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Manchester United vs Granada: UEFA Europa League background, form guide, previous meetings

Manchester United are in a strong position to reach the semi-finals again as they host European debutants Granada at Old Trafford with a 2-0 advantage.

United take a 2-0 lead to Old Trafford
United take a 2-0 lead to Old Trafford UEFA via Getty Images

Manchester United, winners of the UEFA Europa League in 2016/17 and semi-finalists in 2019/20, are in a strong position to return to the last four of the competition as they host European debutants Granada at Old Trafford with a 2-0 advantage from the first leg in southern Spain.

• United competed in the UEFA Champions League during the autumn, defeats in their final two Group H fixtures leaving them in third place on nine points behind Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig. They have subsequently come through two UEFA Europa League ties, eliminating Spanish side Real Sociedad with ease (4-0 a, 0-0 h) before edging past AC Milan in the round of 16 (1-1 h, 1-0 a).

• Granada have enjoyed a remarkable run in their first European campaign. Having started out in the UEFA Europa League second qualifying round, the Spanish club were runners-up to PSV Eindhoven in Group E before ousting Napoli in the round of 32 and Molde in the round of 16 with identical results, winning 2-0 at home before losing 2-1 away.

Highlights: Granada 0-2 Manchester United (2 mins)
Highlights: Granada 0-2 Manchester United (2 mins)

Previous meetings
• United claimed only their fourth win on Spanish soil in the first leg, defeating Granada with goals from Marcus Rashford (31) and, in the last minute from the penalty spot, Bruno Fernandes. It was the Spanish club's first European encounter with English opposition.

• United have won only nine of their 27 home matches against Spanish visitors (D12 L6), and just one of the last ten (D5 L4). The round of 32 first-leg victory against Real Sociedad in Turin ended a nine-match, all-venues winless run against Spanish opposition, the last game in that sequence being their 2-1 defeat by Sevilla in neutral Cologne in last season's UEFA Europa League semi-final, a game in which they had gone ahead with an early Fernandes penalty.

• United's record in two-legged knockout ties against Spanish clubs is W7 L9. They have been eliminated from European competition by Liga opposition in each of the last three seasons – by Sevilla in the 2017/18 UEFA Champions League round of 16 (0-0 a, 1-2 h) and in last season's UEFA Europa League semi-final, and by Barcelona in the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League quarter-final (0-1 h, 0-3 a).

Five memorable Manchester United Europa League goals
Five memorable Manchester United Europa League goals

Form guide
Manchester United
• United finished third in the Premier League last season, when they also lost three semi-finals – in the English League Cup, the FA Cup and the UEFA Europa League. Their league position enabled them to compete in the UEFA Champions League group stage for the 23rd time.

• Ole Gunnar Solskjær's team got off to a flier in Group H, beating Paris 2-1 away and Leipzig 5-0 at home, but they lost three of their last four fixtures – 1-2 at İstanbul Başakşehir, 1-3 at home to Paris and 2-3 away to Leipzig – to drop down into third place.

• The Manchester giants have appeared in the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals twice previously, winning both ties after extra time – 3-2 on aggregate against Anderlecht in 2016/17 (1-1 a, 2-1 h), with Rashford getting the decisive goal at Old Trafford, and 1-0 in their one-off game against Copenhagen in Cologne last season thanks to another Fernandes penalty.

• United are unbeaten in their last 16 home games in the UEFA Europa League (W12 D4), winning five in a row before the draws this spring against Real Sociedad and Milan. They have not conceded more than one goal in any of their 16 home UEFA Europa League encounters since losing 2-3 to Spanish side Athletic Club in 2011/12, keeping clean sheets in five of the last seven.

• United have been successful in all 19 UEFA ties in which they won the first leg away, most recently in this season’s round of 32 against Real Sociedad. They have successfully defended a 2-0 lead at home on six previous occasions, winning the second leg also in the first five instances but losing 1-2 to Ajax at Old Trafford in the most recent such tie, in the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League round of 32.

Nothing is Written: Granada
Nothing is Written: Granada

Granada
• Granada earned a historic first qualification for European competition by finishing seventh in the 2019/20 Spanish Liga, having been promoted just the season before.

• Diego Martínez's side began the club's maiden continental voyage with a 4-0 win at Albanian side Teuta before sealing further progress with a 2-0 home win against Locomotive Tbilisi of Georgia and a 3-1 play-off success away to Swedish side Malmö.

• The Andalusian club made an impressive start to Group E, winning 2-1 at PSV, and although they lost the return fixture (0-1), a double over Omonoia (2-0 a, 2-1 h) and two goalless draws against PAOK enabled them to advance into the round of 32 in the Dutch club's slipstream.

• Granada won their first four UEFA fixtures outside Spain before drawing their final group game in Salonika and losing the second leg of both knockout phase ties in Naples and in Budapest against Molde.

• This is the first time that Granada have lost the first leg of a European tie at home.

Links and trivia
• Rashford's next appearance in UEFA club competition will be his 50th.

• United striker Edinson Cavani needs one more goal to reach 50 in UEFA club competition.

• United have three players with Spanish Liga experience – 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 legs of Granada's round of 16 victory against Molde, spent two seasons in England at Tottenham Hotspur (2013–15), scoring 16 goals in 76 appearances for the London club.

• Brazilian winger Kenedy is on a season-long loan to Granada from Chelsea, for whom he has scored three goals in 27 appearances. He has also played Premier League football on loan at Watford and Newcastle United.

• Other Granada players with brief experience of English football are Jesús Vallejo (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Dimitri Foulquier and Luis Suárez (both Watford), while Venezuelan midfielder Yangel Herrera is on loan to the Andalusian club from Manchester City, though he has never played a first-team game for United's local rivals.

• Bruno Fernandes is a Portugal national team-mate of Granada pair Rui Silva and Domingos Duarte.

• United consolidated second place in the Premier League table on Sunday, winning 3-1 at Tottenham Hotspur and thus stretching their unbeaten away run in the competition to 23 matches (W15 D8). Granada also won away at the weekend, 2-1 at Valladolid, to end an eight-match winless streak on the road in the Spanish Liga (D2 L6).

• Manchester United are the only club in this season's quarter-finals to have won the UEFA Europa League, though Ajax also lifted the trophy as UEFA Cup winners in 1992.

• United are the only one of the eight participants in last season's UEFA Europa League quarter-finals to have returned to the same stage of the competition in 2020/21. Just four other clubs have ever made it to the UEFA Europa League last eight in consecutive campaigns – Benfica (twice), Sevilla (three seasons in a row), Basel and Arsenal.

• Granada are the sole survivors of the five clubs that appeared in the knockout phase of the UEFA Europa League for the first time this season, Antwerp, Hoffenheim, Leicester City and Wolfsberg having all been eliminated in the round of 32.

• The winners of this tie will face either Roma or Ajax in the semi-final.

Penalty shoot-outs
• Manchester United's record in three UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W1 L2:
4-5 v Videoton, 1984/85 UEFA Cup quarter-final
3-4 v Torpedo Moskva, 1992/93 UEFA Cup first round
6-5 v Chelsea, 2007/08 UEFA Champions League final

• Granada have yet to feature in a UEFA penalty shoot-out.