Man United collapse in Copenhagen leaving them bottom of Group A

Group A

FC Copenhagen 4-3 Manchester United

Manchester United’s Champions League hopes are in tatters after they twice threw away leads before 17-year-old Roony Bardghji’s late winner saw Erik ten Hag’s side slump to a 4-3 defeat in Copenhagen.

United are now bottom of Group A and, with Bayern Munich already guaranteed to finish top after beating Galatasaray on Wednesday, the Premier League side face a three-way battle with the Turkish outfit and Copenhagen for a place in the knockout stages.

A defeat in Istanbul against Galatasaray – a team they have never beaten away from home in the Champions League – on November 29 will see United exit at the group stage. Even if they win that game, United may also need a result against Bayern in their final group match to qualify.

It all started so well for United, who were 2-0 up after 28 minutes thanks to two close-range finishes from Rasmus Hojlund on his return to his former club.

But Marcus Rashford’s red card for a late tackle following a VAR review precipitated a collapse from United, who conceded goals from Mohamed Elyounoussi and Diogo Goncalves to find themselves level at half-time.

Marcus Rashford is dismissed following a VAR review

Bruno Fernandes put United back in front with a controversial penalty but United crumbled yet again, with Lukas Lerager scoring an equaliser in the 83rd minute before Bardghji announced himself to the world by scoring a dramatic winner four minutes later.

After back-to-back 3-0 home defeats last week, United had eased the pressure on themselves and their beleaguered manager, Ten Hag, with a gritty 1-0 win at Fulham on Saturday.

With eight defeats already to their name this season, United needed to use that result to kickstart their spluttering campaign. Instead, they were the ones that fell victim to a dramatic late strike, while their defence shipped three or more goals in a match for the seventh time this season.

Ten Hag will surely wonder what could have been, with United ahead after just three minutes after Hojlund tapped in Scott McTominay’s cross at the end of a well-worked move.

United were coasting after the Denmark international scored again when Alejandro Garnacho’s shot was parried in his direction, but Rashford’s fateful stamp on Elias Jelert changed the course of the match – and potentially United’s season.

The forward – recalled to the side following injury – inadvertently caught the Copenhagen defender on the ankle as he looked to protect the ball and was dismissed following a VAR review.

Roony Bardghji scores the winning goal for the hosts.

United almost conceded immediately when Fernandes flicked the resulting free-kick onto his own crossbar, but it didn’t take long for Copenhagen to halve the deficit as Elyounoussi poked home Goncalves’ pull back.

The Portuguese midfielder then scored from the spot after Maguire was penalised for handball, with both of the hosts’ goals coming amid 13 minutes of stoppage time due to a medical emergency in the crowd.

United reasserted some control after half-time and went back in front in debatable circumstances, with Lerager penalised for handball following another VAR check despite the ball hitting him from a minimal distance and appearing to deflect onto him via Maguire’s hand.

Fernandes grabbed the opportunity emphatically and looked to have scored his fourth winning goal of the season – only for United’s resistance to disintegrate at the end of the half yet again.

Lerager earned his redemption after Diogo Dalot lost his simple run at the back post before Bardghji emerged from the bench to score his 10th goal of a breakout season – and heap the pressure back upon Ten Hag’s shoulders.

Manchester United return to Premier League action on Saturday when they welcome Luton to Old Trafford – kick-off 3pm. Up next for FC Copenhagen is a home match against Brondby in the Danish Superliga on Sunday – kick-off 11am.

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