Manchester United will have the chance to add the Europa League to their bulging trophy cabinet after edging through
a frantic, tempestuous semi-final against Celta Vigo.
After 14 matches that have taken Jose Mourinho’s men to Holland, Turkey, Ukraine, France, Russia, Belgium and Spain,
the long, arduous continental campaign has brought a shot at glory.
Reaching the May 24 finale was far from straightforward, though, as Marouane Fellaini’s first-half header was
cancelled out by Facundo Roncaglia five minutes from the end of the semi-final second leg.
The drama did not end there as Celta’s goalscorer and Eric Bailly were sent off as tempers frayed, with United
holding out for a 1-1 draw that saw them reach the Stockholm finale 2-1 on aggregate.
The relief was as clear as the joy at the final whistle as United moved within a victory of the only major trophy to
have eluded them in their success-laden history.
Europa League glory also offers Champions League qualification – United’s best chance of returning to Europe’s top
table given their Premier League struggles – but Ajax are likely to prove as stern a test as Celta.
Few could have foreseen such a nervy ending when Fellaini headed home Marcus Rashford’s fine cross, but Celta’s
efforts were rewarded by a late goal from Roncaglia – a player sent off along with Bailly moments later.
Former Manchester City striker John Guidetti wasted a gilt-edged chance to turn the tie around entirely with the
last kick of the game, but United now have the chance to add the Europa League to this season’s Community Shield and
EFL Cup triumphs.
Celta’s performance was a far cry from their meek display on home soil, attacking with vim and vigour from the
outset as they looked to cancel out United’s 1-0 first-leg advantage.