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Man United and Inter Milan reach Europa League semis

Man United and Inter Milan reach Europa League semis

DPA
Dusseldorf
Manchester United needed extra-time and a penalty to edge Copenhagen 1-0 and reach the Europa League semi-finals, while Romelu Lukaku powered Inter Milan to a 2-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen on Monday.
Both quarter-final matches were played in Germany as part of the compressed end to the tournament, which was suspended for five months because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Manchester United were awarded a penalty early on but it was cancelled by video assistant referee (VAR) as Harry Maguire was offside.
Young United forward Mason Greenwood thought he had struck in the final stages of a dull first half but the goal was stricken from the records, again for offside.
Copenhagen were frustrating the favourites with a disciplined display, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s British side far from their overpowering best form which they finished the Premier League season in.
Greenwood struck the post early in the second half and Rashford tucked home the rebound but it was once more disallowed for offside.
Bruno Fernandes then hit the post, the eighth time the Red Devils had hit the woodwork in the Europa League this season, as United started to turned the screw.  Skillful Copenhagen playmaker Rasmus Falk threatened at the other end, while impressive goalkeeper Karl-Johan Johnsson denied Anthony Martial.
Finally the breakthrough came five minutes into extra-time, when Andreas Bjelland was harshly penalised for tangling with Martial.
Bruno dispatched his seventh penalty of the season without fuss to send Manchester United ahead and they held off the Danes to ensure they will face Wolves or Sevilla in the semi-finals.
“We deserved to win tonight. Their keeper was fantastic, he was unbelievable,” said Solskjaer. “We had to defend well and they made it hard for us. They were a good team, well-organized. It was about patience, not making mistakes and not giving them chances that we don’t have to.
“I think maybe we needed (extra-time), you felt that if we had another half an hour to play we would create more goals and more chances.” Inter Milan started strongly on a baking Dusseldorf night and took the lead through Nicolo Barella in the 15th minute.
Lukaku caused chaos in the area and had a shot which was blocked, but his team-mate finished neatly to put the Italians ahead.
The Belgian was on the scoresheet himself six minutes later with a cunning strike as he fell after showing grit to beat Edmond Tapsoba.
He set a new competition record of scoring in nine consecutive matches, including in five games for Everton in the 2014-15 campaign, moving onto 31 goals for the season in all competitions.
Kai Havertz scored for Leverkusen by drilling home after receiving from Kevin Volland to keep his team in with a chance.
Inter were awarded a penalty for handball but revision by VAR showed no offence had been committed by Daley Sinkgraven, who blocked a cross with his shoulder.
Leverkusen battled hard in the second half but their hopes appeared to be dashed in the 90th minute when Christian Eriksen was felled by Karim Bellarabi in the box.
However Inter were once more denied the penalty by VAR, as the ball had hit Barella’s hand while he lay on the ground just before the foul.
Lukaku, who had been due to take both cancelled spot kicks, was then denied a goal as he powered past the hapless Tapsoba and was adjudged to have fouled the defender.
“We made too many mistakes upfront, as we didn’t finish the chances and could’ve won by more,” Lukaku told Sky Italia.
“The defence did a great job and, for me, the man of the match was Barella, like in recent weeks he was just fantastic, he’s everywhere.” The other quarter-finals take place on Tuesday, before the semi-finals start on Sunday.Results
At Dusseldorf, Germany: Inter Milan (ITA) 2 (Barella 15, Lukaku 21) Bayer Leverkusen (GER) 1 (Havertz 25)
At Cologne, Germany: Manchester United (ENG) 1 (Fernandes 95-pen) FC Copenhagen (DEN) 0 – after extra time.

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