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EUROPA LEAGUE SEMI-FINAL: Man Utd book their place in Europa League Final

Manchester United took their place in the final of the one European competition they have yet to claim, the Europa League, courtesy of a hard fought 1-1 draw with Celta Vigo, giving them an overall 2-1 aggregate win.

United boss Jose Mourinho had called on the Old Trafford faithful to create an atmosphere worthy of a European semi-final against Spanish opposition Celta Vigo.

A narrow 1-0 win last week gives Utd an advantage for the second leg and have won all six of their European home games at Old Trafford this season, whist Celta are on a four game losing streak against English clubs.

But Utd have not been totally convincing this season at home having drawn too many games so whilst they were favourites to progress to the finals in Stockholm, this campaign has been characterised by doing things the hard way.

And certainly the opening for minutes it was the visitor's, playing their first European semi- final, who made all the running helped by some sloppy Utd defending. In fact the supporters of Utd, who had started off in fine voice, began to get nervous but before Celta could capitalise on their start Utd settled the nerves with a goal.

On 17 minutes Marcus Rashford flung over a long cross to the far post were Marouane Fellaini stole in unmarked to head home from close range. Now it was Utd who looked confident as heads dropped in the La Liga side.

But despite dominating the home side failed to create many clear cut opportunities, and as the half progressed Celta clawed their way back into contention by starting to cause problems of their own in the Utd rearguard.

Certainly Jose Mourinho was not happy on the touchline with what he was seeing with finger pointing and gestures of frustration showing towards his players. None more so than in the final minute of the first period when Daniel Wass headed narrowly wide with a powerful header.

Celta needed an early goal and almost pulled one back in the opening minute of the second half but keeper Sergio Romero managed to claw away a dangerous low cross. Utd immediately hit back and Heinrich Mkhitaryan brought a fine save from Sergio Alvarez.

Mourinho continued to be unimpressed as his team came under pressure and seemed incapable of retaining possession to ease the wave of Celta attacks. John Guidetti came closest to reducing the deficit with a fierce shot that flashed past the post. Now it was the turn of the Spanish supporters to be in full voice.

Celta were becoming frustrated with both the referee for some of his decisions and the fact their concerted pressure had not brought a goal. Rashford could have settled the tie but his shot was blocked.

As the minutes ticked down Utd were having to defend desperately as half chances came and went for the visitor's who just lacked that final quality ball. Then with five minutes remaining Celta got the goal they deserved as Facundo Roncaglia glanced home a header.

Frustrations then boiled over and scuffle broke out in the centre circle and red was shown to Utd's Eric Bailly and Celta's goalscorer Roncaglia.

Six minutes of added time added to the tension. Utd had a goal ruled out for offside then in the final minute Celta just could not find the final touch as the ball bobbed around the six yard box.

Full Time

Man Utd: 1 (Fellaini 17)

Celta Vigo: 1 (Roncaglia 85)

Att. 75,138

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Ian Ferris
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Ian Ferris

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