Manchester United kept their Champions League knockout phase hopes alive following a dramatic 1-0 win over FC Copenhagen at Old Trafford this evening.
Erik ten Hag’s side were seemingly cruising to a goalless draw when nothing less than securing three points would have sufficed following back-to-back opening defeats — 4-3 at Bayern Munich and 2-3 v Galatasaray — to start this season’s competition.
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Their first-half performance was tepid. Copenhagen, though, were unlucky not to be in front. The second half couldn’t have been more scripted. First, a goal from an unlikely source, Harry Maguire heading United in front with 18 minutes remaining.
However, in the final seconds, Scott McTominay conceded a penalty before André Onana produced his very own moment of redemption with a well-taken save to deny Jordan Larsson whose father Henrik once shone in Man Utd colours.
Maguire’s effort, his first under Ten Hag, will steal the headlines given where it leaves them heading into matchday four. At one stage it felt like his future at the record English champions was nonexistent but as it turns out he’s somewhat of a difference-maker.
One scored, one saved.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) October 24, 2023
To date, he’s played 37 times under Ten Hag in all competitions, starting 20 times and completing the full 90 minutes on each occasion. He’s been on the victorious side 16 times while suffering four losses, giving him an 80-win percentage.
Man Utd’s defensive record in those games reads 18 goals conceded (0.9 per game) or 1 goal every 100 minutes, and they have kept nine clean sheets. They needed every fibre of Onana’s being to consolidate tonight’s shutout.
Much maligned since turning out for the Red Devils after joining from Inter Milan this summer it could ultimately be looked back on as a turning point.
“I’m just doing my job, the most important thing is to win against a tough team,” he told TNT Sports.
“I am happy for the victory, we did a good game and a big goal from Harry [Maguire]. We are Manchester United. We are a big club, big players. It’s just a matter of time, now we have to continue like this. I have no doubt we will make it.”