Granada’s European debut season has reached the quarterfinals, where they will face Manchester United, champion of this tournament in the 2016/17 edition and semi-finalist in the 2019/20.
• Granada have had a spectacular run in their first European campaign. After starting in the second qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League, the Spanish side was second in Group E behind PSV Eindhoven before eliminating Napoli in the round of 32 and Molde in the round of 16 with identical results: winning 2-0 in home and losing 2-1 at home.
• United competed in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League, but two losses in their last two Group H matches left them in third place with nine points, behind Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig. They have since gone through two UEFA Europa League qualifiers, eliminating Real Sociedad (0-4 away, 0-0 at home) before beating AC Milan in the round of 16 (1-1 at home and 0-1 at address).
Granada – Mold 2-0
• This is Granada’s first game against English rivals.
• Despite beating Real Sociedad 0-4 on neutral ground in Turin in the first leg of the round of 32, United have only won four of 27 away games against Spanish rivals (eleven draws and 12 defeats). His last victory in Spain came in the first leg of the 2016/17 UEFA Europa League semi-finals, when a direct free kick from Marcus Rashford gave him the victory against Celta de Vigo. The victory over Real Sociedad in Italy ended a nine-game winless streak against Spanish rivals. The last game in that sequence was the 2-1 loss to Sevilla in Cologne in last year’s UEFA Europa League semi-final, a game in which they had been ahead thanks to a penalty converted by Bruno Fernandes.
• United’s record in two-legged ties against Spanish clubs is seven wins and nine losses on aggregate. He has been eliminated from European competition by Spanish rivals in each of the last three seasons: by Sevilla in the knockout stages of the 2017/18 UEFA Champions League (0-0 away, 1-2 at home) and in the semi-finals of last year’s UEFA Europa League. He was also eliminated by Barcelona in the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League quarter-finals (0-1 home, 3-0 away).
Manchester United against Spanish rivals
Granada • Granada achieved a historic first qualification for a European competition after finishing seventh in the 2019/20 League after being promoted the previous season.
• Diego Martínez’s team started the club’s first continental campaign in the UEFA Europa League second qualifying round, opening with a 0-4 win against Albanian Teuta before continuing on a roll with a 2-0 win in home against Locomotive Tbilisi of Georgia and subsequently 1-3 in the play-offs against Malmö in southern Sweden.
• The Andalusian team had an impressive start in Group E, beating PSV 1-2, and although they lost in Spain against the Dutch team (0-1), two wins against Omonia (0-2 away and 2- 1 at home) and two goalless draws against PAOK allowed them to advance to the round of 32 after the loss to PSV.
• Granada’s record in this first European campaign is eight wins, two draws and three defeats. He has only conceded eight goals in those 13 games, with 21 goals in favor. At home his record is four wins, one draw and one loss, with wins in his two knockout matches against Napoli and Molde.
Milan – Man. United 0-1
Manchester United • United finished third in the last Premier League, when they also lost in three semi-finals: the English League Cup, the FA Cup and the UEFA Europa League. His position in the league allowed him to compete in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League for the 23rd time.
• Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s team made a strong start in Group H of the Champions League, beating Paris 1-2 on the road and Leipzig 5-0, but lost three of their last four games (2-1 to İstanbul Başakşehir, 1-3 at home to Paris and 3-2 to Leipzig) to drop to third place.
• The Manchester giant have been to the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals twice, winning both ties in overtime: 3-2 on aggregate against Anderlecht in 2016/17 (1-1 away, 2- 1 at home) with Rashford’s decisive goal at Old Trafford, and 1-0 in their one-legged tie against Copenhagen in Cologne last season thanks to a Bruno Fernandes penalty.
• United’s away record in the UEFA Europa League is eight wins, four draws and six losses, winning their last three wins without conceding a goal. They have lost just one of their last 12 away games in the competition (seven wins and four losses). It was with a 2-1 in the field of Astana in the fifth match of last season. He has scored at least one goal in all of his UEFA Europa League knockout matches away from England. Paul Pogba extended that streak to 14 games with the winning goal in Milan.
Five goals for Manchester United in the Europa League
• United have three players with experience in the Spanish League: David de Gea (Atlético de Madrid 2008-11), Eric Bailly (Espanyol 2013-15, Villarreal 2015-16) and Juan Mata (Real Madrid Castilla 2006/07, Valencia 2007-11).
• Roberto Soldado, who scored in both Granada games in the round of 16 against Molde, spent two seasons in England with Tottenham (2013-15), scoring 16 goals in 76 games for the London club.
• Brazilian winger Kenedy is on loan for a season at Granada from Chelsea, with whom he has scored three goals in 27 games. He has also played in the Premier League, on loan, at Watford and Newcastle.
• Other Granada players with brief Premier League experience are Jesús Vallejo (Wolverhampton), Dimitri Foulquier and Luis Suárez (both at Watford). In addition, Venezuelan midfielder Yangel Herrera is on loan to the Andalusian club from Manchester City, although he has never played for the first team of United’s city rival.
• Bruno Fernandes is teammates in the Portugal team of Granada players Rui Silva and Domingos Duarte.
• Granada are the only survivor of the five clubs that participated in the knockout stage of the UEFA Europa League for the first time this season. Antwerp, Hoffenheim, Leicester and Wolfsberg were eliminated in the round of 32.
• Manchester United are the only club in the quarter-finals this season that know what it’s like to win the UEFA Europa League, although Ajax also lifted the trophy in 1992, when it was called the UEFA Cup.
• United are the only one of eight participants in last season’s UEFA Europa League quarter-finals to have returned to the same phase of the competition in 2020/21. Only four other clubs have reached the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals in consecutive campaigns: Benfica (twice), Sevilla (three seasons in a row), Basel and Arsenal.
Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my firstname.lastname@example.org 1-800-268-7116