UEL: Man Utd 1-0 Rostov (2-1 on agg)


Juan Mata celebrates after scoring for Manchester United on Thursday

Juan Mata's second-half goal gave Man Utd a 1-0 victory over Rostov and a 2-1 win on aggregate to send them through to the Europa League quarter final.


Zlatan Ibrahimovic hit the post twice in the first half as United struggled to get past the Russians at Old Trafford, but they went ahead on the night and in the tie through Mata in the 70th minute, the Spaniard finishing at the far post from the Swede's flick.

Rostov did provide a few scares for United, with Sardar Azmoun and Aleksandr Bukharov testing Sergio Romero either side of the goal, before the goalkeeper pulled off a fine stop from Christian Noboa's free-kick in the fifth minute of stoppage time.

The only major downside was a potential hamstring injury for Paul Pogba, who limped off minutes into the second half. United are looking for their first-ever success in the competition, and will find out their last eight opponents in the draw at 12pm GMT on Friday, which you can follow on SkySports.com and SSNHQ.

Jose Mourinho made five changes from the 1-0 defeat at Chelsea on Monday, with Ibrahimovic, Eric Bailly, Daley Blind, Romero and Juan Mata coming in. United dominated the first half but failed to make the breakthrough, going close on several occasions while registering 78 per cent possession.

Ibrahimovic hit the woodwork from a yard out at an acute angle after Marcos Rojo's header from Blind's cross had been saved, before the Swede saw a clever effort deflected over the bar after he had had rounded Rostov goalkeeper Nikita Medvedev.

Medvedev was at the centre of attention moments later as his shove on Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the area wasn't penalised, while the Armenian forward flashed an effort wide of the goal minutes later after a fine attacking move involving Antonio Valencia and Ibrahimovic.

Ibrahimovic hit the post again with 10 minutes of the half remaining, cutting onto his right foot and slamming against the woodwork from 10 yards, and Medvedev continued his eventful half by keeping out Pogba's fierce effort in stoppage time.

Pogba's night ended on a disappointing note early in the second half, going off with a suspected hamstring injury, worsening United's selection problems going into the business end of the season.

Sardar Azmoun then went close to an away goal for Rostov, stinging the hands of Romero from the edge of the box, while at the other end Ibrahimovic blazed a header over the bar.

United finally got their lead with 20 minutes remaining through Mata, who converted simply at the far post after Mkhitaryan's low cross had been flicked between the legs by Ibrahimovic. Bukharov was next to test Romero, forcing the Argentine to save well down low to his right, and with the last touch of the game United's stopper produced a world-class stop from Noboa's long-range free-kick.


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