Manchester United's Unexpected Heroes Maguire and Onana Defeat Copenhagen

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Manchester United’s Unexpected Heroes Maguire and Onana Defeat Copenhagen

In a memorable night at Old Trafford on October 24, 2023, Manchester United marked their first Champions League victory this season by defeating FC Copenhagen 1-0. It was a fitting tribute to the legendary Bobby Charlton, who passed away at the age of 86 just days earlier.

The unlikely heroes of the night were Harry Maguire and Andre Onana. Maguire, often criticized, redeemed himself with a crucial header, breaking the deadlock 18 minutes before the final whistle.

Onana, the Cameroonian goalkeeper, cemented his status as a hero by saving a late penalty from Jordan Larsson.

Manchester United had previously suffered back-to-back losses in their opening two Champions League group games, a historic first for the club. However, this win reignited their hopes of advancing to the last 16.

Before kick-off, a moving tribute was paid to the club’s icon, Bobby Charlton. United’s manager, Erik ten Hag, laid a wreath in the center-circle, followed by a minute of silence in honor of the 1966 World Cup winner.

Ten Hag encouraged his players to draw inspiration from Charlton’s legacy after a challenging start to the season.

Despite the emotional pre-game atmosphere, Manchester United’s performance in the first half left fans frustrated. It was only after the introduction of Danish international Christian Eriksen that the tide began to turn.

The Danish champions came close to taking an early lead when Mohamed Elyounoussi’s cross hit the post, leaving the home crowd anxious. It took a couple of more near-misses by Copenhagen to finally wake Manchester United from their first-half slumber.

In the end, it was a night to remember at Old Trafford as the team paid tribute to a legend and secured a much-needed victory.

Onana proves his worth

Andre Onana, who had committed costly errors in Manchester United’s previous Champions League losses to Bayern Munich and Galatasaray, showcased his worth in their recent match. The Cameroonian goalkeeper, acquired for a hefty £47 million in July, proved his mettle on the pitch.

Onana’s first crucial save thwarted Lukas Lerager’s attempt to find the top corner of the net. Moments later, Elias Achouri squandered an opportunity with a wayward volley, missing the target despite being unmarked at the far post.

While Rasmus Hojlund is considered the future of Danish international football, he struggled to make an impact against his former club.

His most significant contribution was setting up Christian Eriksen for a powerful low shot, brilliantly parried by former Liverpool goalkeeper Kamil Grabara.

Marcus Rashford’s recent dip in form had been a major factor in Manchester United’s struggles this season. The English forward, who scored 30 goals last season, has managed only one goal this campaign.

He missed a golden opportunity to open the scoring when one-on-one with Grabara, mishandling the ball.

Substitute Alejandro Garnacho found himself in a similar situation but failed to capitalize. Instead, it was the center-back, Harry Maguire, who came to the rescue, ensuring a fitting farewell to Bobby Charlton with a victory.

Maguire, who had fallen out of favor during manager Erik ten Hag’s first season in charge, seized the opportunity created by a series of defensive injuries.

He scored a powerful header, meeting Eriksen’s cross, and breaking the deadlock with 18 minutes left on the clock.

Despite several opportunities to extend their lead through Garnacho and Scott McTominay, Manchester United failed to capitalize.

In the dying moments of the game, McTominay’s high foot on Mohamed Elyounoussi resulted in a dangerous free-kick for the opposition.

Jordan Larsson, the son of former Manchester United striker Henrik Larsson, took the spot-kick. However, Onana’s brilliant save denied Larsson’s powerful effort, sparking jubilant celebrations among the United faithful.

The victory propelled Manchester United to third place in Group A, surpassing Copenhagen and closing the gap on Galatasaray by just one point.

Meanwhile, Bayern Munich moved closer to securing qualification with a 3-1 victory over Galatasaray, marking their third win in three games.

Reference

https://www.thedailystar.net/sports/football/news/man-utd-beat-copenhagen-thanks-unlikely-heroes-maguire-onana-3452196

https://www.goal.com/en-in/lists/man-utd-player-ratings-vs-copenhagen-andre-onana-harry-maguire/bltf42294dd262fffd3

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