Nick Potts

As it happened: Man United v Rostov, Europa League second leg

Man United hosted Rostov, with the sides having drawn 1-1 in the first leg.

Hello, and welcome to tonight’s liveblog.

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Kick of is at 8.05pm.

United have gone with a strong side for tonight, although David de Gea is only on the bench.

United side: Romero, Valencia, Bailly, Smalling, Rojo, Blind, Pogba, Herrera, Mata, Mkhitaryan, Ibrahimovic.

Rostov side: Medvedev, Terentyev, Poloz, Noboa, Bayramyan, Azmoun, Mevlja, Prepeliţa Kudryashov, Navas, Erokhin.

We’re underway…

Pogba’s cross is deflected out for a corner.

As it’s subsequently played in, Rojo’s header forces a save from the goalkeeper, who then prevents Ibrahimovic from slotting home the rebound.

United have begun this match very much on the front foot.

All United in these early stages, as they dominate possession and territory.

As I type, Pogba’s pot shot is blocked unwittingly by Ibrahimovic.

A Rostov player is down after being hit by a Zlatan free kick “as if he’s been shot” in the words of Eir Sport co-commentator Brian Kerr.

Rostov need a goal, so they can’t afford to do too much time wasting at the moment.

Valencia’s low cross is cleared before Mkhitaryan shoots well wide.

Rostov are struggling to even get into United’s half at the moment.

Valencia is finding plenty of joy down the Rostov left at the moment, though his final ball has been lacking so far.

There will have been far too many last-ditch clearances for the visiting manager’s liking in these early stages.

Half chance for Ibrahimovic.

Mata plays a clever lofted through ball to the Swede, who takes it round the goalkeeper before shooting over from a tight angle.

Blind has played in two crosses in as many minutes, but Medvedev has dealt with both comfortably.

Shortly thereafter, Pogba blazes the ball well over the bar from distance.

United, for all their dominance in possession, have looked a little toothless in the final third thus far.

Rostov have at least made inroads into United’s final third in recent minutes, though they have yet to register a shot on target.

As I type, some great football from United in the build up leads to Mata playing through Mkhitaryan, but the latter’s chipped finish goes narrowly wide.

Valencia beats Bayramyan again, but his cross is headed clear, before Ibrahimovic shoots off target moments later.

As I type, Zlatan has another edge-of-the-box shot, which comes off the post.

At this point, it seems inconceivable that United won’t progress in this tie.

The visitors have posed minimal threat, while the Red Devils are looking increasingly dangerous going forward.

Manchester United v FC Rostov - UEFA Europa League - Round of Sixteen - Second Leg - Old Trafford Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho (left) looks towards FC Rostov assistant coach Dmitri Kirichenko after a decision over a push in the penalty area was not given. Nick Potts Nick Potts

Rostov break and Erokhin shoots wide from distance.

It never looked like going in, but at least it counts as a shot registered.


So half-time and United have been comfortable without being anywhere near their best, dominating territory and enjoying 76% of the possession.

For a side needing a goal to go through, Rostov have been unduly cautious, seldom looking in anyway threatening in that first half.

United have wasted a few decent chances and were poor in the final third overall, with a distinct lack of urgency in their play all too often. So unless they can improve that aspect of their game imminently, Jose Mourinho may have to endured a nerve-racking climax to this tie.

The second half is underway…

Bad news for United fans. Pogba looks to have pulled his hamstring while sprinting.

He is being taken off and replaced by Fellaini.

Panic in the Rostov defence as an attempted clearance falls to Mkhitaryan.

However, the Armenia international can’t quite get his footwork right and the visitors clear at the second attempt.

Rostov get a rare sight at goal, as Sardar Azmoun tests Romero with a decent curled effort. That’s a reminder to United that they can’t afford to get too complacent, despite this match feeling like a pre-season friendly at times.

As I type, Valencia, who has been excellent, crosses to Ibrahimovic, who heads over from a difficult angle.

Ibrahimovic brushes off a challenge from Mevlja, but his cross is comfortably collected by Medvedev.

United continue to lack cutting edge in attack.

It’s been pretty dire to watch in the last few minutes.

Not much of note has occurred, as United appear to be coasting to the next round.

Phil Jones has come for Daley Blind at left-back.

A penny for Luke Shaw’s thoughts right now.


United have finally scored and it’s a nice goal.

The hosts break and Mkhitaryan crosses to Ibrahimovic, who flicks it on for the onrushing Mata to slot home from close range.

It’s well deserved — United have been the far superior team in this match.

Here’s a look at the game’s opening goal.

MATCH DAY 2 / YouTube

Half chance for Rostov.

Bukharov’s header forces Romero into a decent save. This tie isn’t over yet.

It’s eerily quiet at Old Trafford right now.

The crowd seem to believe this match is all but over.

There are some ironic cheers as Phil Jones unconvincingly tries to take on his man down the left, running the ball out of play ultimately.

Safe to say he’s not a natural fit in the position.

Rostov are playing with three strikers now, but they continue to play without any real ambition.

If anything, United look like the team who need a goal.

There will be four minutes of time added on.

Unless something dramatic happens between now and then, Rostov are really going out with a whimper.


Right, that’s all from me. Thanks for reading and commenting.

You can read our match report of the game here.

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