April 16 (AFP) – Manchester United eased into the Europa League semi-finals on Thursday, staying on course for a potential all-English final with Arsenal after a 4-0 aggregate win against Granada.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men went into the second leg at an empty Old Trafford after a comfortable 2-0 win in Spain and knew that, barring a disaster, they were almost certain to progress.
An early Edinson Cavani goal, his first for the club in Europe, virtually sealed the tie and a late own goal added gloss to the scoreline for the home side.
Granada had chances of their own in both halves but lacked a killer touch.
United, who won the competition when Jose Mourinho was at the helm in 2017, will be desperate to win their last-four clash against Roma after four semi-final defeats under Solskjaer.
“We are looking forward to it,” said the Norwegian. “We’re in the semis. It feels like a proper European tie because Roma is a club with lots of history. We’ve done well against Italian sides before.
“We’re going into it hoping to get to the final. If we can finish the season with a trophy that’d be great.”
The home side opened the scoring in the sixth minute when Paul Pogba flicked on an Alex Telles cross to Cavani, who steered a left-footed volley into the far corner.
Yangel Herrera went close to an equaliser on the night, flashing two headers wide of David de Gea’s goal and Bruno Fernandes volleyed over at the other end.
Pogba was booked early in the game and committed another foul shortly afterwards but the referee decided that challenge did not warrant a second yellow.
Solskjaer substituted the France international at half-time to avoid a red card, bringing on Donny van de Beek in midfield.
Granada’s Jorge Molina went close with a header shortly after the restart and United also had chances to pull further ahead through Mason Greenwood and Cavani.
German Sanchez had another opportunity to make life uncomfortable for United following a set-piece but could not keep his left-footed shot on target.
The game became increasingly open in the final minutes. De Gea made a fine save before an own goal from Jesus Vallejo sealed a 2-0 second-leg victory for United.
United, on course to finish second in the Premier League, are looking to win their first silverware since their triumph in the Europa League four years ago. Last year they lost in the semi-finals to Sevilla.
Arsenal beat Slavia Prague 5-1 on aggregate. Manager Mikel Arteta will next go head to head with his predecessor Unai Emery, now Villarreal boss, keeping alive the prospect of an all-Premier League final.