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Manchester United 1-1 Celta Vigo: Red Devils secure spot in Europa League final

Eric Bailly and Facundo Roncaglia see red

Manchester United have secured a spot in the Europa League final to face Ajax after 1-1 draw with Celta Vigo in semi-final second leg secured a 2-1 aggregate win

The Red Devils will have the chance to add to their bulging trophy cabinet after edging through a frantic, tempestuous semi.

After 14 matches that have taken Jose Mourinho's men to Holland, Turkey, Ukraine, France, Russia, Belgium and Spain, the long, arduous continental campaign has brought a shot at glory.

Reaching the May 24 finale was far from straightforward, though, as Marouane Fellaini's first-half header was cancelled out by Facundo Roncaglia five minutes from the end of the semi-final second leg.

The drama did not end there as Celta's goalscorer and Eric Bailly were sent off as tempers frayed, with United holding out for a 1-1 draw that saw them reach the Stockholm finale 2-1 on aggregate.

The relief was as clear as the joy at the final whistle as United moved within a victory of the only major trophy to have eluded them in their success-laden history.

Europa League glory also offers Champions League qualification - United's best chance of returning to Europe's top table given their Premier League struggles - but Ajax are likely to prove as stern a test as Celta.

Few could have foreseen such a nervy ending when Fellaini headed home Marcus Rashford's fine cross, but Celta's efforts were rewarded by a late goal from Roncaglia - a player sent off along with Bailly moments later.

Former Manchester City striker John Guidetti wasted a gilt-edged chance to turn the tie around entirely with the last kick of the game, but United now have the chance to add the Europa League to this season's Community Shield and EFL Cup triumphs.

Celta's performance was a far cry from their meek display on home soil, attacking with vim and vigour from the outset as they looked to cancel out United's 1-0 first-leg advantage.

Liverpool flop Iago Aspas' fourth-minute warning shot from an acute angle forced Sergio Romero into action and Gustavo Cabral missed the target from a corner as the threat continued.

Quick play and intelligent movement was leading anxiety levels to creep up around Old Trafford, with groans audible during a nervy start - tension punctured in the 17th minute.

Rashford last week surprised onlookers with his superb free-kick and this time it was the quality of his cross that impressed, with his fine, curling ball headed home by the ever-reliable Fellaini.

It was a sucker punch that United quickly looked to add to, yet wayward attempts allowed the visitors to regroup and soon Romero had to tip over a hopeful Pablo Hernandez strike.

Daley Blind, struggling to impose himself, was given a booking for a lunge as play became stretched, with Paul Pogba missing the target before Pione Sisto twice tried his luck at the other end.

Sisto, perhaps aware his selfishness was irking coach Eduardo Berizzo, crossed when Celta next threatened, but Daniel Wass was unable to direct he fizzing ball home.

Hugo Mallo's driven cross called Romero into action 24 seconds into the second half as Celta continued to threaten an away goal, but Henrikh Mkhitaryan - so key in this Europa League run - would have netted United's second was it not for Alvarez's reactions.

Guidetti wasted a shot before Alvarez smothered a clipped Rashford attempt and near post Fellaini strike, with Jozabed close to reducing the gap with a thumping strike just wide.

Mourinho's Reds were having to dig deep defensively as the visitors continued to probe, with Guidetti grabbing his head in disbelief after nodding Mallo's cross off target.

Still Celta pushed forwards and they drew level in the 85th minute as Roncaglia's header sent the visiting sky blue hordes wild.

It led tension to grow and it soon blew up as both teams clashed, with Bailly sent off for raising his hand to Guidetti and Roncaglia for retaliating.

The arguments continued down the touchline before attentions return to the field, where Ander Herrera saw a goal ruled out.

Guidetti had a wonderful chance to dump Untied out in stoppage time but the Swede somehow missed, the goal gaping as the ball was cut back to him by Claudio Beauvue, who should have scored himself.

Ratings

SERGIO ROMERO: Preferred ahead of David De Gea like so many times during this Europa League campaign, the Argentina international again produced a solid display. Jose Mourinho has a tough decision to make for the final. 7

ANTONIO VALENCIA: Back after missing Sunday's league defeat Arsenal, the stand-in captain was not at the same level he has set this season. 6

ERIC BAILLY: The defender has enjoyed a promising first campaign at Old Trafford but lost his cool by raising his hand and being sent off. Nearly cost his side. 4

DALEY BLIND: At times the versatile Dutchman is guilty of defensive naivety - something evident against Celta. Who would have thought United would miss Marcos Rojo so much? 5

MATTEO DARMIAN: Given an extended run in the team, the dependable if unadventurous full-back had it tough dealing with Iago Aspas. 6

ANDER HERRERA: The midfielder helped deny the club his father once worked for a place in the final. Not one of Herrera's most imposing displays, but worked diligently in the middle. 7

PAUL POGBA: Unaffected by the background noise surrounding his world-record move to Old Trafford, the France international offered an attacking option and defensive shield. 7

MAROUANE FELLAINI: The divisive Belgian ruffled a few feathers in Vigo last week and headed United into a 17th-minute lead, meeting Marcus Rashford's cross with a typically commanding header. 7

JESSE LINGARD: Not the most enthralling attacking display but there was no faulting the winger's work rate. 6

HENRIKH MKHITARYAN: The Armenian has played an integral role in the club's progress in the competition and worked tirelessly, receiving a pat on the back from Mourinho as he made way for Michael Carrick. 7

MARCUS RASHFORD: The 19-year-old broke Galician hearts with his decisive first-leg free-kick and again made an impact with the superb cross headed home by Fellaini. His movement again was troublesome. 7

SUBS

MICHAEL CARRICK (for Mkhitaryan, 77): An experienced introduction as the clock wound down, not that it help stem the Celta tide. 6

WAYNE ROONEY (for Lingard, 86): The United captain, along with his team-mates, had to dig deep. 6

CHRIS SMALLING (for Rashford, 89): Had little time to make an impact in a frantic ending. 6

Celta Vigo

Sergio Alvarez 6

Hugo Mallo 6

Facundo Roncaglia 5

Gustavo Cabral 6

Jonny 6

Nemanja Radoja 6

Pablo Hernandez 7

Daniel Wass 5

Iago Aspas 7

Pione Sisto 7

John Guidetti 5

Substitutes

Jozabed (for Wass, 46) 6

Theo Bongonda (for Radoja, 68) 6

Claudio Beauvue (for Sisti, 80) 6

Story of the match

Manchester United will have the chance to add the Europa League to their bulging trophy cabinet after edging through a frantic, tempestuous semi-final against Celta Vigo.

After 14 matches that have taken Jose Mourinho's men to Holland, Turkey, Ukraine, France, Russia, Belgium and Spain, the long, arduous continental campaign has brought a shot at glory.

Reaching the May 24 finale was far from straightforward, though, as Marouane Fellaini's first-half header was cancelled out by Facundo Roncaglia five minutes from the end of the semi-final second leg.

The drama did not end there as Celta's goalscorer and Eric Bailly were sent off as tempers frayed, with United holding out for a 1-1 draw that saw them reach the Stockholm finale 2-1 on aggregate.

TWEET OF THE MATCH

"Flights booked to Stockholm" - Former United defender Phil Neville (@fizzer18) at the final whistle.

STAR MAN

Marcus Rashford. Increasingly seems to be United's man of the moment. The man who scored the winner with a superb free-kick in the first leg made an impressive impact once here again, teeing up Fellaini's goal with a wonderful lofted ball into the box and causing several more problems for the visiting defence.

FELLAINI BACK IN THE GOOD BOOKS

Two weeks on from making headlines by being sent off for headbutting Sergio Aguero in the Manchester derby, Fellaini enjoyed some redemption here thanks to an altogether more positive contribution. He celebrated his goal passionately, punching the air in front of United's fans after pointing to the name on his shirt - and heard it being chanted moments later. The Belgian has certainly had his share of critics, but there was vociferous appreciation for him from the Old Trafford stands on this occasion.

NERVY FOR MOURINHO

United's task in sealing a spot in the final looked straightforward enough after that 17th minute goal, but their main feeling at the final whistle will surely have been relief. It was little wonder that boss Jose Mourinho looked tense throughout, with Celta having wasted some wonderful opportunities before scoring late on, and blowing another good chance at the death.

WHO'S UP NEXT?

Tottenham v Manchester United (Premier League, May 14)

Alaves v Celta Vigo (LaLiga, May 14)

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