FC Midtjylland 2-1 Manchester United: Danes gain advantage in Europa League tie
By Jack Wilkinson
Last Updated: 19/02/16 9:41am
Manchester United’s indifferent form continued as FC Midtjylland ran out 2-1 winners in their Europa League round-of-32 tie on Thursday.
Memphis Depay's 37th-minute strike looked to have set United on their way to victory but the lead was short-lived as the industrious Pione Sisto levelled on the stroke of half-time.
United travelled to Denmark in the midst of an injury crisis, having added captain Wayne Rooney to their growing list of absentees, and they had to do without David de Gea who picked up and injury in the warm-up.
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Stand-in 'keeper Sergio Romero was frequently called upon to keep the hosts at bay, but his resolve was finally broken when substitute Ebere Paul Onuachu drilled a low effort home 13 minutes from time.
And the Danish champions held on for a famous victory which sees them take a slender one-goal advantage into next Thursday's return leg at Old Trafford.
Louis van Gaal was forced to make four changes ahead of kick-off to the side he fielded in Saturday's defeat at Sunderland, and his cause was hindered further when De Gea was ruled out, forcing the Dutchman into a fifth change as Romero deputised.
The other notable inclusion saw 21-year-old Donald Love make his full United debut at right-back in a make-shift back four which also saw Paddy McNair drafted in alongside Chris Smalling and Daley Blind.
Romero was called into action after 11 minutes when Kian Hansen got away from his marker, Blind, but the Argentina international was alert to the danger, sticking out a strong left hand to keep the defender's effort out.
United soon created their first opening on goal but Smalling, potentially caught in two minds, headed Blind's corner across the face of goal rather than on target on 20 minutes.
Anthony Martial had claims for a penalty rejected before miscuing a free header in the box on 34 minutes.
The game then sparked into life thanks to a frantic 56-second spell as United, camped around the Midtjylland goal, were hit on the break.
Vaclav Kadlec exposed United's high line, racing through into 50 yards of space, before selfishly opting to shoot instead of slipping a team-mate through on goal, a decision which allowed Romero to save with his feet.
Midtjylland were made to pay less than a minute later as Jesse Lingard found Depay in the area, and the Netherlands international kept his composure to finish low past Mikkel Andersen.
United's lead lasted just seven minutes, though, as Sisto capitalised on Michael Carrick's mistake in midfield, raced towards the United goal and drilled a low effort around Romero, courtesy of a deflection off Smalling.
United emerged the stronger of the two sides after the break but Lingard and Juan Mata were unable to take early chances, before Lingard rattled the crossbar on 56 minutes.
Midtjylland were then forced to readjust their approach, bringing on Onuachu up front, and he almost had an immediate impact as he drew Romero into a world-class save with a header shortly after the hour.
That chance marked a change in the tide as Midtjylland wrestled the initiative and continued to lay siege to the United goal.
And the pressure finally told as Onuachu, having skipped past Mata's feeble attempted tackle, completed the Danes' comeback with a low finish on 77 minutes.