Manchester United came from behind to earn a convincing 6-2 win over AS Roma in the first-leg of their Europa League semi final on Thursday night.
Both the sides traded early goals in the first half, Fernandes gave United a perfect start in their semi-final with Italian side Roma when he swept home Cavani’s first-time lay-off.
Paul Pogba’s handball allowed Lorenzo Pellegrini to equalise before the Roma skipper’s pass allowed former Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko to score his sixth goal in five Old Trafford appearances to turn the tie on its head by half-time.
But United rallied after the break. Cavani levelled with a superb first-time effort before tapping the hosts back in front when substitute keeper Antonio Mirante pushed Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s angled shot into his path.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men were in no mood to let their advantage slip a second time, although it took a fortunate penalty for what seemed to be an innocuous Chris Smalling tackle on Cavani to give Fernandes the chance add a fourth from the spot.
Pogba then powered home a precise header from Fernandes’ cross before Greenwood ran on to Cavani’s pass and drove home United’s sixth, making them the first side to score six goals in a major European semi-final since Real Madrid in the 1964 European Cup.
“We don’t feel the job is done but this was a good job done,” said Solskjær
“The two goals we gave Roma were junior, schoolboy errors that shouldn’t happen at this level. We said that at half-time and we corrected it. The players didn’t lose their heads and their character showed when they came back out. We managed to get ourselves together and we took our chances. I was very pleased with the response. The second half was very good.”
Paulo Fonseca, Roma coach: “It’s difficult to explain how the same team that did so well in the first half had that kind of second half. It’s hard to play against a side like United without having the substitutions. It’s positive to reach this stage of the competition anyway, and also to play like we did in the first half. But in the second half we got everything wrong.”
Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelöf, Maguire, Shaw; McTominay, Fred (Matić 83); Rashford (Greenwood 76), Bruno Fernandes (Mata 89), Pogba; Cavani
Roma: Pau López (Mirante 28); Smalling, Cristante, Ibañez; Karsdorp, Diawara, Veretout (Villar 5), Spinazzola (Bruno Peres 37); Pellegrini, Mkhitaryan; Džeko
The next second leg takes place in Rome next Thursday, but before then there are league games on Sunday: Manchester United host Liverpool while Roma travel to Sampdoria in Serie A.