Rashford Fires United Into Europa League Semifinals
Manchester United needed an extra-time winner from Marcus Rashford to defeat Anderlecht 2-1 at Old Trafford on Thursday and move into the last four of the Europa League with a 3-2 aggregate victory.
The Europa League has acquired huge significance for United and manager Jose Mourinho as it offers a potential route into the Champions League, away from the battle for top-four places in the Premier League – making this victory crucial.
United took the lead on the night and in the tie when Henrikh Mkhitaryan drilled in a low finish in the 10th minute but Anderlecht restored parity when Sofiane Hanni scrambled home an equaliser after 32 minutes.
Mourinho’s side were their own worst enemies with a shocking display of finishing as they missed chance after chance, their cause also undermined by injuries to defender Marcos Rojo in the first half and a serious-looking knee injury to top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic at the end of normal time.
United were facing the prospect of a penalty shootout but Rashford, a scorer against Chelsea at the weekend, made the decisive contribution after 107 minutes with a brilliant turn and finish from Marouane Fellaini’s knockdown.