Manchester United needed a stoppage time winner from Scott McTominay to secure a win over Omonia at Old Trafford in the UEFA Europa League, having been frustrated by their opponents for 90 minutes – and especially stand-in goalkeeper Francis Uzoho.
Manchester United unsurprisingly dominated possession from the start, but clear-cut chances were initially few and far between in the opening stages of the game. When the home side did get a goal, Marcus Rashford was twice denied by strong saves from Uzo.
Midway through the first half, Bruno Fernandes flashed a long-range effort just wide of goal that had Uzoho either on target or extremely certain to miss the target, before Rashford again saw the Nigerian stopper’s fingertips keep the scores level.
Uzoho may have just got his fingers on Casemiro’s drive which crashed over the bar.
In the closing stages of the first forty-five, Fred probably should have done better to head Antony’s cross, mistimed his dive and nodded. But in truth, United were lucky not to go in on the stroke of half-time when Bruno Felipe raced past Victor Lindelof and fired across the face of the bar before tapping it past Andronikos Kakoullis.
It remained goalless but United increased the pressure in the second half and Cristiano Ronaldo drew more saves from Uzo. Meanwhile, Omonia were probably lucky not to be reduced to 10 men when Moreto Cassama was only cautioned for what appeared to be a dangerous tackle on Casemiro. The Cypriots even survived the penalty shouts when United called for handball.
Uzoho was called into action again in the final 10 minutes when he beat substitute Scott McTominay’s low effort to his left.
But it was the same player who eventually powered a United team that had 33 shots on target to victory in the 92nd minute, showing great composure when the ball fell to him some seven yards out. From this position, Uzoho had no chance as the ball eventually flew past him.
Man Utd player ratings vs Omonia – Europa League
1. Man Utd (4-2-3-1)
GK: David de Gea – 6/10 – Largely a spectator.
RB: Diogo Dalot – 6/10 – Always well advanced, often like an extra winger.
CB: Lisandro Martinez – 5/10 – Took a big risk when he seemed to nudge Kakoullis out of the way near the end of the first half when the Omonia forward had a chance of getting in at goal.
CB: Victor Lindelof – 5/10 – Outpaced by Bruno Felipe in the closing stages of the first half that could have been disastrous.
LB: Tyrell Malacia – 6/10 – Got forward quite well and was also often tucking into a central midfield role when United had the ball.
CM: Casemiro – 7/10 – Hit the crossbar via Uzoho’s fingertips. A decent performance on both sides of the ball.
CM: Fred – 6/10 – Probably should have scored a first half header.
RM: Antony – 6/10 – Less impactful than United fans have been used to but it was a surprise to see him start this one.
AM: Bruno Fernandes (c) – 7/10 – Pulled creative strings in central areas, although his shooting radar was a little off.
LM: Marcus Rashford – 6/10 – Denied three times by the excellent Uzoho in the first half hour alone. United’s most consistent threat early on but faded.
ST: Cristiano Ronaldo – 5/10 – Didn’t get enough quality service and was denied by Uzoho a couple of times.
SUB: Luke Shaw (60′ for Malacia) – 7/10
SUB: Jadon Sancho (60′ for Antony) – 5/10
SUB: Christian Eriksen (70′ for Fred) – 6/10
SUB: Scott McTominay (81′ for Casemiro) – 7/10
Manager: Erik ten Hag – 7/10 – Surprisingly opted against much rotation from the side that beat Everton on Sunday. His changes were vindicated when McTominay eventually scored in stoppage time.