Manchester United’s hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages of the Champions League suffered a significant setback on Wednesday night as they were defeated 4-3 by FC Copenhagen. Despite taking an early lead, United twice surrendered their advantage before succumbing to a late collapse that saw them concede three goals in the final 15 minutes of the match.
The Red Devils started brightly and found themselves ahead inside 12 minutes courtesy of goals from Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford. However, their lead was short-lived as Copenhagen struck twice in quick succession to level the score before half-time.
United’s fortunes took a further turn for the worse just after the hour mark when Rashford was shown a straight red card for a challenge on Nicolai Boilesen. Despite playing with ten men, United managed to retake the lead through Fernandes, but Copenhagen roared back to claim all three points with three goals in the final 15 minutes.
The defeat leaves United bottom of Group A and with a mountain to climb if they are to reach the knockout stages. Manager Erik ten Hag was left to rue his side’s late capitulation, but he also insisted that there were plenty of positives to take from the performance.
“We are very disappointed because we played very good,” Ten Hag said. “We started the game so well. Our best minutes of the season. We are winning the game and the red card changes everything.”
Ten Hag also pointed to the refereeing decisions that went against his side, particularly Rashford’s red card.
“I think the decisions keep going against us,” he said. “I don’t know how many times we have to defend these decisions. It’s not possible.”
Despite the defeat, Ten Hag remained defiant and insisted that his side will continue to fight for qualification.
“We have to keep fighting,” he said. “We have to show that we are a team that can bounce back from these setbacks.”