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Manchester United made it to the semi-finals of the UEFA Europa League when they dramatically defeated Belgian side RSC Anderlecht 2-1 (3-2 on aggregate) at Old Trafford after extra time.
With the clash poised at 1-1 after the first leg, Henrikh Mkhitaryan – the scorer in Belgium, opened the scoring in the 10th minute to give United an advantage. The visitors had a few great chances from thereon, but couldn’t make them count. But the pressure paid off in the 32nd minute, when captain Sofiane Hanni bundled home from a rebound, after Youri Tielemans had struck the crossbar.
Soon after the restart, Jesse Lingard failed to apply the finishing touches from a Luke Shaw cutback, before Marcus Rashford spurned a chance after finding himself one-on-one with the Anderlecht stopper Ruben. More opportunities came United’s way and they went begging just like that as the match entered into extra-time.
However, Rashford more than made up for his earlier profligacy, as he slotted the ball into the bottom corner, two minutes into the second-half of the extra-time, to send United through.
The Red Devils are joined by Ajax, Celta Vigo and Olympique Lyon in the last-four. Here is how the United players fared on the night:
Cannot lay the blame at his feet for the goal. Made a string of impressive saves and looked commanding from set-pieces and high-balls. However, grew nervy as the game wore on.
Made two defensive errors that allowed the visitors a whiff at goal. Wasn’t very effective going forward either. A subdued display.
Overpowered by Acheampong in the first-half, but survived as the player failed to score. Other than that one blip, he was solid, as he dealt with the physicality of Lukasz Teodorczyk.
Subbed off halfway through the first-half due to an injury he picked up after a collision with Alexandru Chipciu.
Misplaced several passes at the start of the game, but grew with time. Threat with his forward runs, linked up well with Rashford on a number of occasions.
The captain was a passenger on occasions as the Anderlecht midfield bossed the area. His passing was crisp when he was on the ball, but a poor night.
Started the move for the opener with an exquisite pass, denied by the keeper soon after with a header. Fired over the bar from just yards out in the late stages. Was strong in challenges.
Forced the keeper into a save from an excellent strike. But that’s as good as it got for the Englishman as he spent the rest of the game on the periphery. Missed a great chance in the second half, before being taken off.
Opened the scoring with a strong finish. But seemed to fade out from then on. Is growing into a vital player, but needs to be more effective over the entire duration of the game.
United’s brightest player in attack. Set up the opener after Pogba sent him through. Spurned several great opportunities to seal the result in the second-half, but held his nerve when it mattered the most to score in the extra time.
Isolated at the top. Could not get involved much. Should’ve done better with his opportunity from six-yards out in the second-half. Taken off after the normal time due to what looked like a serious injury.
Replaced the injured Rojo. Culpable for the goal, but made a vital block soon after. Nervy and rusty.
Came on for Lingard in the 60th minute. His introduction allowed United to go more direct into the box.
Replaced Ibra for the extra-time. Looks short on confidence.