Fellaini heads United past Celta and into Europa League final
Manchester United 1-1 Celta Vigo (Agg. 2-1)
Manchester United are just one win away from Champions League qualification after booking their place in the Europa League final with a 1-1 draw on the night and 2-1 aggregate victory over Celta Vigo.
Maroune Fellaini set United on their way, with Facundo Roncaglia’s equaliser at Old Trafford giving the hosts a late scare, but they held on to advance into a May 24 final in Stockholm against Ajax, who progressed past Lyon in their last-four tie.
Celta started the game the stronger and could well have taken the lead four minutes in when Iago Aspas cut into the box from the right before firing a strike at goal that Sergio Romero did well to tip over.
However, any Old Trafford nerves were calmed in the 17th minute when Fellaini put United ahead, meeting Marcus Rashford’s excellent delivery at the far post to head in past Sergio Alvarez.
Pablo Hernandez saw a curled effort from distance tipped over by Romero 10 minutes later, while Daniel Wass headed a Pione Sisto cross just wide before the break as Celta attempted to get themselves back into the tie.
And Celta went close to scoring just moments after the restart when Hugo Mallo aimed a low drive at goal from a tight angle that Romero did well to turn away.
A few minutes later and it was Alvarez who was forced into action as Henrikh Mkhitaryan rifled a strike goalbound, but the Celta keeper was able to palm the ball over.
A good chance fell Celta’s way on the hour-mark when Sisto picked out former Manchester City striker John Guidetti in the middle, but he was unable to land his strike on target.
Rashford had an opportunity to effectively kill off the tie for United after 64 minutes, turning inside the box before finding some space, but his dinked effort was saved by Alvarez, who was then on hand to stop Fellaini at his near post shortly after.
Celta continued to threaten as time wore on but were unable to take their chances as Jozabed hit wide from distance and Guidetti headed off target from close range.
But Roncaglia did manage to find the back of the net for the visitors five minutes from time, heading Theo Bongonda’s cross into the far corner to set up a tense finale.
However, United were able to hold on to book their place in the final, with Guidetti miskicking right in front of goal on the full-time whistle — shortly after Roncaglia and Eric Bailly had both picked up red cards following a late melee.