Unlikely heroes Maguire, Onana save Man Utd against Copenhagen

You are currently viewing Unlikely heroes Maguire, Onana save Man Utd against Copenhagen
  • Post published:October 25, 2023

Andre Onana and Harry Maguire were the unlikely heroes as Manchester United secured a 1-0 victory over FC Copenhagen in the Champions League at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

Maguire, the centre back who gets a lot of flak, scored the game’s only goal 18 minutes from the end. With the last kick of the game, Onana saved Jordan Larsson’s penalty.

For the first time in the club’s history, the English giants lost their first two Champions League group games. But with a much-needed win, they are back in the running for the round of 16.

Charlton died on Saturday at the age of 86. He was one of United’s best players ever.

Before the game, United manager Erik ten Hag laid a wreath in the centre circle as a moving tribute to the winner of the 1966 World Cup. There was then a minute of silence.

“It was meant to be,” Maguire told TNT Sports. “We were meant to win the game. A magnificent save and a win dedicated to Sir Bobby and his family.”

After a rough start to the season, Ten Hag told his players to look to Charlton’s legacy for inspiration.

The Dutchman was disappointed, though, by another dull first half performance.

In the fifth minute, Diogo Goncalves hit the post and the Danish champions were inches away from taking the lead.

Before the game, Old Trafford was full of excited people. But as soon as the game started, the atmosphere quickly changed to one of frustration as the home team struggled to make anything noteworthy before the break.

Another player, Onana, had to show what he could do early in the second half before United woke up.

The Cameroonian made mistakes that got a lot of attention in both of United’s Champions League losses to Bayern Munich and Galatasaray.

However, the player who led Inter Milan to the competition’s final last year proved why United spent £47 million ($57 million) on him in July.

Lukas Lerager’s shot was going for the top corner, but Onana made the first important save of the game to stop it.

Rasmus Hojlund didn’t play very well against his old team, but he did set up Christian Eriksen for a powerful low drive that Kamil Grabara, who used to play for Liverpool, did a great job of blocking.

Marcus Rashford’s lack of confidence in front of goal was also clear when he wasted a huge chance with a heavy touch when he was clean through. Substitute Alejandro Garnacho then did the same thing with only Grabara to beat.

Instead, Maguire popped up and saved his forwards to make sure Charlton’s last game was at least a win.

During Ten Hag’s first season as manager, the England international fell way down the rankings. But he is now making the most of a string of defensive injuries that have brought him back into the team.

Before the end of the game, Maguire just barely stayed onside to head in Eriksen’s cross.

“When you are not on your game it gets picked up, but I am really proud and pleased how I have acted over this six to 12 months,” added Maguire.

“I have been given an opportunity and I want to help the team and get the club back to where it should be.”

United should have scored a second goal because Garnacho and Scott McTominay both missed great chances to make it 2-0.

Plus, they almost had to pay when McTominay got a yellow card for stepping on Mohamed Elyounoussi late in extra time.

Larsson stepped forward; his father, former United striker Henrik Larsson, was his father. But Onana blocked his powerful shot, which caused wild celebrations.

“I’m just doing my job,” said Onana.

“We are Manchester United. We are a big club, big players…now we have to continue like this. I have no doubt we will make it (through).”

United moves above Copenhagen into third place in Group A with this win. They are now only one point behind Galatasaray.

With a 3-1 win over Galatasaray, Bayern is already getting close to qualifying. The German giants have now won all three of their games.