FC Midtjylland’s fairy-tale Europa League run reached its conclusion last night after a 1-5 drubbing at the hands of Manchester United in the second leg of their tie at the scene of so many broken European dreams, Old Trafford.
Clinging to a 2-1 lead from the first leg in Herning, a sensation looked possible when Pione Sisto opened the scoring after 27 minutes, but Bulgarian defender Nikolay Bodurov put United level with an own goal five minutes later.
Leading 3-2 on aggregate at half-time, United levelled the tie shortly after the hour mark, and then FCM sank without trace as United added three more in the final 15 minutes.
FCM keeper Mikkel Andersen had saved a Juan Mata penalty in the first half, but a double by Marcus Rashford and goals from Ander Herrera and Memphis Depay sent the Danes emphatically out. Andre Romer was red-carded for the away side in the dying moments of the game.
“I was aware it would be a different game to the one in Herning, and that’s what I’ve been telling my player and the media,” FCM coach Jess Thorup, told Bold.dk.
“It was important for us to keep believing and we got a dream start. But we were aware we were under pressure when it came to individual quality as the first half progressed. They were faster and sharper than us.”
Heads held high
Despite the 3-6 aggregate loss, the Wolves can look back on a brilliant season in Europe, during which they flew the Danish flag high, scoring some much-needed UEFA coefficient points for the country.
But there will be no rest for FCM. The Superliga kicks off this weekend and the reigning champs, currently third, face a tough opener against second-placed AaB Aalborg next Monday.