In a dramatic turn of events on Wednesday, Manchester United surrendered a two-goal advantage to FC Copenhagen in a thrilling 4-3 Champions League clash. The momentum shifted after a controversial red card was shown to Marcus Rashford, who had just scored a brace, altering the course of the game.
Reflecting on the pivotal moment, a disheartened Erik ten Hag remarked to TNT Sports, “The red card changes everything. Then it becomes a different game. I have seen a lot of positives from that game but in the end, we have lost some focus.” He also expressed his disagreement with the referee’s decision, stating, “I think the (Rashford red) was a very harsh decision.”
With this defeat, Manchester United faces a significant setback in their quest for last-16 qualification. Ten Hag’s side now sits fourth in Group A with three points, while Copenhagen is one point ahead in second place.
Looking ahead, United confront two challenging group stage matches: an away game against third-placed Galatasaray on Nov. 29 and a home fixture against Group A leaders Bayern Munich on Dec. 12.
Rasmus Hojlund, the young United striker, played a pivotal role in the team’s initial success, scoring two goals in a roller-coaster first half. Commenting on the game until the red card, Hojlund told TNT Sports, “We controlled the game until the red card. That changed the game. It gave them belief; I know how the crowd can help the team out. It gave them a big boost.”
Despite a brief resurgence with a penalty conversion by Bruno Fernandes, United suffered a late collapse, conceding two goals in the final minutes. This included a penalty awarded to Copenhagen and goals from Lukas Lerager and 17-year-old substitute Roony Bardghji.
The night at Parken Stadium became a nightmare for Manchester United, marked by a tifo from Copenhagen fans that read “Your Theatre of Nightmares,” a clever play on Old Trafford’s nickname as the Theatre of Dreams.
This defeat not only tarnished United’s feel-good return to Copenhagen but also made them the first team since 2014 to score two goals, receive a red card, and concede a penalty in the first half of a Champions League match. Additionally, it marked their first Champions League loss when leading by two or more goals and their first defeat after taking a two-goal lead in all competitions since 2014.