Alejandro Garnacho was left red-faced after Manchester United‘s hopes of reaching the Champions League knockout stages took a huge blow in Copenhagen. The Red Devils went ahead twice but surrendered their advantage on both occasions and eventually slipped to a 4-3 defeat after Marcus Rashford was sent off in the first half.
Rasmus Hojlund fired United ahead with an early brace before Rashford’s dismissal shifted the entire trajectory of the match. Two quick-fire goals from Copenhagen saw the teams go in level at the break, with the visitors imploding after going a man down.
Bruno Fernandes thought he had won it for United with 20 minutes remaining when he buried a spot-kick to give the visitors a one-goal cushion. It prompted Garnacho to celebrate by shushing the home fans in attendance, but the 19-year-old was made to look silly when Copenhagen scored two late goals to claim all three points.
Garnacho was visibly distraught after his gesture backfired and needed to be consoled by his team-mates as he sat helplessly on the pitch after the full-time whistle. The result marked another embarrassing blow for United, who sit at the bottom of Group A ahead of their final two games against Galatasaray and Bayern Munich.
The Red Devils are currently enduring their worst start to a campaign in six decades, which has piled the pressure on Erik ten Hag in only his second season in charge. He was quick to defend his players after the match by pinning the blame on VAR and the officials, with the Dutchman adamant that two of Copenhagen’s goals should not have counted.
“The game is never meant to be like this, this has nothing to do with football,” said Ten Hag in his post-match press conference. “I accept wrong decisions are made but when you make such tough decisions, you control the game.
“We concede two goals that should not count. The first is offside and the second goal, it’s so close and the hand is in a normal position. What can you do for that? Four penalties against us in four games and two or three are very debatable. The game can’t be like this.”
Ten Hag even suggested that it was shaping up to be United’s best performance of the season before Rashford was sent off, adding: “We are very disappointed because we played very good. We started the game so well, our best minutes of the season. We are winning the game and the red card changes everything.
“It’s a game of mistakes. I wouldn’t say we did everything right but there are a lot of positives. Even with 10 men we were dictating the game. We played very good.”