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Dublin: 15 °C Friday 20 April, 2018


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Good evening one and all and welcome along to our live coverage of Man United’s Europa League clash with FC Rostov.

Jose Mourinho’s side have made the 2,600km trip to the Olimp-2 stadium for tonight’s round of 16 first leg tie.

Kick off is at 6pm and we’ll have all the build-up between now and then.

After safely advancing from Group A, United comfortably eased past St Etienne in the round of 32 but are likely to face a sterner test in the form of a Rostov outfit who have lost just one of their last seven European games at home.

Mourinho’s starting XI has just been announced, with the United manager making six changes to the side which drew with Bournemouth on Saturday.

Sergio Romero starts in goal while Chris Smalling, Ander Herrera, Daley Blind, Marouane Fellaini, Ashley Young and Henrikh Mkhitaryan are all handed recalls.

As you would expect, tonight’s game at the 16,000 seater Olimp-2 stadium is a sell out.

Temperatures in southern Russia are currently 10 degrees but a strong breeze is blowing across the ground ahead of kick off. The hosts have announced they will be providing blankets for the travelling supporters.

Rostov v Manchester United - UEFA Europa League - Last 16 - First Leg - Manchester United Arrival - Olimp-2 Stadium Source: PA Wire/PA Images

Rostov v Manchester United - UEFA Europa League - Last 16 - First Leg - Manchester United Arrival - Olimp-2 Stadium Source: PA Wire/PA Images

Rostov v Manchester United - UEFA Europa League - Last 16 - First Leg - Manchester United Arrival - Olimp-2 Stadium Source: PA Wire/PA Images

Let’s take a closer look at United’s side for tonight’s game. Henrikh Mkhitaryan returns from injury to start in attack alongside Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

France Soccer Europa League Source: Laurent Cipriani

The Armenian had been out of action with a hamstring problem that caused him to miss the club’s EFL Cup final win over Southampton in February.  But after making a full recovery, he will look to make an impact for Mourinho’s men as they face a tough test in Russia.

Ibrahimovic also starts, after seeing the FA hand down a three-match ban for domestic games following his elbow on Tyrone Mings.  The striker hit a hat-trick in the last 32 to see off Saint-Etienne, and with five goals in the competition is tied in fourth in the top scorer rankings.

This is how the home side will line up:

The Russian outfit failed to qualify from their Champions Leagie group but did beat Bayern Munich at this ground back in November, as well as holding PSV to a 2-2 draw.

They hammered Sparta Prague 5-1 on aggregate in the round of 32 to set up this tie against United.

Kick off fast approaching in Russia, as the teams emerge from the tunnel.

The pitch is patchy, at best, but we’re all set and ready to go.

Mata, Rashford, Martial, Carrick and Lingard are among the replacements for the visitors.


Bright start from United as they look to instantly stamp their authority on this tie. Pogba and then Herrera have shots on goal.


Pogba looks to get in behind but Rostov have enough cover to clear the danger and United restart again. The surface isn’t ideal for stroking the ball around so it may need to be a a little more direct from the visitors this evening.


Pogba has been heavily involved during these opening exchanges and he wins a free kick on this near side after being body checked on the touchline. Mkhitaryan and Blind stand over it, before the latter eventually whips it in but it’s too close to the goalkeeper.


All a bit scrappy so far with the ball spending a lot of time in the air. United have yet to get going but have seen most of the possession in the opening 10 minutes.


This picture of the pitch will give you some indication of its condition.

Rostov v Manchester United - UEFA Europa League - Last 16 - First Leg - Manchester United Arrival - Olimp-2 Stadium Source: PA Wire/PA Images


Young sends in a diagonal ball towards the back post, where Ibrahimovic knocks it back across but the whistle goes after Mkhitaryan arrives a little late and clatters the defender.


The hosts forced into an early change with Vladimir Granat going off holding his shoulder after clashing with Mkhitaryan. Terentyev is on in his place.


There has been a bit of an edge to the opening 20 minutes and Mkhitaryan goes in the book after colliding with Kudryashov. Seemed to be very little in it but the German official thought differently.


Gatskan is shown a yellow for upending Ibrahimovic and the Rostov captain will now miss the second leg at Old Trafford.


Pretty much sums up the first 26 minutes of this game. Blind does well to get down the left and win a corner but the Dutchman’s corner sails out of play before coming back in.

Flag 40Mins

GOAL! Rostov 0-1 Man United (Mkhitaryan)

Out of nowhere, United hit the front! Fellaini plays a lovely ball through for Ibrahimovic, who gets to the end line and pulls it back for Mkhitaryan to slot it home.


It has been pretty uninspiring stuff but, to their credit, United have managed the conditions well and still look dangerous even on such an awful surface. It has been physical out there at times but Mourinho’s men have used their possession effectively.


Two minutes of added time at the end of this half.


Team are back out for the second half and we’re up and running again.


No changes for either side at the break.


Ibrahimovic appears to fall awkwardly and stays down at one end of the pitch. As play progresses, he gingerly gets back to his feet. The last 10 minutes or so have been really stop-start.


Big appeals for a penalty as Erokhin goes down after Smalling came across to mop under the danger. The referee isn’t interested though.

Moments later, the hosts find their way through again but Erokhin’s shot is well off target.


Rostov are really growing into the game and are now causing United’s defence plenty of problems. From the set-piece this time, a yellow shirt is left free at the back post but Cesar Navas is unable to divert it home.


Mourinho has responded by making his first change. The goalscorer Mkhitaryan is replaced by Anthony Martial. Just over 20 minutes remaining.


Kalachev is the latest player to be booked and he’s going to miss the second leg through suspension too.


Three minutes of added time.


Rostov win a late free kick but Jones is fouled in the box as the ball comes in. Two changes for United, meanwhile, as Valencia and Carrick come on for Herrera and Blind.


United suddenly come alive and look for a late winner. Ibrahimovic’s long-range effort is blocked but it’s still there as Martial looks to get on the end of Fellaini’s knock down.

Thanks for joining us this evening, we’ll have a report and reaction on the site shortly.

About the author:

Ryan Bailey