By Kiran Thakare
- United book quarter spot with 6-3 aggregate win
- Draw has pitted United against North-West rivals Liverpool
Manchester United progressed to the round of 16 in Europa League after thumping FC Midtjyland at Old Trafford on Thursday evening.
The Red Devils were trailing 1-0 midway through the first-half, but responded well to finish the game 5-1 winners and going through 6-3 on aggregate.
Louis Van Gaal handed Joe Riley his first start for Manchester United in the absence of Cameron Brothwick Jackson. Michael Carrick filled in for Chris Smalling as the latter suffered a minor knock to his shoulder against Shrewsbury on Monday night.
The Dutchman had to make a change at the last moment after Anthony Martial injured his hamstring in warm-up, Marcus Rashford was handed debut as a sole striker.
Manchester United started the game brightly as they were looking recover the one goal deficit from the first leg. However the Danish side scored a goal through Sisto against the run of play making it all the more dificult for Manchester United.
The Red Devils bombed further forward for a goal and finally grabbed one after 30 minutes of the game. Memphis Depay did lovely bit of skill on the left flank and squared a ball only for it to find the back of the net by the Danish sides centre back Bodurov.
United grew in confidence after the goal as Morgan Schneiderlin came close twice with a bicylce kick going just wide and heading on to the post from a set-piece.
The homes side got a great chance to lead on the night when they were rewarded a penalty after Ander Herrera was tripped in the box. Juan Mata had his timid penalty saved as they went into half time with plenty of things to ponder.
The start of the second half was bright as Manchester United kept on searching for goals and the play was majority in the opposition’s half.
Depay kept on doing the good work on the left flank as he delivered a brilliant ball in the box only for it be headed just wide by Ander Herrera.
Marcus Rashford finally gave his side the lead on the night and level on aggregate after brilliant work from Guillermo Varela and Juan Mata before the teenager to slotted the ball home from close range.
Rashford grabbed another to put United ahead on aggregate as Varela delivered a brilliant ball from the right flank which was efficiently finished by the academy graduate.
He almost grabbed his hat-trick with a headed effort form Memphis cross but couldn’t keep the ball on the target. The Red Devils got firm control of the match after 85 minute as they won another penalty and Ander Herrera thumped home emphatically to make the aggregate score 5-3.
United continued to linkup brilliantly and looked dangerous in the final third. After a brilliant performance, Memphis scored a belter from long range to finish the game 5-1. Strong character was shown by the young players on a night when they were under pressure after going down against FC Midtjylland.
Manchester United: Romero, Varela, Carrick, Blind, Riley (Rojo 79), Schneiderlin, Herrera (Poole 91), Lingard (Andreas Pereira 86), Mata, Memphis, Rashford Substitutes Not Used: Joel Castro Pereira, Love, McNair
Man of the match: Memphis Depay: The Dutch winger delivered his best performance in Manchester United shirt as he was threat all night on the left flank. He completed the most take-ons and grabbed 2 assists and a goal. The 21 year old will get a boost to his confidence after such a brilliant performance.