Rashford fires United into Europa League semi-finals

Marcus Rashford scored an extra-time winner as Manchester United beat Anderlecht 2-1 at Old Trafford on Thursday to book their place in the Europa League semi-finals.

  • Manchester United 2 Anderlecht 1
  • Mkhitaryan gives hosts early lead
  • Hanni equalises before half-time
  • Goalless second half brings extra time
  • Rashford puts United in semi-finals

Match Summary

Jose Mourinho's side should have put the game to bed well before the full-time whistle, just as they should have done in the first leg of their quarter-final tie, which finished 1-1 in Belgium.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan opened the scoring after just 10 minutes, but United failed to build on their good start and they were pegged back on 32 minutes as Sofiane Hanni drew Sporting level.

Chance after chance went a-begging for the Red Devils and they were forced into extra time, where Rashford finally struck in the 107th minute to cap off another fine display. 

Full Report

The hosts looked to assert their authority early on as they controlled the tempo of the second-leg clash.

But the Belgian club almost took a surprise lead in the third minute when Leander Dendoncker hit a swerving shot that dipped inches over the crossbar from 25 yards out, after being played into space on the left by Youri Tielemans.

Having threatened on a couple of occasions, United made the breakthrough on 10 minutes as Paul Pogba released Marcus Rashford on the left and after the striker's cross was blocked, he squared the rebound to Mkhitaryan, who drilled a low shot inside the left post from 17 yards out.

Five goals in eight Europa League appearances for @micki_taryan! ⚽🎩#MickiMagic 1-0 at Old Trafford.

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Ruben then pulled off two super saves in a matter of seconds as he tipped Pogba's header over the bar on 12 minutes before turning Jesse Lingard's curling strike around the right post from the resulting corner.

But the visitors nearly found a way back on 21 minutes when Frank Acheampong beat Marcos Rojo to Antonio Valencia's flicked header and held off Eric Bailly before hitting the side-netting from inside the box on the left.

Sergio Romero had to be alert six minutes later as he prevented Dendoncker's low shot from nestling into the bottom-left corner of the goal, while the keeper was well positioned to catch Tielemans' free-kick at his near post on 29 minutes.

However, RCSA were level three minutes later when Tielemans hit the bar with a deflected shot and Hanni reacted quickest to the rebound to slot past Romero from close range.

Luke Shaw was presented with a chance five minutes before the break as he latched onto Pogba's ball over the top and ran parallel to the goal before firing straight at Ruben with his right foot.

Mkhitaryan failed to hit the target moments later after being played in by Pogba, with the Armenian playmaker blazing high and wide from just outside the box.

After half-chances at either end in the opening stages of the second half, Rashford missed the target with two shots in the space of three minutes and he should have restored United's lead on 69 minutes as they countered from a defensive corner.

Dennis Appiah failed to deal with a long ball forward and Rashford nipped in to run on goal and go around Ruben, but the teenager took the ball too far to the left, which allowed Appiah to recover and clear the danger.

Acheampong then tried his luck from distance as he cut inside from the right and fired over from 22 yards out, before Zlatan Ibrahimovic forced Ruben into a sharp save from close range moments later after a cross dropped at his feet.

Pogba couldn't react fast enough to an outswinging corner in the 78th minute that he steered over on the volley from six yards out, while Ibrahimovic lashed a shot well wide of the right post  on 82 minutes after being played in on the left by Michael Carrick.

Rashford had an opportunity to avoid extra-time as he raced onto Ibrahimovic's flicked pass, but could only hit the side-netting from an angle on the left with stoppage time approaching.

Ibrahimovic landed awkwardly in the final action of regulation time, a suspected knee injury seeing him replaced by Anthony Martial.

The Frenchman almost made an instant impact as he connected with Rashford's rabona cross, but Uros Spajic blocked his overhead-kick. Moments later Mkhitaryan cut inside from the right and sent in a shot that was deflected and claimed easily by Ruben.

Dendoncker threatened soon afterwards at the other end as he was allowed to advance on goal from the left and he lined up an effort from 25 yards out that flew narrowly wide of the right post.

Marouane Fellaini headed a free-kick off-target under pressure from Spajic, and Pogba thought he had scored on 101 minutes when he converted the Belgian's downward header at the back post, but the referee blew United up for a foul.

Tielemans was afforded acres of space to shoot and he obliged with a driven effort that was smothered by Romero at the second attempt.

However, Old Trafford breathed a collective sigh of relief on 107 minutes when Rashford delivered the goal he had been threatening all game.

The England international controlled Fellaini's downward header and swivelled to his left before guiding the ball inside the left post, with Ruben only able to get a weak glove on the shot.

Acheampong tested Romero with a close-range header four minutes from time, while Kara Mbodji directed a header onto the roof of the net in the 119th minute as the Red Devils held on to keep their European dream alive.