By Duro Ikhazuagbe with agency report
Odion Ighalo who is primed to feature for Manchester United against FC Copenhagen in this evening’s Europa League winner-takes-all quarter-final clash in Cologne, is potentially facing a 13-day lockdown in Germany.
If Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men beat the Danish side today at the RheinEnergieStadion and go all the way to final, they would be in the lockdown for 13 days.
The final of the Europa was originally supposed to be held in Gdansk, Poland, but that has been pushed back to next year with Germany seen as an ideal country to host the new knockout format adopted to conclude the season disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
This will be the second time Ighalo who is on loan till end of January will go through the process after his first experience when he joined the Red Devils fresh from China on mid-season transfer last January.
The AFCON 2019 top scorer was placed on 14-day quarantine for fear of Covid-19 before he joined the rest of United players.
Ighalo’s main rivals for starting shirt, Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford were also in United’s 21-man party that flew into Cologne on Sunday morning.
The former Super Eagles forward has started each of the last three games contested by Manchester United in the Europa League – Club Brugge (home) and in the home and away legs against LASK of Austria. He was on the scorer’s sheet away in Austria before the lockdown.
The Red Devils’ win against the Danish Superliga powerhouse would see them face either Wolverhampton Wanderers or Sevilla in the semifinal to be staged next
Meanwhile, UK’s Daily Mail reported yesterday that Manchester United were surprised to discover that UEFA have allocated them a training ground at the 12,000-seater Sudstadion, home to fourth-tier outfit Fortuna Koln, or a third division alternative if they go through.
They were hoping to be given access to facilities at a Bundesliga club, but were told that they are all being used in preparation for the start of the new German season next month.
The rules will be the same for every team, with Bayer Leverkusen forced to abandon their state-of-the-art complex and train 20 miles away in Dusseldorf before facing Inter Milan tonight.
It’s understood that the four-star hotel booked for United is also some way below their usual standards for European trips.
Solskjaer had preferred to fly in and out of Germany for the tournament and work with his squad at Carrington as usual.
United last won the competition in 2017, beating Ajax 2-0 in the final in Jose Mourinho’s first season at the club.
UNITED’S 21-MAN SQUAD: Bishop, De Gea, Grant; Dalot, Fosu-Mensah, Laird, Lindelof, Mengi, Wan-Bissaka, Williams; Fernandes, Galbraith, Garner, Pogba, Matic, Mata, Lingard, Pereira; Chong, Greenwood, Ighalo, James, Rashford.
Man Utd v Copenhagen
Inter v Leverkusen