Another Bruno Fernandes penalty - this time in extra-time - was enough to take Manchester United into the semi-finals of the Europa League, where they meet either Sevilla or Wolves.
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But the score does not tell the tale of a throbbing, slithering game that from about 30 minutes in was superbly engrossing and entertaining.
At no point of the first half were Copenhagen in control, but they had a period during which they made United look extremely uncomfortable at the back - though were not able to create anything.
But having already been denied a penalty for a foul on Anthony Martial because Harry Maguire failed to note that he was offside, they were then denied a goal, scored with characteristic competence and composure by Mason Greenwood, who was fractionally offside.
Manchester United's Paul Pogba reacts after a challenge against FC Copenhagen
Image credit: Getty Images
United dominated the second half, both Greenwood and Fernandes hitting the post, but Copenhagen also had good situations, and were guilty of overplaying in the best of them, Aaron Wan-Bisska blocking Bryan Oviedo’s shot when Jonas Wind ought to have taken one already.
But realising that Copenhagen’s players were exhausted enough to allow Juan Mata to run by them, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer brought his little man on for extra-time, and it was not long before he made a crucial difference, starting and contributing to the move that led to the brilliant Martial being fouled inside the box. The referee pointed to the spot, and Fernandes stuck the ball home with extreme prejudice.
United ought to have made the game safe, but superb goalkeeping from Karl-Johan Johnsson somehow repelled them. But they are through, and look potential winners - if they can play better than this.
Are United playing the right formation? It United's 4-2-3-1 affords them one less attacker than they should have - all the more so given that attacker is Paul Pogba. United are at their best when he is close to the box and close to Bruno Fernandes, so though a tweak to 4-3-3 sounds minor, it makes a major difference to their play.
Paul Pogba during Manchester United vs FC Copenhagen
Image credit: Getty Images
MAN OF THE MATCH
Anthony Martial (Manchester United) Karl-Johan Johnsson had a very good night, but United gave him saving opportunities he ought never to have had, and ultimately he would be a mawkish selection, given it was Martial's brilliance that decided the game. It's taken a while, but he is there.
Man United: Romero 6, Wan-Bissaka 6, Bailly 7, Maguire 7, Williams 7, Fred 6, Pogba 7, Fernandes 7, Greenwood 6, Martial 8, Rashford 5. Subs: Mata 8, Lindelof 7, Lingard 6.
Copenhagen: Johnsson 8, Varela 6, Nelsson 7, Bjelland 7, Boilesen 6, Stage 7, Zeca 6, Pep Biel 5, Wind 7, Falk 8, Daramy 6. Subs: Bengtsson 6, Bartolec 6, Oviedo 7, Mudrazija 6, Kaufman 6, Boving 6.
45’ - GOAL! Manchester United 1-0 Copenhagen (Greenwood) He said what he said! Rashford nods a bouncing ball into space with Copenhagen pushed up, and Greenwood speeds onto it. He's got options in the middle, but he's too good and in too good a position to use them, gliding into the box to slots another expert's finish into the far corner. That was coming; not for long, but nevertheless.
45+1’ - Manchester United 0-0 Copenhagen GREENWOOD WENT TOO EARLY! Just, but nevertheless.
64’ - FLFGSELNLO! Fernandes gets a little space on the ball, 25 yards out, and very deliberately smashes a shot that skips off the turf, canes Johnsson, and crahses against the far post.
66’ - OH MY DAYS! This is brilliant from Copenhagen! Lovely skill down the flank from Falk, who looks a real player - he skins two men in one, then crosses ... and Wind is going to score! But no! He gives it One more! Oviedo is going to score! But no! Wan-Bissaka strong-stands and blocks the ball to safety! What a passage of play!
84’ - WHAT A SAVE! Martial gets on the ball outside the box, and you know what's coming: he plays a one-two off Williams, opening his body all the while to unfurl a curler from 20 yards that's headed for far side-netting ... but Johnsson hurls himself across his goal to tip away!
90+1’ - Fantastic behaviour! Martial runs at the Copenhagen box, floating past two challenges a bit like he did while scoring his debut goal against Liverpool! He's in! But what a challenge from Nelsson, who extends a leg just as he shoots!
93’ - WHAT A MISS! Mata wafts infield and Copenhagen just allow him to, so he caresses a lovely ball into Martial, who allows it across him, beats his man and looks certain to score, but as he opens his bodsy, Johnsson stands up and only goes when the shot goes, which he blocks! But United sustain the attack, Rashford finding Mata who squares for Martial .. and as he turns, Bjelland drags him down! Penalty!
94’ - GOAL! Manchester United 1-0 Copenhagen (Fernandes pen) AND AGAIN! Fernandes doesn't jump because he knows Johnsson is waiting for it, then plants into the left side-netting, a third of the way up.
Since the 2017-18 season, Bruno Fernandes, wirh 13 goals and eight assist, has been directly involved in 21 Europa League goals, more than any other player.
Man United have won 21 penalties this season, more than any other side in the top five European leagues.