F! SPORTS: Manchester United 1 Rostov 0 (2-1 agg): Mata decisive as Mourinho’s men progress | @FoshoENT_Radio
Manchester United progressed to the last eight of the Europa
League after Juan Mata’s goal secured a 1-0 win over Rostov at
An eye-catching Juan Mata goal secured Manchester United an
underwhelming 1-0 win over Rostov to book their passage to the
last eight of the Europa League.
Jose Mourinho’s side – held 1-1 in Russia – were wasteful in
front of goal for much of the match at Old Trafford and looked to
be heading for a goalless stalemate before Mata prodded home 20
minutes from time at the end of a well-worked move from the
United were dominant throughout, with Rostov offering little
attacking threat and generally relying on defensive stubbornness
and good fortune – the post coming to their rescue twice in the
first half to keep Zlatan Ibrahimovic at bay.
The home side suffered the blow of losing Paul Pogba – who
enjoyed a strong first half – to a suspected hamstring injury just
after the break and their hold on the midfield suffered slightly as a
But Mata finished off a fine United move to punish a Rostov error
and that goal proved to be enough, though Sergio Romero was
forced into a superb late stop to prevent the match going into
United made an early statement of intent, as Nikita Medvedev was
forced to parry Marcos Rojo’s header and then Ibrahimovic struck
the post from a tight angle as he pounced on the rebound.
Ibrahimovic made a nuisance of himself again 15 minutes in, but
he fired over when trying to beat Medvedev from an acute angle
for a second time instead of teeing up Henrikh Mkhitaryan after
racing on to Mata’s pinpoint pass.
Mkhitaryan’s involvement steadily became more significant and
he was denied a penalty just before the half-hour mark following a
blatant push in the back by Medvedev.
The Armenian almost got his revenge shortly after, but he clipped
a delicate effort agonisingly wide of the left-hand upright after
another fine Mata pass.
Ibrahimovic was then kept out by the woodwork again 11 minutes
before the break, drilling a fierce effort onto the right-hand post
after cleverly sidestepping Miha Mevlja in the area.
Pogba’s forced replacement two minutes into the second period
left United with a creative void in midfield, as his replacement –
Marouane Fellaini – provided more of a defensive presence.
And Rostov tested Romero for the first time shortly after – Sardar
Azmoun seeing a curling 20-yard effort pushed away by the
That chance marked the switch to a more purposeful set-up from
the away side, but that only served to give United more space to
And they took full advantage 20 minutes from time, as United
pounced on an error and quickly broke forward, with Mkhitaryan
ultimately sending a low cross into the box which Ibrahimovic
flicked on to Mata for an easy finish.
Rostov did go close to levelling and taking the match to extra
time, but Romero dived down to his right to tip substitute
Aleksandr Bukharov’s header around the post in acrobatic fashion
and United ultimately clinched their spot in the quarter-finals.
Key Opta Facts:
– Jose Mourinho has won each of his last eight European home
games (Chelsea – 3, Manchester United – 5), scoring 21 and
conceding just two.
– In fact, Mourinho has not lost a home game in European
competition since a 3-1 second leg semi-final loss to Atletico
Madrid in April 2014 (W10 D2).
– The Red Devils are now unbeaten in their last 16 European
matches played at home (including qualifiers, W13 D3), last losing
in March 2013 to Real Madrid.
– Since the start of 2015-16, Russian clubs have faced English
teams eight times in European competition and have not won any
of those matches (W0 D3 L5).
– United’s only goal was Juan Mata’s 10th of the season,
equalling his highest tally from the previous two seasons for the
Red Devils (10 goals in each).
– Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been directly involved in a goal in each of
his four Europa League appearances at Old Trafford this season
(4 goals, 2 assists).
Posted By JaymOnI Swaggz #HNIC
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