Manchester United needed an extra-time penalty from Bruno Fernandes to scrape into the Europa League semifinals after beating Copenhagen 1-0 on Monday.
In sweltering heat, United’s young team controlled the lion’s share of possession but had a hard time creating clear chances until Andreas Bjelland brought down Anthony Martial in the penalty area. Fernandes blasted the ball past the otherwise excellent goalkeeper Karl-Johan Johnsson to give United the 95th-minute lead.
Mason Greenwood and Fernandes hit the woodwork with shots during normal time and earlier video reviews cost United two of its best opportunities to score.
First, VAR scratched off a United penalty for offside in the buildup. Just before the break Greenwood put the ball in the net after a lightning break down the right flank but the replay showed he’d been just offside when Marcus Rashford’s pass was played.
That decision was a particular blow for United after the apparent breakthrough goal came just as the English team had seemed to be getting frustrated and taking increasingly speculative shots against a Danish team playing its first ever European quarterfinal.
Copenhagen striker Mohamed Daramy muscled his way past the United defence to shoot in the 17th but had his shot blocked by Harry Maguire, and Jens Stage’s follow-up was blocked, too.
United play five-time Europa League winner Sevilla or English club Wolverhampton on Sunday in the semifinals.
Lukaku, Barella lead Inter
In other quarterfinals played in Dusseldorf, Romelu Lukaku scored one goal and set up another as Inter Milan defeated a tenacious Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 to reach the semifinals.
Lukaku was the driving force from the start, imposing himself on the game and disrupting the Leverkusen defence to keep Inter in the hunt for its first trophy in nine years.
When Nicolo Barella gave Inter the lead in the 15th minute it was off a rebound from a shot of Lukaku’s which had been blocked. Six minutes later, Lukaku scored after a link up with Ashley Young.
Just as Inter threatened to overwhelm Leverkusen, the German team kept itself in the game. Kai Havertz played a one-two with Kevin Volland and fired the ball past goalkeeper Samir Handanovic to cut the gap to a single goal four minutes after Lukaku scored.
A video review stopped Inter extending their lead, overturning a penalty given for handball against Leverkusen left back Daley Sinkgraven. Leverkusen pushed hard to level in the second half but that opened up chances for Inter and Leverkusen goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky was called on to make repeated
Inter play Shakhtar Donetsk or Basel in the semifinals on August 17.