Manchester United enjoyed an 8-5 aggregate victory over Roma in the Europa League semi-finals with star striker Edinson Cavani netting four goals across the two games.
However, there was another incident not involving a goal in which the Uruguayan further endeared himself to the United fanbase.
With 19 minutes remaining in the second leg in Rome, and with the score poised at 2-2, the 34-year-old rushed to the aid of teenager Mason Greenwood, who was being surrounded by opposition players.
Greenwood found himself in a scuffle with Roma’s Gianluca Mancini, while the home side’s defender Rick Karsdorp swiftly joined in to outnumber the United forward.
Cavani – who is quickly establishing himself as a United fan-favourite – then ran over to the incident to face down the Roma players and provide protection for Greenwood.
The veteran striker picked up a booking for his troubles, but it was a sign of the team unity and Cavani’s bond with his younger teammate – with whom he has established an attacking understanding.
Cavani told Manutd.com on the incident: “I’ve always said that I’m someone who works very hard in football.
“I’m out on the pitch and part of a team to work hard for that team and to do my best for every one of the lads who go to make up our team.
“There are times when you’re out there when I believe you need to protect and stand up for one of your team-mates.
“Sometimes because it might be down to a lack of experience on their part, and they might make a mistake.
“Many times, it is because you believe that a situation that they are involved in during a stand-off just isn’t fair.
“In that incident against Roma, what I felt was that he was arguing face to face with the Roma defender which is something that can happen in football.
“The next minute, a third guy came on the scene and began pushing him when he clearly wasn’t part of the original argument.
“I told him he should keep out of the incident and that’s why I went to help Mason and offer him some protection.
“I also tried to separate the players so the incident would calm down. We were in a key period of the game and he could have been given a red card.
“I got a yellow card for my trouble, but the main thing was really to protect and defend him and to try to prevent everything escalating further.”
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