GRANADA 0-2 MANCHESTER UNITED: MARCUS RASHFORD, BRUNO FERNANDES HAND UNITED THE ADVANTAGE IN SPAIN

Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes from the penalty spot saw Manchester United ease to victory over Granada in their Europa League quarter-final away leg.

Rashford raced diagonally in from the left flank to latch onto a long ball down the middle from Victor Lindelof and controlled the ball sublimely before slipping it past Rui Silva.

The only time the hosts came close to equalising was when Yangel Herrera volleyed at goal from an acute angle and hit the outside of the post.

Fernandes extended United’s advantage in the 89th minute, just about scoring from spot after he was caught in the face off the ball by substitute Yan Brice Eteki.The only worry for United will be the absence of Scott McTominay, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw for the second leg due to suspension after they all picked up yellow cards.

TALKING POINT – THE WEAKNESS IN VAR

Many of us will never take to VAR but on the assumption it is here to stay, one would have to concede that the implementation of it has gotten a lot better over the course of the season. Penalties are no longer given when a ball is rifled into a player from a yard away and while there are still head-scratching decisions like the Jude Bellingham non-goal the controversies are fewer and further between.

A player diving to the ground after an inadvertent brush in the face, as Fernandes did on this occasion, cannot be overturned though as replays will show there was contact and cannot decipher really on the strength of it.

If governing bodies are keen to stamp this out, and there is little suggestion they are in truth, perhaps a retrospective judgement could be made which would see the offending player receive a future suspension. Most likely, it will remain a frustrating aspect of the game which players will continue to call upon, especially when stakes are high.

MAN OF THE MATCH: VICTOR LINDELOF (MAN UNITED)

To be fair he did not have a great deal to do, but like Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire he was rock solid in defence for the Red Devils.

He also was at the heart of the key moment of the game when he saw Rashford’s run from the left flank and hit a perfectly weighted ball behind the Granada defence giving the United striker the chance to score – albeit needing a marvellous touch.

The United centre back pairing will never be looked upon like Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic or Steve Bruce and Gary Pallister but they at least look safe on occasions like this where the only chance of conceding would be from a mistake.

PLAYER RATINGS:

Granada: Rui Silva 5, Victor Diaz 5, Duarte 6, Vallejo 7, Neva 6, Yangel Herrera 6, Gonalons 6, Montoro 6, Puertas 6, Soldado 5, Kenedy 6Subs: Sanchez 6, Foulquier 5, Machis 6, Eteki 4, Suarez 6

Man United: De Gea 7, Wan-Bissaka 7, Lindelof 8*, Maguire 7, Shaw 6, Pogba 6, McTominay 7, James 7, Fernandes 7, Greenwood 6, Rashford 7Subs: Telles 7, Cavani 5, Matic 6, van de Beek 6.

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS:

31’ GOAL FOR UNITED! Lindelof plays a long ball down the middle for Rashford who runs diagonally in from the wing to beat the offside trap and controls first time with an exquisite touch , allowing him to slide home past Rui Silva.

41’ Off the post! From nowhere, Granada clip the outside of the post after Montoro’s free kick was volleyed on the right wing by Herrera.

90’ PENALTY FOR UNITED! No one appealed for a spot kick but United have one. VAR are looking at it. Fernandes fell in the box clutching his head after contact with Eteki and will now take the kick.

90’ GOAL FOR UNITED! The weakest penalty goal you will see. Rui Silva guessed right and Fernandes didn’t even connect well with it but it squeezed under the keeper’s body.

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