English midfielder Jesse Lingard (35), Manchester United's Belgian midfielder Marouane Fellaini (27) react after the UEFA Champions League Group B second-leg football match VfL Wolfsburg vs Manchester United in Wolfsburg, central Germa
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