FC Rostov vs Manchester United: Match preview and prediction

Mar 10, 2017, 00:35
FC Rostov vs Manchester United: Match preview and prediction

Manchester United overcame a divot-strewn, threadbare pitch to eke out a 1-1 draw at Russian side Rostov in their Europa League last 16, first leg on Thursday.

Armenian forward Henrikh Mkhitaryan returns to the 20-man squad after recovering from an injury incurred just after scoring the St Etienne victor.

Caught napping at the back, a long ball from Timofei Kalachev found Bukharov, who brought it down before finishing past the helpless Romero and equalise for the home side.

Just 238 Manchester United fans watched their teams battle out a dire 1-1 draw with Rostov in southern Russian Federation this evening.

While an very bad pitch certainly contributed to a low-key and initially dire affair that saw the returning Henrikh Mkhitaryan's potentially crucial away goal cancelled out by a fine second-half effort from Aleksandr Bukharov, United will be relieved to make the 2,100-mile trip back to Manchester with no new casualties. The guys in midfield fought for second balls and they tried to give something in attack.

However, with Manchester United by no means guaranteed to finish in the Premier League's top four and the Europa League winners qualifying for the Champions League, Mourinho can not afford to be picky.

Today, the Portuguese blasted Uefa and Rostov for preparing a pitch he... "To see my players coping with the pitch as they fought the ball was good for me".

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It made for an ugly spectacle, but Manchester United had little choice but to adapt to the hard circumstances, and they came away with a positive result.

Since Chelsea switched to a 3-5-2 in September they have played some utterly sublime football under Antonio Conte: Mourinho's reasons for abandoning his favoured 4-2-3-1 were a little more pragmatic. I think it really is job done.

Frenchman Paul Pogba had a glorious chance to put Manchester United ahead in the 60th minutes, but the former Juventus star failed to find the back of the net.

Mourinho confirmed that Zlatan Ibrahimovic is set to start this match as he is set to miss the United's next three domestic games through suspension.

The Latvian manager has warned United that they are in for a bumpy ride in more ways than one.

Roma's two away goals could prove to be crucial in the reverse at the Stadio Olimpico, but Lyon will travel to the Italian capital with a lead to defend courtesy of goals from Corentin Tolisso, Nabil Fekir and Alexandre Lacazette in the second half.