In pictures: Copenhagen v Man Utd
Manchester United are staring a Champions League group-stage exit in the face after suffering a nightmare 4-3 defeat against FC Copenhagen. United led twice at the Parken Stadion but conceded two late goals to leave Erik ten Hag’s side on the brink of humilation.
The Red Devils were cruising early on through a Rasmus Hojlund brace, increasing his Champions League tally to five goals this season.
But a Marcus Rashford red card after a VAR check turned the tide, and before half-time, Copenhagen were level through Mohamed Elyounoussi and Diogo Goncalves’ penalty.
Bruno Fernandes produced another captain’s contribution to restore United’s lead from the spot on 69 minutes, but United couldn’t respond to two goals from Lukas Lerager and Roony Bardghji in the final 10 minutes.
Ten Hag’s game plan perfect
After another disappointing result, Erik ten Hag will come under intensified pressure, but it would be more than unfair to blame this one on the Dutchman.
His players executed the game plan to perfection before Rashford’s harsh red card turned the game on its head.
United were solid in defence, energetic and calm in midfield and sharp in attack at the centre of a cauldron of noise at the Parken Stadion.
Too many performances have been below-par this season. However, tonight, there is a serious case to put the result down to bad luck.
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Mentality problems still rife
United will have felt hard done by the red card decision and penalty moments later, but they should have had enough quality to maintain a two-goal lead until half-time.
It’s been a common occurrence under Ten Hag. Well, since the dressing room lost Sir Alex Ferguson’s character, in fact.
When the going gets tonight, United tend to crumble. That happened in an incredible 15-minute period in Copenhagen.
And just when Ten Hag’s side got back into it through Bruno Fernandes’ second-half penalty, another collapse arrived in the form of two late goals.
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Hojlund rips into Dalot
Hojlund looks born to play on the biggest stage at United, scoring five Champions League goals in four games this season.
His first-half brace saw United cruising, but he was once again let down by poor defending, similarly in the 3-2 defeat against Galatasaray.
And his frustrations boiled over after Lukas Lerager made it 3-3 on 83 minutes, screaming at Diogo Dalot, who lost his man on the cross.
Hojlund has been one of the Champions League’s best players this term but he is now on the brink of an early exit.
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Group A exit looks imminent
United showed plenty of fight under difficult circumstances in the Danish capital. But ultimately, they tasted defeat for the ninth time in 17 games this season.
Ten Hag’s side are bottom of Group A with just three points from four games. They sit a point behind Galatasaray and Copenhagen and nine behind leaders Bayern Munich, who have already qualified for the last 16.
It leaves United needing to beat Galatasaray in Istanbul for any hope of progression. They must then host Bayern at Old Trafford while hoping Galatasaray vs Copenhagen goes their way.
The Old Trafford giants look increasingly likely to be dropping into the Europa League at best.
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