Copenhagen 4-3 Man Utd: Player ratings as 10-men Red Devils fall to dramatic comeback

  • Man Utd involved in seven-goal thriller in Champions League
  • Two late goals saw Copenhagen come from behind to win
  • Marcus Rashford sent off in the first half for Red Devils
Man Utd scored three but conceded four
Man Utd scored three but conceded four / James Gill - Danehouse/GettyImages

Manchester United’s hopes of reaching the knockout rounds of the Champions League hang in the balance after a shock 4-3 defeat at the hands of Copenhagen on Wednesday night.

Erik ten Hag’s side led 2-0 in the first half after a brace from Rasmus Hojlund against his former club, but Marcus Rashford’s dismissal before half-time made things difficult.

Mohamed Elyounoussi and a Diogo Goncalves penalty drew Copenhagen back level in first half stoppage time. Bruno Fernandes then looked like he’d done enough for United to escape with the victory by converting a penalty of his own.

But the drama continued late on when Lukas Lerager equalised for the Danes, before a final surge saw 17-year-old prodigy Roony Bardghji win it in dramatic fashion.

United, having been second in the group standings when they were leading, finished the night bottom of the table and face a steep uphill battle on the final two matchdays to progress.

How the game unfolded

Ten Hag’s team couldn’t have wished for a better start when Hojlund found the net in just three minutes. It was the result of Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s foray forward and reverse pass into the path of Scott McTominay, whose ball across the six-yard box was gratefully tapped in by United’s number 11.

The visitors were firmly in control in the early stages, with Harry Maguire seeing plenty of the ball at his feet at the back. But there was soon a lengthy delay in proceeding when Jonny Evans was forced off with an early injury as stadium staff also attended to a medical emergency in the crowd.

Even as the game resumed, Copenhagen were struggling to lay a glove on United and the buzz was taken out of what had threatened to be a hostile atmosphere inside Parken Stadium.

Hojlund’s second of the night was as similarly simple as his first, although that would detract from his instinct to be in the right place at the right time. Fernandes won the ball back to spring the counter, playing in Alejandro Garnacho. His low shot was parried by ex-Liverpool goalkeeper Kamil Grabara, but only as far as Hojlund for the local lad to snap up the rebound.

Hojlund was close to a hat-trick in the closing stages of the first half as he surged through the middle at pace but sent his left-footed finish just wide of the far post.

Despite the visitors completely dominating, the momentum switched almost in an instant when Rashford was given his marching orders. Back in the team after a minor injury, the United forward was penalised, albeit only after VAR intervened, for a slightly reckless attempt to protect the ball that saw him go over the top of it and catch Elias Jelert dangerously high on the ankle.

First, Copenhagen struck the woodwork when Fernandes glanced a defensive header onto his own crossbar. But it was only a warning sign as Elyounoussi turned in Goncalves’ cushioned volley across the box. In lengthy first half stoppage time, the Danish wave, which by now had pumped the crowd back up, kept coming and Goncalves smashed in from the spot when the ball touched Maguire’s arm.

Given how the first half finished, it was bizarre to see Copenhagen sit off when the second 45 got underway and relinquish control back to the ten-men from Manchester. The hosts built up a head of steam towards the hour mark, but United weathered that storm and were then the beneficiaries of VAR that allowed Fernandes to put them back ahead from the spot.

Maguire was involved again, meeting the ball at a free-kick to the far post. His header back across the goal, rather like the penalty given against him struck an arm. Those in red furiously appealed and the referee was advised to consult the pitchside monitor. He pointed to the spot and Fernandes obliged.

Lerager was the man penalised for that handball but made amends with the equaliser just into the final ten minutes. The Copenhagen midfielder ghosted in at the far post to meet Rasmus Falk’s ball into the box, lost for a split second by Diogo Dalot – but that was all it needed.

With only three minutes of normal time left, Bardghji put Copenhagen ahead for the first time on the night as the stadium erupted. The teenager had looked a threat ever since coming on, but he showed composure beyond his years to watch the ball onto his left foot in the middle of the box and drilled the half volley into the ground so that the wicked bounce gave Andre Onana no chance of saving it.

Maguire spectacularly drilled the ball against the crossbar as United hunted an equaliser in stoppage time, although a soft foul in the build-up would have ruled it out anyway.

Man Utd player ratings (4-2-3-1)

Rasmus Hojlund
Rasmus Hojlund scored twice against his former club / James Gill - Danehouse/GettyImages

GK: Andre Onana - 6/10 - Impossible to criticise him for the goals that flew in.

RB: Aaron Wan-Bissaka - 7/10 - Has made a positive impact since his return from injury and was instrumental in the early goal.

CB: Harry Maguire - 6/10 - Started the game in much comfort and had a mixed night overall. Didn't know a lot about the penalty awarded against him for handball, but later won United's spot-kick.

CB: Jonny Evans - N/A - Making his first Champions League appearance in nine years and 11 months, but injury cruelly ended his night inside 15 minutes.

LB: Diogo Dalot - 5/10 - Had defended relatively well until a momentary lapse proved costly when Lerager made it 3-3.

CM: Scott McTominay - 6/10 - Made a furious start to the contest but later struggled to keep control of things when his team were a man down.

CM: Christian Eriksen - 5/10 - The pace of the game was too much for him after the red card.

RM: Marcus Rashford - 4/10 - Sent off in the first half after minimal involvement compared to some of his teammates. It wasn't malicious but it was reckless and shifted the momentum massively.

AM: Bruno Fernandes (c) - 8/10 - Made the second goal possible by winning the ball back in his own half and having the foresight and vision to break quickly. Ice cold from the penalty spot.

LM: Alejandro Garnacho - 6/10 - A first Champions League start for the teenager. Had a bright first half but ultimately faded from the game.

ST: Rasmus Hojlund - 8/10 - Celebrated a poacher's brace against his former club. Didn't see lots of the ball but was super efficient with it. Only denied a first half hat-trick by a narrow miss.


SUB: Raphael Varane (15' for Evans) - 5/10

SUB: Sofyan Amrabat (46' for Eriksen) - 6/10

SUB: Mason Mount (84' for Hojlund) - N/A

Subs not used: Bayindir (GK), Heaton (GK), Lindelof, Reguilon, Hannibal, Forson, Pellistri, Antony, Martial


Erik ten Hag - 5/10 - Won't have been pleased with the rapid collapse immediately after the red card, or slack defending that allowed Copenhagen to score twice late on. The decision to withdraw Hojlund and put Mount in a false nine role also seemed odd.