Celta Vigo 0-1 Manchester United: match report
Two teams who had never played each other before or played in a Europa League final had plenty to play for and plenty to feel apprehensive about. The atmosphere at Balaidos was electric but the football was lacklustre at best for long spells.
It started out as a sloppy affair with neither team sure of how they wanted to approach the game. Given how disasterous an away goal would be for Celta, they sat back and were very careful throughout the game, which is something that you might not see the next day.
United had several chances in the first half with Mkhitaryan missing a sitter after being put through by Pogba before Lingard had an effort turned away by Alvarez that could and probably should have given them the lead. The half sputtered out with Celta showing very little life up front.
The second half started with Celta Vigo looking to take charge of the game but it was Manchester United who struck first. Hugo Mallo was booked for obstructing Marcus Rashford and the striker got up and struck the free-kick perfectly beyond Alvarez to give United a priceless away goal.
Manchester United saw Rashford hobble off not long after and Ashley Young went off with a hamstring injury just minutes after he came on as their injury crisis deepens but they will have time to figure out that after the weekend. For now, a 0-1 win at Balaidos will do as they dip their toe, not their whole foot, in the final of the Europa League for the first time.
Celta Vigo 0-1 Manchester United live: second half
FT: That is it from Balaidos. A slightly underwhelming match in reality but United won't mind as they travel back to Manchester with a slight advantage.
Min 90+3 | Celta throwing everything forward now. Aspas loses possession and Valencia, quite clumsily puts his hand into his face and hands him off. Free to the home side with time running out.
Min 90+1 | Sisto with a cross. Way too deep and it goes wide.
Celta Vigo substitution: Hugo Mallo replaces Beauvue.
Manchester United injury: Ashley Young is injured and has to be replaced by Chris Smalling.
Min 87 | Celta have run out of ideas here and United happy to let the game fizzle out.
Min 86 | Pogba gets booked for wasting time over a free-kick and then has a crack. He nearly catches Alvarez out but it goes just wide.
Min 82 | Celta trying to build but way too many bodies back for United. Fellaini with another foul and the fans wanta yellow. No dice. then sisto buys a yard and gets a cross in with Guidetti getting a foot to it. He kicked Eric Bailly in the process and he is slow getting up.
Min 80 | Celta Vigo and many of the fans not happy with how slowly Rashford walked of the field. He looked to be limping and referee gave him the benefit of the doubt.
Manchester United substitution: Rashford is replaced by Martial.
Manchester United substitution: Henrikh Mkhitaryan replaces Ashley Young.
Min 77 | Really nice ball by Pogba to Lingard. He plays it to Rashford but his first touch takes it too far away from goal and he can't recover.
Min 75 | A chance for Lingard as a ball rebounds off Pogba but he drives it wide.
Celta Vigo substitution: Daniel Wass is replaced by Jozabed.
Min 73 | Really good chance for Celta. Aspas to Guidetti, who lays it off just perfeclty before Aspas plays it wide to Johny. The full-back gives it back to Aspas instead of shooting himself.
Min 72 | Really sloppy from Wass not as he delays on the ball and allows Rashford to steal it off him. Good work by Rashford though.
Min 71 | Aspas muscled off the ball again. Not his night at all.
Min 69 | Cabral tries to respond with an effort from distance. It goes well over though.
Min 67 | GOAL! GOAL! GOAL! Rashford strikes it and beats Alvarez. Really nice finish as he puts it over the wall and beyond the outstretched keeper.
Min 67 | Yellow for Hugo Mallo as he obstructs Rashford in a dangerous position. Awkward angle to shoot maybe but might be just right for a left-footer. Daley Blind is thinking about it. Rashford shoots.
Min 65 | Guidetti chases down Bailly after a long ball from the keeper. The defender takes a poor touch and puts it out for a corner.
Min 61 | United really lucky that the referee did not play advantage as Lingard pulls back Sisto. They had the ball and looked like they could be dangerous. Free comes to nothing. But United break and Rashford has plenty of green ahead of him! he shots and it goes well wide with Alvarez barely even blinking at that.
Min 59 | Johny with a surging run forward and he plays it to Sisto. Sisto has a shot that is deflected off Valencia and Rmero has to scramble to put it over the bar.
Min 56 | Celta starting to take control of this one but still failing to trouble United's goalmouth. On top of that, they still look a little apprehsive about going forward for fear of being caught out by the visitors, which is very likely wiht the speed of Rashford and the rest.
Min 54 | Valencia wins a corner for United. Rashford ready to swing it in. Reall poor delivery though, which gives Celta the chance to counter again but Aspas loses it with his own poor execution of a pass.
Min 53 | Really quick counter from Celta as they get the ball into the box but United recover again and clear. The overlap was there but Darmian had it covered.
Min 52 | Much better from the home side. Wass with a cross and Aspas headers it back towards the goal but it goes just wide. Seemed to catch his shoulder more than his head.
Min 51 | Guidetti chests it down to Sisto and he takes a touchbut United get back and put it out for a throw. Celta dominating possession but not having much luck going forward with it.
Min 50 | Pogba has a crack after Lingard lays it off to him. Over the bar.
Min 49 | Lingard out wide after a pass by Rashford. His cross is blocked and sent out for a throw.
Min 47 | Aspas fouled by Darmian as Wass stands over the free.
Min 46 | Guidetti gets us underway.
Celta Vigo 0-0 Manchester United live online: first half talking points
Iago Aspas has failed to put his stamp on this game. And it is not because United are sitting back. They really have come to win tonight and are quite open and playing attacking football. Up to Berizzo to figure out how to get his main man involved.
Meanwhile John Guidetti is doing an excellent job for Celta Vigo. He doesn't score as much as he probably should but his hold-up play is really impressive and he also offers options out wide with his footwork underrated.
Manchester United are on top but they have no finishers. Rashford hasn't been on his game and they wasted two chances through Mkhitaryan and Lingard. Celta need to pin down Pogba in the middle as his surging runs are causing them problems.
Celta Vigo 0-0 Manchester United: first half
HT: That's all she wrote from Balaidos in the first half! Some exciting football but relatively sloppy and no real flow to it. Manchester United wasteful in front of goal.
Min 44 | Fellaini and Valencia link up well down the line and Valencia gets a cross in but Alvarez gathers.
Min 42 | Celta Vigo working hard but United well on top and look far more dangerous. If they had a striker who could finish, they might be 2-0 up.
Min 40 | Lovely, quick feet by Guidetti as he buys a yard and gets a cross in to Aspas. But he is under pressure and just drops the header to Romero, who rushes out and collects.
Min 39 | Alvarez with another save. Rashford pops it to Lingard and he misses it. Dreadful finishing from Manchester Unite again.
Min 37 | Sisto with a really dangerous ball into the box again but United deal with it and head it away.
Min 35 | Pogba puts Mkhitaryan through on goal with a lovely pass. Alvarez saves Celta's bacon yet again with his leg. Pogba running riot when given the chance here. Celta don't have a midfielder who can live with his powerful running up the middle.
Min 33 | Fellaini gets booked now for climbing all over Pablo Hernandez. He caught with a sneaky elbow too. Silly challenge but the Belgian.
Min 32 | Mkhitaryan on the break. He looks for Rashford but that is a very tame pass. United looking dangerous on the break as they had the numbers and the speed to hurt the hosts.
Min 30 | Mkhitaryan goes straight up the other end and crosses but Rashford can't get enough pace on his toepoke. He hit it as he was falling forward.
Min 28 | Mallo tries a cross but Mkhitaryan gets his body in front of it and blocks it. A second and third throw in succession are the result. Celta eventually get a hold of the ball. Guidetti uses his body well and wins it, plays it to Sisto. The Dane cuts onto his right and Romero gets down to save.
Min 26 | Nice move by Celta Vigo that results in guidetti with a poor pass looking for Sisto.
Min 23 | Mkhitaryan with a run in behind. Mallo gets a late tackle in but the Armenian stays on his feet and gets a cross in but it went out for a goal kick before that. Mallo is lucky he didn't hit the ground after he had dived in.
Min 22 | Sisto tries one now in a similar position that Wass was in but he goes even further wide.
Min 20 | What a save! Alvarez dives full stretch and saves from Rashford, who has it at the edge of the square and twists, turns, waits and then has a crack with his right. Really good effort.
Min 18 | Wass does have a shot now but he is miles out! Never even troubling Romero.
Min 16 | Aspas has a chance to hit it but opts not to. He plays it back to Wass and he decides not to hit it and loses out. They manage to keep it but run out of space. Deent chance.
Min 15 | A little nutmeg for Darmian by Aspas but Celta fail to build on it after winning a throw. They have grown into this game but still in a fragile state this game.
Min 13 | Aspas down in a heap as he gets caight between Darmian and Mkhitaryan. He points to his sock, which is ripped, and looks at the referee. Nothing really in it though.
Min 11 | What a chance. Aspas to Radoja and he puts it on Wass' head but he misses the target. By far the best chance so far and he really should have finished.
Min 10 | Guidetti hunts down Blind and puts him under pressure with the clearance. Celta win it back and Mallo wins a throw.
Min 8 | Mkhitaryan with a ball in behind for Rashford but Roncaglia recovers and blocks it but it hits Rashford on the way out. Goal kick!
Min 7 | Sisto with a pass into Guidetti. The bid Swede takes it on his chest but his shot is too heavy.
Min 5 | Sloppy start from Celta Vigo, who are just throwing themselves in front of United players without actually being able to hold onto the ball. A lot of long, searching balls with Aspas, Guidetti and Sisto not really involved yet. Sisto fouled by Valencia and Celta have a chance to build an attack.
Min 3 | Tame start by Celta Vigo. Not much better from United but they have all of the ball.
Min 1 | Celta want a free for Guidetti but referee says no. Pogba tries a ball over the top but Alvarez mops it up.
Min 1 | Our referee Sergei Karasev gets us underway at Balaidos.
Celta Vigo vs Manchester United: team line-up news
Celta Vigo starting line-up:
Alvarez, Mallo, Cabral, Roncaglia, Jonny, Wass, Radoja, Hernandez, Aspas, Sisto, Guidetti.
Celta Vigo bench:
Fontas, diaz, Bongonda, Beauvue, Jozabed, Gomez, Villar.
Manchester United starting line-up:
Romero, Valencia, Bailly, Blind, Darmian, Herrera, Fellaini, Lingard, Pogba, Mkhitaryan, Rashford.
Manchester United bench:
De Gea, Smalling, Young, Carrick, Mata, Martial, Rooney
Celta Vigo vs Manchester United: build-up
20:58 | Eduardo Berizzo also wants Mancheter United's record against Spanish club in the knockout stages of European competition to remain the way it has been for some time now. They have won five, drawn none and lost four of their nine games against English opposition.
20:53 | Eduardo Berizzo has been named as a possible replacement for Luis Enrique and Diego Simeone at Barcelona and Atletico Madrid. The Argentine manager has a very clear style and has turned Celta Vigo into a really good side. With Felipe Miñambres, the former sporting director of Rayo Vallecano, by his side now they could do some special things before Berizzo is eventually poached by a bigger club.
20:48 | Mourinho also said he wants to see the team playing to win! So we are going to see an attacking performance? The middle field is not entirely indicative of a defensive approach but it will almost certainly be based on what we have seen from United in the past away from home. Mourinho will hard shell his conservative approach in a semi-final against a team they have never played before.
20:44 | Jose Mourinho on Eric Bailly: "He is playing well, it is also important to have a proper central defender on the bench in Chris." I'm not entirely sure that is a dig at Phil Jones or not but with Mourinho, it has to be a a dig at someone.
20:26 | Eric Bailly played twice against Celta Vigo during his time with Villarreal. He lost one of those games and drew the other. The central defender was sent off in the first game when he got two yellow cards within the space of 47 minutes in a game that Villarreal lost 2-1.
20:24 | Juan Mata has made it back in time to start on the bench and so has Smalling but Phil Jones was deemed not fit enough.
20:22 | Nemanja Radoja is another player who United need to be aware of. He is capable of dominating the middle and there suggestions and indications in his play that he could play in the Premier League among some of the much better teams.
20:18 | Iago Aspas will partner John Guidetti up front. The two have created one of the better partnerships in Spanish football this season. While Guidetti doesn't score as you might like, he is the perfect player to play aongside the less physical Aspas.
20:13 | No surprises from Eduardo Berizzo either as he starts with his best eleven. Hugo Mallo and Johny are two of his most dangerous weapons at right and left back and with Pione Sisto and Daniel Wass on the wings with them, they always manage to create plenty from those areas.
20:06 | We have our team news. Jose Mourinho welcomes back Eric Bailly despite the central defender going off at the weekend with an ankle injury. Ander Herrera, Marouane Fellaini and Paul Pogba will operate in midfield for the Premier League side. Mkhitaryan and Lingard will flank the speedster, Marcus Rashford up front.
19:52 | As we prepare for the team news, there are som excellent videos doing the rounds of outside the stadium. The atmosphere is building in Vigo and they are certainly enjoying their first Europa League semi-final.
19:38 | Manchester United have the highest number of passes attempted at 6962 and the highest number of passes completed with 6216. That's enough for 89% completion percentage.
19:31 | Defensively, United are better too. They have conceded just seven with Celta Vigo conceding 12 in their 12 games. Not bad records at all.
19:24 | Manchester United edge Celta Vigo out in the goalscoring charts this season in the Europa League. They have scored 21 while Celta have scored 20 times. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Iago Aspas have all scored five goals and are the top scorers in the competition for their respective clubs.
19:11 | Another player rested for the last number of weeks has been Iago Aspas and he signed a new contract until 2022 with his hometown club at the start of last month.
19:04 | Jose Mourinho is sure of how Celta Vigo will play tonight. "I don’t think they’re going to come and enjoy the match. If that was the case they wouldn’t have played with the second team against Bilbao and lost 3-0 [on Sunday]. They have lost two matches in La Liga playing with their second teams so it’s very clear they have come to win.” Mourinho will be buoyed by the return of several players including Juan Mata and Paul Pogba but they will need to stay tight at the back in an effort to curb the threat of Iago Aspas.
18:56 | John Guidetti, formerly of Manchester City, has taken to life in Galicia. They even have a techno song for him that was sung back to him by kids on his visit to a local school. He also announced after a win over Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey that he felt right at home in Spain and in Vigo.
18:50 | Manchester United will be taking a strong following of supporters to Galicia, but it is not the first time that Vigo has witnessed an invasion of Englishmen. In 1719, British forces occupied the city for ten days, after the Spanish fleet that had been guarding the city left to invade Scotland.
18:25 | Here's some interesting pre-match reading for you: Spanish football journalist Sid Lowe has profiled Celta Vigo, aka "Barcelona's bogeymen", for The Guardian.
17:45 | Sir Bobby Charlton was part of the Manchester United delegation which, along with representatives of UEFA, was received by Celta Vigo president Carlos Mouriño earlier today, with the attendees posing for this charming photo together.
17:35 | In case you were wondering, the other four are: Juventus, Ajax, Bayern Munich and Chelsea.
17:30 | The visitors to Balaídos are bidding to win Europe's second-tier competition for the first time in their history - and, in the process, become only the fifth side ever to have been victorious in all three major UEFA club competitions (Champions League, UEFA Cup/Europa League and Cup Winners' Cup).
16:40 | "If Celta play without fear they have every chance of going through," says former Balaídos favourite Aleksandr Mostovoi, who played alongside current boss Eduardo Berizzo at the Vigo club.
16:15 | Just under five hours until Celta Vigo vs Manchester United kicks off: as always, we've prepared a useful guide on how and where to watch.
15:10 | In his interview with Spanish radio (see 13:35), Nolito also backed his former employers to beat Manchester United.
14:35 | Good news for Mourinho as he welcomes key players back from injury.
13:35 | Former Celta star Nolito looks primed from a move away from Manchester City this summer.
12:35 | Celta's Swedish striker John Gudetti convinced that his side have the mentality to overcome United.
11:30 | Celta boss Berizzo urges his team to remain faithful to their style.
11:00 | Hello and welcome to our live build-up and coverage of tonight's Europa League clash from Galicia as Celta face Premier League powerhouse Manchester United. The action starts at 21:05 CEST but we'll be building up towards the second Europa League semi-final throughout the day.
Celta Vigo vs Manchester United: preview
Manchester United travel to the northwest of Spain to take on Celta Vigo in search of a Europa League final with the ultimate goal of landing in the Champions League without having to concern themselves with the battle for fourth in the Premier League. Celta Vigo have no chance of finishing in the top four in LaLiga (they are currently in 11th) and have made it blatantly clear with their team selection in the domestic competition that their main objective is the Europa League. The second Europa League semi-final kicks off at 21:05 CET at Balaidos Stadium on Thursday May 4th.
Eduardo Berizzo has been resting many of his starters now for the last number of weeks in LaLiga. He made eight changes for the loss to Athletic Bilbao and they have lost three on the trt but with no fear of relegation, his bosses at the club understand what he is doing. It means that the likes of talisman Iago Aspas, who has 17 goals this season, has played one of Celta's last four league games.
John Guidetti, who signed on a free from Manchester City in the summer has been used sparingly in recent weeks too and he says Celta have what it takes to beat United. Pione Sisto scored against Manchester United in the Europa League side for FC Midtjylland but moved to the north of Spain last summer and has been excellent in his maiden year at the club.
Celta Vigo have just a couple of injury issues with long-term injury absentee Guiseppe Rossi. Carles Planas has played sparingly this season and is also injured along with back-up gaoalkeeper Ruben Blanco.
Celta's strength lies mainly on the wings with 25-year-old club captain Hugo Mallo and 23-year-old Jonny causing problems for every side they face from those positions, which allows Daniel Wass to come inside on the right and also make Sisto even more dangerous on the left.
While the Celta Vigo manager has been resting his stars and playing the reserves by choice, Jose Mourinho has been forced to play his reserved given the injury crisis that has hit his squad. During Manchester United's game against Swansea at the weekend, Eric Bailly had to go off injured along with Luke Shaw, who could miss the rest of the season.
There is some positive news amongst all the injuries as several players have returned to training. His three centre-backs, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Bailly have all been passed fit though. Juan Mata is fit too, as is Paul Pogba but it remains to be seen how big a role each of these returning players can perform. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcos Rojo are two long-term injuries.
Celta Vigo vs Manchester United: match facts
It is the first time Celta Vigo and Manchester United have faced each other.
Manchester United have failed to beat Spanish opposition in the elimination stages of European football at the last six times of asking.
Neither Manchester United or Celta Vigo have ever made it to the Europea League final. Celta Vigo have been knocked out in the quarter-finals in the last three years.
Celta Vigo have won five, drawn none and lost four of their nine games against English opposition in Europe.
Celta Vigo vs Manchester United: live online betting odds
A Celta v Ajax final in Solna on May 24th? Or Celta captain Hugo Mallo bagging the first goal on the night at 34/1.