Man United FC

SUPER DUO: Harry Maguire and Onana took Man United to THIRD heaven after creating a victory together against Copenhagen ‎

In a thrilling turn of events, Andre Onana emerged as the hero of the match, thwarting a critical 96th-minute penalty to clinch victory for his team.

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It’s noteworthy that just a few months earlier, both Harry Maguire and Andre Onana had faced a barrage of criticism during the opening two months of Manchester United’s 2023-2024 season.

However, they went on to play pivotal roles in securing the team’s first three points in the 2023-2024 Champions League.

This dramatic triumph by the “Red Devils” felt like a poignant tribute to the legendary Bobby Charlton, who had tragically passed away just three days prior.

Maguire had been exhibiting improved form in recent weeks, with his standout performance being his selection as the best player in a victory over Sheffield United. Nonetheless, his display in this match was nothing short of extraordinary.

Not only did he exhibit resilience in defense with four impressive aerial duels, but he also displayed his prowess by finding the net from a pinpoint cross by Christian Eriksen in the 72nd minute.

Despite facing pressure from the opposition, the 30-year-old midfielder skillfully directed the ball towards the far corner, eluding the grasp of goalkeeper Kamil Grabara.

As Maguire celebrated his goal, he showed his appreciation to the crowd by making a heart symbol with his hand and pointing to the team emblem on his jersey.

It’s worth noting that in the summer of 2023, Manchester United had agreed to sell this center-back to West Ham, but Maguire declined the offer, choosing to remain and compete for a spot at Old Trafford.

His perseverance paid off as he gradually earned the trust of coach Erik Ten Hag, particularly during Lisandro Martinez’s prolonged absence due to injury.

Maguire received a commendable rating of 7.7 points from Whoscored in this match, the second-highest after Onana. The Cameroonian goalkeeper received an impressive 8.3 points, largely attributed to his incredible save during the last-minute penalty kick.

The penalty situation transpired from a high kick by midfielder Scott McTominay on Mohamed Elyounoussi in the penalty area, resulting from a corner kick from the opposing team.

Italian referee Marco Guida promptly awarded a penalty to Copenhagen, with VAR choosing not to intervene, despite McTominay’s inadvertent contact with his opponent.

The responsibility of taking the penalty kicks had been bestowed upon Jordan Larsson by coach Jacob Neestrup – the son of former Manchester United striker Henrik Larsson.

Henrik had a brief stint with Manchester United in the initial three months of 2007, leaving a mark with three goals in 13 matches.

His son, a left-footed player, executed a swift run-up before aiming a penalty kick towards the right corner. Onana anticipated brilliantly, managing to parry the ball out of harm’s way.

Following this crucial save, jubilant Manchester United players, especially McTominay, rushed over to Onana’s side to share in the elation.

The 27-year-old goalkeeper, ever the professional, urged his teammates to stay focused, wary of a possible quick corner kick from Copenhagen.

What he didn’t realize, amidst the celebration, was that the referee had already blown the final whistle. When this fact was pointed out to him, Onana buried his head in the comforting embrace of his teammates once more.

Onana’s earlier errors in Manchester United’s prior matches had resulted in losses to Bayern (3-4) and Galatasaray (2-3).

However, in this match, he emerged as the hero, rekindling hopes of progressing through the group stage with his crucial save.

Despite the victory, Manchester United’s style of play showed limited improvement. They struggled to create significant opportunities in the first half, as the opposing team defended resolutely and sat deep.

In a somewhat unusual move, Referee Guida concluded the first half 17 seconds earlier than the official time, signaling the challenging nature of the match.

In the post-match interview, Harry Maguire paid a heartfelt tribute to the hero of the hour, Andre Onana. However, the modest goalkeeper responded, “That is my duty.”

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