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Roma 3-2 Manchester United (5-8 agg): Cavani stars as Ole Solskjaer reaches his first final despite defeat in Rome

Manchester United booked their place in the final despite losing 3-2 at Stadio Olimpico on Thursday night, having won the first leg 6-2 at Old Trafford last week.

The Red Devils can now look forward to a final meeting with Villarreal at the Stadion Miejski in Gdansk, Poland on May 26, where they will be bidding to lift their first major trophy since 2017.

Cavani is the first player to score two or more goals in both legs of a European semi-final since Klaus Allofs for Koln back in the 1985-86 UEFA Cup against KSV Waregem.

The 34-year-old has also now hit 16 goals in his last 15 Europa League outings, including 15 in his last 10 as a starter in the competition.

It shouldn’t have been in any doubt from the moment United seized a four-goal advantage at Old Trafford last week to take to the Stadio Olimpico.

Cavani gave Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side the lead in Rome with a trademark finish shortly before half-time, but the hosts hit back via a close-range Edin Dzeko finish just before the hour mark.

A stunning Bryan Cristante effort put Roma in the lead moments later, with Cavani then popping up to head in his second from a Bruno Fernandes cross to level the scores once again.

The Serie A giants had the final say when Nicola Zalewski scored with the help of an Alex Telles deflection, but United ultimately progressed 8-5 on aggregate to set a new mark for the highest-scoring Europa league semi-final of all-time.

Solskjaer must now hope that United’s last trophy – the Europa League final win over Ajax under Jose Mourinho in 2017 – will also be their next.

Progress has been the watchword for the last two-and-a-half years, but the manager knows he needs trophies to validate his work. A man whose last piece of silverware was the Norwegian Cup at Molde in 2013 is now one game away from his first at United.

It was just as well that they had such a commanding lead from the first leg because the postponement of Sunday’s game against Liverpool at Old Trafford amid violent protests meant this game was the first of four in eight days.

Solskjaer still went for a strong, attacking side. He kept eight of last week’s starting line-up which included giving Mason Greenwood his 100th appearance for the club at the age of 19 and Donny van de Beek an opportunity, even though the left side of midfield didn’t particularly suit him.

The Manchester outfit are also now only the second team in the competition’s history to hit eight or more goals across two legs of a last-four tie, with Alaves the last club to achieve that feat when they hit nine against Kaiserslautern in 2000-01.

The Red Devils will now start preparing for a Premier League meeting with Aston Villa on Sunday, which comes just two days before Leicester City are due to arrive at Old Trafford as the race for second place starts to heat up.

John NM
John is a web developer, Internet marketer and Editorial staff at NOUN Portal and Sportstribunal .

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