FC Copenhagen – Match Report vs Manchester United 10/08/20

FC Copenhagen held Manchester United to a goalless draw for 90 minutes in this Europa League semi-final before an extra-time penalty scored by Bruno Fernandes sent United through to face Sevilla in the final. A combination of resolute defending, impressive goalkeeping and good fortune had seen Copenhagen’s low block frustrate United but the penalty proved decisive, with very little action for Sergio Romero to deal with at the other end.

Ratings

  • A1 – Very good, could play higher
  • A2 – Strong potential to play higher
  • B1 – Good, strong player at level
  • B2 – Potential to be strong player at level
  • C – Average for the level, rewatch
  • D – Below average in this match

Victor Nelsson

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Danish
  • Age: 21
  • Date of birth: 14/10/1998
  • Current Club: FC Copenhagen
  • Career: FC Nordsjælland, FC Copenhagen
  • Position: Centre Back
  • Preferred foot: Right

Nelsson had the unenviable task of dealing with United’s front three of Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood but performed incredibly well and looked at home playing against that calibre of player. He plays with great confidence and decisiveness, taking charge of situations with a sense of authority that you would expect from a much older and more experienced defender.

One particularly impressive aspect of his defensive quality is his positioning, he is constantly in the right area to make a block or clearance in his own box or intercept passes higher up the pitch. He has good athleticism, winning the majority of his aerial duels whilst playing as the deeper of the two defenders to utilise his impressive ground speed when covering in behind.

He is very comfortable in possession and accurate with his passing, Copenhagen spent much of the game without the ball but he still displayed his ability with crisp vertical progressive passes into the midfield and final third. One criticism of him is that he struggled when defending 1v1 against United’s fast, skilful attacking players and was too easily dribbled past at times. However, his ability to recover and get back goal-side in order to make last-minute blocks and tackles is excellent.

Rating: A1

It is no surprise to those who have watched Nelsson before to see him flourish against top opposition and it will not be long before he is playing at that level week-in week-out.

Jonas Wind

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Danish
  • Age: 21
  • Date of birth: 07/02/1999
  • Current Club: FC Copenhagen
  • Career: FC Copenhagen
  • Position: Centre Forward
  • Preferred foot: Right

Wind performed well as part of a front two for Copenhagen, displaying a good combination of physical and technical ability that saw him hold the ball up effectively and bring others into play. He is a tall well-built striker, standing at 6’3, but he is comfortable with the ball at his feet, often dropping deep and acting as a second striker to link the play between the midfield and the attacking third.

He did utilise his height to act as an aerial target, winning a lot of headers and knock-downs and providing a good outlet for a team that played large periods of the match under pressure. He was less effective in the air in the second-half, struggling to assert himself as the United centre-backs started to be more physical and aggressive in aerial duels.

His attacking positioning was effective in creating space to receive the ball in the box but he needs to be more clinical and even selfish, snatching at a few opportunities and passing from a strong shooting position. However, as mentioned his passing was effective at bringing others into play and creating chances for teammates to add to a strong, well-rounded display.

Rating: A2

Wind missed most of the season through injury and so has only been able to play a handful of matches. Not yet ready for the next step but he is a player with a lot of potential who could be in for a breakout season.

Mohamed Daramy

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Danish/Sierra Leonean
  • Age: 18
  • Date of birth: 07/01/2002
  • Current Club: FC Copenhagen
  • Career: FC Copenhagen
  • Position: Left Wing
  • Secondary Position: Right Wing/Centre Forward
  • Preferred foot: Right

Daramy was typically energetic and lively on the ball but drifted in and out of the game as Copenhagen were forced to sit deep and defend for large periods. His directness and ability in 1v1 situations was Copenhagen’s biggest attacking threat in the first-half but their overall approach did not play to his strengths and he was substituted 10 minutes into the second-half.

His technical ability makes him a very dangerous player in and around the box, able to find and create space for a shot with quick footwork and skill in tight areas. He could benefit from taking his time and adding more composure to his game when in possession, his sharp movements and the speed with which he can perform them are amongst his biggest strengths but at times can feel slightly rushed or out of control.

He snatched at a few first-half chances but was consistently getting into good positions in the box as crosses were coming in, reacting quickly and showing good striking instincts. He showed flashes of talent in the game, particularly when driving forward with the ball and using his pace and dribbling ability to cause problems for the United defence.

Rating: A2

Daramy being given the start in a semi-final against Manchester United says a lot about his ability and potential. He performed well on the big stage and will no doubt already be on the radar of some of Europe’s top clubs.

Jens Stage

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Danish
  • Age: 23
  • Date of birth: 8/10/1996
  • Current Club: FC Copenhagen
  • Career: AGF Aarhus, FC Copenhagen
  • Position: Central Midfield
  • Secondary Position: Defensive Midfield
  • Preferred foot: Right

Stage put in a good shift and worked incredibly hard to protect the back four, break up United’s passing game and limit the space for their creative midfield players to operate in around the edge of the box. He is a very functional player, tidy and efficient on the ball whilst performing a lot of the less attractive but equally important ‘dirty’ work out of possession.

He started the game attempting a front-foot style of defending, reacting quickly when a pass is made to step in front of the receiving player and win possession. However, this was made difficult by the technical ability of the United players and led to free-kicks being given away in dangerous positions. He reacted well to this, instead focusing on positioning himself well to break up the play and disrupt the rhythm, delaying attacking moves and allowing Copenhagen to regain their structure rather than looking for possession turnovers.

For the most part, he kept things simple on the ball with minimal touches and short passes to players in space. At times, though, he showed good press resistance and spacial awareness to get out of tight areas and open up the play to the other side of the pitch where there was more space for Copenhagen to attack down.

Rating: A2

Stage had a big role to play in this game and was exemplary in his performance of it. He is not without faults and can struggle against quicker, more athletic players but his work-rate and industry are underrated attributes and he would be a good addition to the midfield of most mid-table clubs in Europe’s top leagues.

Pep Biel

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Spanish
  • Age: 23
  • Date of birth: 5/9/1996
  • Current Club: FC Copenhagen
  • Career: Rayo Vallecano (Y), Llosetense, RCD Mallorca B, Almudévar (L), Real Zaragoza, FC Copenhagen
  • Position: Right Wing
  • Preferred foot: Left

Biel had a quiet game for Copenhagen, doing a lot of defensive work on the right of the midfield four but not seeing much of the ball in an attacking sense before being substituted in the 57th minute. He played very narrow out of possession as Copenhagen looked to keep things tight and defend with two banks of four. This was effective in creating a solid defensive structure and reducing space but came at the expense of a wide outlet and negated Biel’s creativity from the wing.

He likes to cut in from the right onto his stronger left foot but this can make him quite predictable to defend against and the times he did go on the outside he didn’t look particularly comfortable on his weaker foot. He is very small in stature which is effective when using his low centre of gravity to evade challenges but he can be slightly too lightweight and struggles against more physical opponents.

Rating: B2

A very quiet game but one where he worked hard out of possession and provided support for the full-back which helped keep Rashford largely out of the picture.

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