Late Rashford goal sends Man Utd through

Marcus Rashford

Marcus Rashford scored his first goal in European competition since netting v Midtjylland on his Man Utd debut in February 2016.

Marcus Rashford’s extra-time goal sent Manchester United into the Europa League semi-final at the expense of Anderlecht on a night of tension at Old Trafford.

The Europa League has acquired huge significance for United and manager Jose Mourinho as it offers a potential route into the Champions League, away from the battle for top-four places in the Premier League – making this victory crucial.

United took the lead on the night and in the tie when Henrikh Mkhitaryan drilled in a low finish in the 10th minute but Anderlecht restored parity when Sofiane Hanni scrambled home an equaliser after 32 minutes.

Mourinho’s side were their own worst enemies with a shocking display of finishing as they missed chance after chance, their cause also undermined by injuries to defender Marcos Rojo in the first half and a serious-looking knee injury to top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic at the end of normal time.

United were facing the prospect of a penalty shootout but Rashford, a scorer against Chelsea at the weekend, made the decisive contribution after 107 minutes with a brilliant turn and finish from Marouane Fellaini’s knockdown.

Relive Manchester United’s dramatic win against Anderlecht

Man Utd still lack killer touch?

Manchester United flirted with an exit from the Europa League here – and if they had gone out they would only have had themselves to blame.

As on so many occasions this season, United created multiple chances only to waste the opportunities and leave themselves hostages to fortune and the threatening counter-attacks of Anderlecht.

Rashford, Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba were all guilty of a succession of bad misses as the flaw that has undermined United all season reared its ugly head once more and kept Anderlecht in contention right until the final whistle in extra time.

On this occasion, at least, United rescued themselves with Rashford’s goal but Mourinho will know his side must discover the killer touch from somewhere if they are to secure the Champions League place that must be the minimum requirement from this season.

Expensive night in victory?

Zlatan Ibrahimovic<!–

Zlatan Ibrahimovic went off with a knee injury just before the end of normal time, with Jose Mourinho saying the prognosis was “fairly negative”

United can celebrate another step towards winning the Europa League and the Champions League place that comes with it – but this may yet prove to be expensive night for Mourinho as the season reaches its climax.

The biggest concern will surround Ibrahimovic, whose knee looked to give way at he challenged for a high ball in the final moments of normal time. He managed to get to his feet and wave away the waiting stretcher but was helped off as he limped down the tunnel at the Stretford End.

Ibrahimovic had actually had a nightmare before his injury but his influence this season has been huge and United will anxiously await the medical update.

Rashford has delivered against Chelsea and here against Anderlecht, offering the pace and movement which the 35-year-old Swede cannot, but the loss of Ibrahimovic would still be a setback of major significance after his 28 goals this season.

And there will be almost equal concern about the injury to Rojo that saw the central defender taken off on a stretcher in the first half. He had received lengthy treatment previously before collapsing in a second challenge. United are already without injured central defenders Phil Jones and Chris Smalling, so they can ill-afford to lose Rojo.

This was a vital victory for Manchester United – but it may yet be victory at a heavy price.

Mourinho still on course

When Mourinho was appointed United manager, it was with the express intention of bringing more trophies to Old Trafford – but also putting the club back in the Champions League.

Mourinho may be taking the scenic route and learning to love a competition he derided for so long, but with the fight for the top four in the Premier League so tight and with United facing tough trips to Manchester City and Arsenal in the run-in, the Europa League provides a welcome safety net.

The poor relation of European football’s competitions has suddenly acquired crucial status at Old Trafford, as the celebrations at the conclusion of extra time proved.

Man of the match – Marcus Rashford

Marcus Rashford<!–

Rashford has had a hand in four goals in his past four appearances for Man Utd (all comps), as many as in his previous 33 combined.

Mkhitaryan among the goals again. The stats

  • Jose Mourinho has won his past nine European home games as manager, including all six with Man Utd this season.
  • Man Utd are unbeaten in their past 26 games in all competitions at Old Trafford (W17 D9); their longest unbeaten run since October 2011 (37 games).
  • Anderlecht have never won in 18 previous away games against English sides (D2 L16), conceding in every contest.
  • Henrikh Mkhitaryan has scored in five of his past six Europa League games.
  • Mkhitaryan has scored in three successive appearances (all comps) for Man Utd for the second time this season.
  • Only Genk (25) and Roma (24) have scored more goals in the Europa League this season than Anderlecht (23).

What next?

Manchester United switch their focus back to the Premier League as they travel to Burnley on Sunday (14:15 BST) before travelling to Manchester City on 27 April (20:00).

Live Text

Match ends, Manchester United 2, RSC Anderlecht 1.

Second Half Extra Time ends, Manchester United 2, RSC Anderlecht 1.

Attempt missed. Kara (RSC Anderlecht) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Ivan Obradovic.

Offside, Manchester United. Henrikh Mkhitaryan tries a through ball, but Anthony Martial is caught offside.

Sergio Romero (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Isaac Kiese Thelin (RSC Anderlecht).

Attempt blocked. Uros Spajic (RSC Anderlecht) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Youri Tielemans.

Attempt saved. Frank Acheampong (RSC Anderlecht) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Kara with a headed pass.

Anthony Martial (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Youri Tielemans (RSC Anderlecht).

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Kara.

Michael Carrick (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Isaac Kiese Thelin (RSC Anderlecht).

Foul by Antonio Valencia (Manchester United).

Ivan Obradovic (RSC Anderlecht) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt saved. Paul Pogba (Manchester United) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Foul by Marcus Rashford (Manchester United).

Massimo Bruno (RSC Anderlecht) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Goal! Manchester United 2, RSC Anderlecht 1. Marcus Rashford (Manchester United) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Marouane Fellaini with a headed pass.

Foul by Daley Blind (Manchester United).

Isaac Kiese Thelin (RSC Anderlecht) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Second Half Extra Time begins Manchester United 1, RSC Anderlecht 1.

First Half Extra Time ends, Manchester United 1, RSC Anderlecht 1.

Attempt saved. Youri Tielemans (RSC Anderlecht) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Isaac Kiese Thelin.

Attempt blocked. Marcus Rashford (Manchester United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Marouane Fellaini with a headed pass.

Foul by Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United).

Uros Spajic (RSC Anderlecht) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Ivan Obradovic.

Dennis Appiah (RSC Anderlecht) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Marcus Rashford (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Dennis Appiah (RSC Anderlecht).

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Kara.

Attempt missed. Nicolae Stanciu (RSC Anderlecht) right footed shot from the centre of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Youri Tielemans following a corner.

Corner, RSC Anderlecht. Conceded by Eric Bailly.

Attempt missed. Ivan Obradovic (RSC Anderlecht) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Massimo Bruno.

Attempt saved. Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Manchester United) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

Attempt blocked. Paul Pogba (Manchester United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Marcus Rashford with a cross.

First Half Extra Time begins Manchester United 1, RSC Anderlecht 1.

Substitution, Manchester United. Anthony Martial replaces Zlatan Ibrahimovic because of an injury.

Second Half ends, Manchester United 1, RSC Anderlecht 1.

Source Article from http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/39611675

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