Sport

Man Utd into Europa League semis, but at a cost

Manchester United's Marcus Rashford (right), with teammate Marouane Fellaini, celebrates his side's winner.
Manchester United's Marcus Rashford (right), with teammate Marouane Fellaini, celebrates his side's winner. Dave Thompson

MANCHESTER United has progressed to the Europa League final four but only just, winning 2-1 on the night and 3-2 on aggregate against Belgian side Anderlecht.

Extra time was required, with Sofiane Hanni's first-half goal cancelling out Henrikh Mkhitaryan's 10th-minute strike.

Marcus Rashford then fired the decisive winner in the 107th minute on a night where United copped serious injuries to Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcos Rojo.

Defender Rojo was stretchered off just 23 minutes into the match, while Ibrahimovic limped down the tunnel as the game moved into extra time, after landing heavily on his knee in the final minute of normal time.

It cast a shadow over United's evening, but Rashford's superb strike ensured they took up a place in the last four.

Star of Sunday's 2-0 win over Chelsea, he notched the decisive goal by gathering Marouane Fellaini's knock-down, making space with a sharp Cruyff turn and firing in a low shot with his left foot.

United first went ahead in the 10th minute after a finely measured pass from Paul Pogba found Rashford wide on the left.

Rashford's cross was blocked, but the ball came back to him and he squared it for Mkhitaryan, who drilled a low shot into the bottom-left corner.

United were on top and it took flying one-handed saves from visiting goalkeeper Ruben to repel a header from Pogba and a Jesse Lingard curler.

But United then lost Rojo - hurt as he tried in vain to halt Frank Acheampong, with Daley Blind taking his place - and Anderlecht levelled the tie in the 32nd minute.

Youri Tielemans' deflected shot came back off the crossbar and after a moment's confusion, Hanni put away the rebound.

United's chances became more clear-cut in the second half.

Rashford rounded Ruben but knocked the ball too wide after an error by Dennis Appiah and Ruben thwarted Ibrahimovic from substitute Fellaini's header.

A corner from Mkhitaryan fell for Pogba on the edge of the six-yard box, but he skied his volley into the Stretford End.

 

Manchester United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic leaves the field with an injury.
Manchester United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic leaves the field with an injury. Dave Thompson

Freed by Michael Carrick, Ibrahimovic shanked wastefully wide. Teed up by Ibrahimovic's scooped pass, Rashford found the side-netting. Fortunately for United, he would not be denied.

Elsewhere, Schalke over-turned a 2-0 first leg deficit to beat Ajax 3-0 in another tie that went to extra-time.

Leon Goretzka and Guido Burgstaller scored in the space of three second-half minutes to cancel out Ajax's advantage before Daniel Caligiuri hit Schalke's third after 101 minutes thanks to Sead Kolasinac's fine cross.

Celta Vigo reached a European semi-final for the first time after a 1-1 draw at Genk gave it a 4-3 aggregate win over the Belgians.

Danish winger Pione Sisto put the Spaniards ahead on the night with a fierce drive in the 63rd minute after a barnstorming run from the halfway line.

Leandro Trossard levelled just four minutes later but it was not enough to dent the Spaniards' charge to the last four.

In Istanbul, Besiktas beat Lyon 2-1 but after extra-time failed to separate the two sides locked at 3-3, and Lyon progressed on penalties.

News Corp Australia

Topics:  europa league manchester united zlatan ibrahimovic


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