Marcus Rashford scores dramatic extra-time winner to send Jose Mourinho’s men to Europa League semi-finals

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MARCUS RASHFORD was the man of the hour as his extra-time winner sealed Manchester United’s spot in the Europa League semi-finals.

The Red Devils had chances galore during a tense game at Old Trafford, but it was England international Rashford who stepped up to the plate to put a big smile on Jose Mourinho’s face.

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Marcus Rashford was Man Utd’s hero as he scored a winner against Anderlecht in extra time

The youngster pounced late on to book United's place in the Europa League semi finals

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The youngster pounced late on to book United’s place in the Europa League semi finals

United started on the front foot and were quickly rewarded with an early opener from Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the ninth minute.



He was teed up outside the box by Rashford after the youngster was found by Paul Pogba’s terrific long pass and it all looked to be going Mourinho’s way.

Pogba himself went close with a header minutes later before Jesse Lingard saw a good chance go begging.

But Anderlecht started to turn up the heat and Frank Acheampong nearly levelled following a mistake from Eric Bailly.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan opened the scoring for Man Utd

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Henrikh Mkhitaryan opened the scoring for Man Utd

The Armenian needed just nine minutes to find the target

PA:Press Association

The Armenian needed just nine minutes to find the target

United’s night took a turn for the worst when Marcos Rojo was forced off with an injury in the 22nd minute.

And the Belgians had their equaliser nearly ten minutes later when Youri Tielemans broke through the line to smash a scorcher against the crossbar.

The resulting scrum then saw the ball fall at the feet of Sofiane Hanni, who didn’t think twice before smashing it into the back of the net.

Luke Shaw led a late first-half charge with a bold run into the box but a shot on his weaker foot did little to threaten the visiting keeper.



Marcos Rojo was forced off early with an injury

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Marcos Rojo was forced off early with an injury

Sofiane Hanni equalised following a scramble in the box

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Sofiane Hanni equalised following a scramble in the box

Mkhitaryan also spurned a good chance before the whistle, but the late surge appeared to have an impact as United came out all guns firing in the second half.

Shaw made another darting run but his fine ball across the box failed to make contact with Lingard.

However, Anderlecht then started to see more of the ball, forcing Mourinho to bring on big man Marouane Fellaini.

The big man’s arrival changed the momentum of the game once again, with Rashford dragging a shot wide after cleverly shaking off his marker.

The midfielders goal came during a good spell of dominance for the visitors

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The midfielder’s goal came during a good spell of dominance for the visitors

Sir Alex Ferguson was just one of the famous faces watching from the stands

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Sir Alex Ferguson was just one of the famous faces watching from the stands

Rashford then found himself one-on-one following a mistake from Dennis Appiah, but the striker was forced wide by Anderlecht’s on-rushing goalie before Appiah made up for his error by winning the ball back.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic then finally fired off his first shot of the night with 20 minutes remaining before seeing a penalty claim correctly dismissed by the referee.

Pogba continued the running theme by hitting a point-blank tap-in miles over the bar before Ibrahimovic curved a shot so wide that it almost hit the corner flag.

Some stylish play from Mkhitaryan and Ibrahimovic saw Rashford sent through again but he could only find the outside netting as the minutes ticked down.

Marcus Rashford had a good chance to score when he rounded the keeper

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Marcus Rashford had a good chance to score when he rounded the keeper

But the goalie managed to force Rashford to run wide and he was eventually tackled

PA:Press Association

But the goalie managed to force Rashford to run wide and he was eventually tackled

But Ibrahimovic picked up a nasty-looking injury following an awkward landing just as the final whistle blew, forcing him to come off for Anthony Martial.

And United came very close to scoring the goal of the season just minutes into extra time, with Pogba going close with a bicycle kick following a rabona cross from Rashford.

The world-record signing then thought he’d scored a winner but it was disallowed after Fellaini was pulled up harshly for a foul in the build-up.

Sergio Romero then spilled a shot from Tielemans before the whistle but managed to hold on to it, much to the relief of nervous fans.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic had a quiet game by his usual standards

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic had a quiet game by his usual standards

Jose Mourinho grew more and more agitated on the sidelines

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Jose Mourinho grew more and more agitated on the sidelines

But United finally got the breakthrough a minute into the second half of added time when Rashford took the ball down with a delicate touch before losing his marker and slotting home into the corner.

The mood around the stadium was lifted as a result and it became plain sailing for the men in the red, who will now discover their semi-final fate when the Europa League draw is made in Nyon on Friday.

FACTS, STATS, GOALS AND LOLS by Ken Lawrence

  • THE MAUVES as Anderlecht go by in Belgium played in their first European quarter final in 20 years but trained earlier  the day in the local Castlefield Park.
  • SERGIO ROMERO was one of five changes from the weekend victory over Chelsea, joined by Luke Shaw, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Michael Carrick.
  • MANCHESTER UNITED’S first – ever European tie was against Anderlecht 56 years ago as the Busby Babes won 10 -0 – the game played at Maine Road because of Old Trafford reconstruction.
  • PAUL POGBA began the night as the Europa League’s highest passer with 664 and one of his first in the clash was the through ball that helped set up Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s 10th minute opener.
  • DESPITE BEING beaten early by Henrikh Mkhitaryan Martinez Ruben was still in spectacular form – yet another goalkeeper having game of his life at Old Trafford this season.

Ibrahimovic's night ended in misery as he was forced off with an injury

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Ibrahimovic’s night ended in misery as he was forced off with an injury

United will be hoping the striker isn't out for too long

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United will be hoping the striker isn’t out for too long
  • MARCUS ROJO’S injury mid – way through the first leg meant that Eric Bailly became Manchester United’s only fit senior centre back with Chris Smalling and Phil Jones already crocked.
  • DALEY BLIND cannot have felt too great replacing Marcus Rojo – he got a blast from Jose Mourinho for not getting ready quick enough to play in a positon his manager doesn’t like him in.
  • OLD TRAFFORD was rocked by Sofiane Hanni’s 32nd minute equaliser but Anderlecht love a goal – it was their 20th in Europe this season and 22nd in the last  23 games in all comps.
  • LUKE SHAW blundered by falling five yards behind the rest of the United back line and playing Anderlecht on for Sofiane Hanni’s equaliser – no wonder Jose Mourinho’s face was a picture.
  • NOTICE SOMETHING odd about Henrikh Mkhitaryan against Anderlecht? In these modern days of pink, orange and dazzling dayglow he set a new fashion – by wearing old – fashioned BLACK boots.

Rashford saved United's bacon with his timely winner

PA:Press Association

Rashford saved United’s bacon with his timely winner

The youngster had a superb game in attack

Reuters

The youngster had a superb game in attack

Man Utd next five fixtures

Burnley (A): 23 Apr – Prem

Man City (A): 27 Apr – Prem

Swansea (H): 30 Apr – Prem

Arsenal (A): 7 May – Prem

Tottenham (A): 14 May – Prem

Saturday Premier League match preview featuring West Ham v Everton

DREAM TEAM RATINGS

Man Utd: Romero 8, Valencia 6, Bailly 6, Rojo 6 (Blind 7), Shaw 6, Carrick 7, Pogba 8, Lingard 6 (Fellaini 7), Mkhitaryan 9, Rashford 9, Ibrahimovic 6 (Martial 6)

Subs not used: De Gea, Rooney, Young, Herrera

Goals: Mkhitaryan 10’, Rashford 107’

Anderlecht: Martinez 7, Appiah 7, Kara Mbodji 7, Spajic 7, Obradovic 6, Tielemans 7, Dendoncker 6, Chipciu 6 (Bruno 6), Hanni 7 (Stanciu 5), Acheampong 6, Teodorczyk 6 (Thelin 5)

Subs not used: Deschacht, Nuytinck, Capel, Boeckx

Goal: Hanni 32’

Booked: Tielemans, Appiah

Star Man: Marcus Rashford

SOCIAL SAYS

THEY SAID

Matchwinner Marcus Rashford: “All you can do is keeping trying to create chances, that’s what we kept doing and we pinned them back.

“We had a lot of chances and could have scored but sometimes games go like that. We got one in the end.

“You just have to keep going and hope you get another chance. We’ve done it the hard way but none of that matters now.”

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho says Anthony Martial needs to give more



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