United steamrollers Roma

Floodgates open: Bruno Fernandes, right, scores Manchester United’s first goal in the 6-2 rout of Roma .  

Bruno Fernandes and Edinson Cavani scored two each as Manchester United took a giant step towards the Europa League final with a 6-2 drubbing of AS Roma in their semifinal first leg on Thursday.

In the other semifinal, Villarreal claimed a narrow advantage against Arsenal with a 2-1 home victory, although it will feel frustrated at letting the London club off the hook.

At Old Trafford, Fernandes put United ahead in the ninth minute after being set up by Cavani but Roma cancelled the opener six minutes later with a Lorenzo Pellegrini penalty after a handball by Paul Pogba.

Former Manchester City forward Edin Dzeko put the Italian side ahead but Roma was forced into making three injury substitutions in the opening half and struggled without fresh legs after the break.

Cavani scored in the 48th minute to get United back on level terms and the Uruguayan striker struck again before a Fernandes penalty, Pogba header and Mason Greenwood goal completed an impressive turnaround.

At Villarreal, first-half goals by Manu Trigueros and Raul Albiol put the Spanish club in command and it looked bleak for the visitors when Dani Ceballos was sent off just before the hour mark. Arsenal got a lifeline when Nicolas Pepe converted a 73rd-minute penalty.

Villarreal, coached by former Arsenal manager and Europe League specialist Unai Emery, has maintained its 100% home record in the competition this season. But the tie remains delicately balanced ahead of next week’s return in London

The results: Semifinals (first leg): Manchester United 6 (Fernandes 9 & 71-pen, Cavani 48 & 64, Pogba 75, Greenwood 86) bt Roma 2 (Pellegrini 15-pen, Dzeko 34); Villarreal 2 (Trigueros 5, Albiol 29) bt Arsenal 1 (Pepe 73-pen).

Second legs on May 6.

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Printable version | Jun 15, 2021 4:34:13 PM |

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