UEFA Europa League Round of 32 Second Leg
Manchester United vs. FC Midtjylland
Venue: Old Trafford
Date: Thursday, 25 February 2016
Kick-off: 20:05 GMT
Manchester United booked their place in the Europa League Round of 16 with a 5-1 thrashing of FC Midtjylland at Old Trafford.
Trailing 2-1 from the first leg in Denmark and seeing Pione Sisto open the scoring, things looked bleak for United, especially as Juan Mata saw a penalty saved on the stroke of half-time.
However, Nikolay Bodurov’s own goal, a brace from debutant Marcus Rashford, Ander Herrera’s penalty and a deserved goal for Memphis won the game and the tie for the hosts in convincing style.
With Anthony Martial injured in the warm-up, in came Rashford, and his skill after cutting inside led to his low shot being saved behind.
A quiet half in terms of chances burst into life after Sisto manoeuvred space inside the area and found the bottom corner with a low strike.
This sparked a United revival with Memphis having a shot held before his low cross was turned into his own net by Bodurov.
Morgan Schneiderlin’s overhead kick fell just wide, as did a speculative attempt from Memphis.
A short corner from Mata to Joe Riley saw the latter’s cross headed against the post from Schneiderlin, before Herrera was brought down by Andre Romer for the penalty, only for Mikkel Andersen to save Mata’s spot-kick.
After the break and Herrera headed into the side netting from a Memphis cross when he really should’ve scored, with Rashford then taking centre stage.
His first goal came after Guillermo Varela’s cross was cut back at the byline by Mata, with Rashford smashing home in front of the Stretford End.
Varela was involved again, cutting back onto his left foot, and his cross was half-volleyed home by Rashford to turn the tie on its head.
He nearly had a hat-trick, heading over from another Memphis cross, and it was the latter whose shot struck the arm of Kian Hansen for the second penalty of the night, and Herrera sent Andersen the wrong way, firing into the top left-hand corner.
Romer saw a second yellow for a foul on Memphis and was subsequently sent off, with the impressive Dutch winger cutting inside and striking low into the bottom corner to round off the scoring late on.
Substitute Andreas Pereira dragged a shot wide in stoppage time as Regan Poole also made his debut off the bench, with full-time bringing relief around the Theatre of Dreams.
The Round of 16 draw takes place on Friday at Midday, with the two-legged ties to take place on Thursday 10 and 17 of March.
Two good performances and results to see off Shrewsbury Town and FC Midtjylland this week, but the real test comes this Sunday at home to Arsenal in the league, with kick-off at Old Trafford commencing at 2:05pm.
Manchester United: Romero; Varela, Carrick, Blind, Riley (Rojo 79); Schneiderlin, Herrera (Poole 90+1); Lingard (Pereira 86), Mata, Memphis; Rashford.
Subs: J. Pereira, Rojo, McNair, Poole, Love, A. Pereira.
FC Midtjylland: Andersen; Romer, Hansen, Bodurov, Novak; Sparv, Sisto, Poulsen, Olsson (Pusic 79), Hassan (Kadlec 67); Urena (Onuachu 46).
Subs: Dahlin, Pusic, Kadlec, Bangaard Jensen, Bak Nielsen, Onuachu, Royer.
Manager: Jess Thorup