Granada's dream is at the expense of a miracle

A great goal from Rashford and a rigorous penalty 'in extremis' transformed by Bruno Fernandes leave the tie very on track for United. Granada lacked tusk.


A high-carat goal from Rashford and a debatable penalty brought Granada back to reality. Manchester United showed potential and stuck in their visit to Los Cármenes and left the Nasrid dream hanging by a thread and at the expense of a miracle in the second leg. The challenge was huge from the outset. Now, with a 0-2 in the first leg and having to go to Old Trafford, it demands the greatest of feats.

Diego Martínez's team has done nothing but tear down walls and climb mountains that are unapproachable since he landed in this Europa League. And the Galician coach and his footballers will cling tightly to that mentality of steel next Thursday.

Savor every last sip of this European adventure. That was the motto with which the Nasrid team started on its first continental trip back in September. And with that intention he planted himself on the grass last night. He did not start off on the wrong foot, far from it, since he managed to disconnect Bruno Fernandes from the game, who only came into play in the final stretch of the meeting. But he did not detect Rashford's unchecking a few seconds into the half hour of play. The speedy British attacker multiplied the challenge with sublime control and definition. Lindelöf had all the time in the world to look at the horizon and launch a millimeter delivery that Manchester United's '10', after beating Domingos Duarte in the race, turned into gold.Until then, Rui Silva had not been seen. The English team commanded the ball and the game but the Nasrids joined lines and limited the spaces to minimize a United that has been devastating in the open all season.

Granada showed their nails before the break. And he did it from a set piece. Yangel hit the post with a precise Montoro service and the back corner ended with a shot from Soldado that narrowly went wide. This is how Diego Martínez's team reached the intermission, letting his powerful rival know that he still had faith, courage and legs.

Y legs continued to wear Yangel upon his return from the dressing room. The Venezuelan midfielder multiplied in defensive tasks and led the rojiblancos' attempt to react. In his boots a dangerous counterattack from Granada was born that ended the visitors' rear intercepting a dangerous Neva center. He also showed the power of his left-handed Kenedy, but De Gea responded well and successfully saved two hard shots from the Brazilian, who did not have his best day. Once again Granada had plenty of will, but it lacked the fang to put De Gea in real trouble and really hurt his rival.

The search for a tie served the Andalusians to move United away from Rui Silva. For many minutes Solskjaer's team gave unmistakable signs of being satisfied with the 0-1. Granada managed to keep him at bay until the final minutes of the crash.

The 'Red Devils' only stepped into the local area twice in the entire second half. In the first the goalkeeper won the duel hand-to-hand with his compatriot Bruno Fernandes. In the second and last relevant action of the clash, another Portuguese player was added to the list of protagonists, in this case the referee, Artur Dias, who pointed out a rigorous penalty for a slap from Eteki to Fernandes when the game was dying. The rojiblancas protests came to nothing. The referee reaffirmed his decision and the United star did not waste the gift and left the tie very on track.

The 0-2 with which he ended the scoreboard and his greater physical and technical potential reaffirm the favoritism of the British with a view to next week's second leg at Old Trafford. Diego Martínez's team ended the game with the feeling that the punishment suffered was disproportionate. But this indomitable spirit Granada looked Manchester United in the eye for many minutes and will try to squeeze its minimal options in English territory. The semi-finals are only within reach of a miracle.

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