• Manager Ten Haag named a strong line-up with Ronaldo leading the attack
Manchester United came from behind to snatch a crucial 3-2 away win against Cypriot outfit Omonia in the Europa League yesterday thanks to a second half brace by Marcus Rashford.
Anthony Martial also scored while Karim Ansarifard and Nikolas Panagiotou netted for the home side as United claimed a narrow win on their first ever trip to play a Cypriot team. On a balmy night at Nicosia’s 23,000 capacity GSP Stadium, the Red Devils went a goal down in the first half but fought back for a morale-boosting victory after being demolished 6-3 by cross-town rivals Manchester City at the weekend.
Erik Ten Haag named a strong line-up with Ronaldo leading the attack and Brazilian summer signing Casemiro anchoring the midfield. And the Red Devils got off to a dominant start, largely controlling the ball for the opening period against a side managed by former Celtic boss Neil Lennon. Right-winger Antony nearly got the breakthrough in the 28th minute, cutting inside and unleashing a long-range shot that was parried away by Omonia goalkeeper Fabiano. It looked like United were beginning to turn the screw when they were awarded a free kick outside Omonia’s area in the 34th minute.
Christian Erikssen fired it in but Omonia managed to scramble it away. The ball fell to Tyrell Malacia who was then robbed by Omonia’s Brazilian forward Bruno. Three Omonia players broke clear before Bruno tapped it across the front of goal for Ansarifard to tuck it away. United came out stronger in the second half with Rashford coming on for the anonymous Jadon Sancho and Luke Shaw replacing Malacia. And it paid immediate dividends, with Bruno Fernandes getting a shot on goal before setting up Rashford to level the match in the 53rd minute.
Ronaldo cut a frustrated figure up front, but United continued to drive forward, creating more chances as the second half progressed. Ten minutes after levelling, United went ahead when the newly introduced Anthony Martial tapped in with his second touch of the game, seizing on an assist from Rashford.
The home supporters jeered loudly when referee Joao Pinheiro of Portugal waved away an Omonia claim for handball, a decision confirmed by VAR.
Ronaldo’s woes continued, however, with the Portuguese star hitting the post from within the six yard box with an open goal, one of a hatful of missed chances by the 37-year-old. Minutes later Rashford latched onto a pass from Ronaldo to double his tally.
Omonia were not finished, though, Panagiotou getting a goal back in the 87th minute. United created more chances, with Brazilian midfielder Fred forcing a save from Fabiano in the dying minutes.