Manchester United 1-0 FC Rostov: Europa League as it happened

George Flood

Full-time: Manchester United 1-0 FC Rostov (2-1 on aggregate)

  • Manchester United reach the quarter-finals of the Europa League following a fully deserved if slender win over resilient Russians at Old Trafford
  • Juan Mata breaks the deadlock 20 minutes from time after a swift counter-attack involving Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Zlatan Ibrahimovic
  • Sergio Romero makes an excellent save to deny Christian Noboa and prevent extra-time with the very last kick of the game
  • Paul Pogba (hamstring) and Daley Blind (head) both substituted after suffering second-half injuries
  • Zlatan Ibrahimovic twice strikes the post during a goalless first 45 minutes dominated by the hosts
  • Besiktas, Celta Vigo, Genk, Schalke, Lyon, Ajax and Anderlecht are United's potential next opponents, with the draw set to take place at Uefa headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland at midday GMT on Friday
Jose Mourinho-Antonio Conte

That just about does it for this live blog, but stay tuned to IBTimes UK to read the post-match thoughts of one Jose Mourinho. I'm sure he'll provide an update on the fitness of Pogba.

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Goodbye for now.

No rest for United amid this busy period of fixture congestion. They are at the Riverside Stadium on Sunday for a Premier League meeting against newly-managerless Middlesbrough.

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With their first foray into the knockout stages of a European competition now over, Rostov, currently eighth in the Russian Premier League, travel to struggling Krylia Sovetov.

So United will face one of Besiktas, Celta Vigo, Genk, Schalke, Lyon, Ajax or Anderlecht next. The quarter-final draw takes place at Uefa headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland at midday GMT on Friday.

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You can follow that, and the Champions League draw at 11, live on IBTimes UK.

Job done for United, who continue their excellent home form and will now be considered as strong favourites to win Europe's secondary club competition for the very first time.

It wasn't especially pretty and there are obvious teething problems with regards to this new three-man defensive system. Supporters will be praying that Pogba's injury is not too serious.

Manchester United are through to the Europa League quarter-finals

Full-time

Manchester United 1-0 FC Rostov (2-1 on aggregate)

What a save!

Romero leaps to his left to meet a beauty of a free-kick from Noboa. Heart-stopping drama right at the death.

There is no time left for the corner. Rashford, who has been patiently waiting on the sideline, will not get on.

Christian Noboa

One final chance for Rostov to extend their stay in the Europa League by at least an extra 30 minutes after a harsh call on Jones...

The ultra-fit Valencia has charged up and down that right flank all evening for United. His latest raid ends in a pull back for Ibrahimovic, whose driven shot is blocked and hastily cleared.

Four minutes of added time for Rostov to find the goal that would send this tie into extra-time.

Bailly flies into a strong challenge and then somehow wins a free-kick despite appearing to flatten Devic.

Fellaini shows more good feet and is promptly cut down by Bukharov. Yellow card for the Rostov substitute.

Marouane Fellaini

Jones, playing in an unfamiliar position at left wing-back, makes an uncharacteristic burst down the flank before running the ball out of play.

Mata has just been clipped around the back of the head by compatriot Navas and looks none too happy about it.

The United fans roar with unexpected delight after Fellaini takes the ball on his chest and nonchalantly lifts it over the Rostov defender.

Fine skill from the big man.

Rostov replace Prepelita and Bayramyan with Marko Devic and Kireev.

Mkhitaryan is the latest United player to require medical attention after a hefty collision in midfield.

Medvedev reacts well to snuff out the danger posed by a Mkhitaryan chip.

At the other end, Romero makes an impressive fingertip save to push Bukharov's header wide. I thought extra-time might beckon for a moment there.

Jones has needed an inhaler in the last few minutes and Rojo, perhaps a little low on energy, wolfs down a banana on the pitch.

You don't see that every day...

United, despite struggling to create much by way of clear-cut chances in this second half, finally take the lead.

Mata begins a swift counter-attack in the middle of the park and Ibrahimovic feeds the ball wide to Mkhitaryan.

The Swede then backheels to the back post, where Mata is on hand to finish from close range.

Lucky they didn't take him off really.

Juan Mata

Goal: Manchester United 1-0 FC Rostov (Juan Mata)

Looks like Mourinho has changed his mind with regards to that third and final change. Rashford was set to replace Mata, but now it looks like Young is going to come on instead.

Bailly makes an excellent block to divert Poloz's shot away from goal. Mourinho is currently deep in conversation with Rashford, who looks set to enter the fray soon.

A groggy Blind, who seemed to be caught with an elbow a few minutes ago, is attended to on the sidelines.

He will play no further part. Jones comes on instead.

Daley Blind

Having already seen Pogba limp off, United could be about to lose Blind too. The versatile Dutchman stays down holding his head.

Rostov use the break in play to send on first-leg goalscorer Bukharov in place of Azmoun.

Herrera drives United forward and Ibrahimovic powers past Mevlja before seeing his cross gobbled up by Medvedev.

Blind's deep delivery is then cleared by Kudryashov and Ibrahimovic is penalised for climbing on Mevlja while trying to connect with a Valencia centre.

Ibrahimovic rises above Mevlja to head Valencia's accurate cross over the top. This game is really starting to open up a bit now.

Azmoun provides a jolting reminder of his quality with a bending shot that is palmed away by Romero. The United number two is then called into action again to hold a long-range effort from Noboa.

Rostov have grown in confidence since Pogba's premature exit.

Mata eases past Noboa before being unceremoniously blocked off by Kudryashov. No penalty.

Sumptuous footwork from the nimble Mkhitaryan, who glides past two Rostov players after combining with Herrera.

Ibrahimovic tries to seize on his through ball but goes too early and is flagged offside.

Pogba looks a picture of frustration as he limps off the pitch and down the tunnel. He is replaced by Marouane Fellaini.

Mourinho will hope that is not too serious.

Paul Pogba

Concern for United now as Pogba pulls up clutching his hamstring after lifting the ball over the head of Terentyev.

He will require treatment.

Paul Pogba

The second half is off and running. No changes from either manager just yet.

A reminder that United are going through as it stands courtesy of that away goal in Russia. However, Mourinho will not be pleased if they fail to win tonight.

78% possession and 14 shots for United rather tells the tale of that first half. Surely a goal will arrive sooner rather than later? You get the sense that the floodgates may open after that initial breakthrough.

Rostov have offered virtually nothing going forward and are instead fixated upon sitting extremely deep and getting plenty of bodies behind the ball.

You can hardly argue with their defensive effort so far, although Medvedev seems quite unpredictable and was perhaps a tad fortunate not to give away a penalty for that risky push on Mkhitaryan.

It's hugely difficult to see how the Russians are going to find the goal they need to stand a chance of progressing through to the quarter-finals.

Utter domination from United, who have completely dictated every area of the game without managing to break the deadlock. Ibrahimovic has struck the frame of the goal twice, while Mata and Valencia are finding plenty of space in which to operate.

Jose Mourinho

Half-time

Manchester United 0-0 FC Rostov

A hopeful low drive from Rojo is laid into the path of Pogba by Ibrahimovic. Medvedev flies to his right to push the Frenchman's curling shot wide.

United's latest attack grinds to a halt following a second, far more justifiable punch from Medvedev.

Rostov spring forward on the counter and Erokhin shoots wide after good work from Poloz.

A subdued atmosphere around Old Trafford as the clock ticks down towards the interval.

Mata loses his boot during a challenge from Bayramyan. Taking over free-kick duty, Pogba curls an disappointing effort well over the crossbar.

Another United corner goes begging and Mata's clumsy foul on Dmitry Poloz provides Rostov with some respite.

Under 10 minutes remaining until half-time and it remains goalless at Old Trafford. For all their dominance, United are yet to find that elusive breakthrough.

Ibrahimovic cuts inside Navas and smashes a powerful effort against the post with Medvedev beaten.

That is the second time he has struck the woodwork already tonight.

Mevlja's flicked header takes a Valencia cross away from Mkhitaryan. The Slovenian international then wins a goal kick after a strong challenge on Ibrahimovic.

Good defending.

Valencia and Ibrahimovic combine to find Mata, who sets Mkhitaryan free with a brilliant first-time pass.

The Armenian spots Medvedev off his line and tries to chip him. However, his radar is slightly off and the ball rolls wide of the far post.

United fans and players alike appeal in vain for a penalty after Medvedev appears to shove Mkhitaryan after a sliding block from Cesar Navas loops into the air.

That could easily have been a spot-kick. Foolish play from the goalkeeper.

Terentyev calmly knocks the ball behind and prevents Ibrahimovic's back-post cross from reaching Blind.

The subsequent corner comes to nothing as Pogba is penalised for pulling Miha Mevlja's shirt.

A poor shot from Pogba follows a most unconvincing punch from the erratic Medvedev.

Paul Pogba

Assured goalkeeping from Medvedev to claim Blind's cross towards Pogba after a sweeping diagonal ball from Ibrahimovic.

The visitors, who look like they are deploying six across the back at times, are holding firm for now. Remember, they must score tonight to have a chance of going through.

A communication error between Blind and Rojo contributes to a rare Rostov counter-attack. After a quick one-two, a low cross from the right is played too far behind Azmoun.

Medvedev recovers to deny Ibrahimovic after initially being rounded by the confident striker, who raced onto a long pass from Mata.

Plenty of early stoppages here as Rostov, unable to escape their own half, look to stem the flow somewhat.

With only three outfield subs available, they can ill afford anymore injuries tonight.

Lovely skill from the much-maligned Pogba to launch another United attack. Valencia's searching right-wing cross is blocked and Mkhitaryan eventually fires a wayward shot into the stands.

Aleksandr Erokhin inadvertently collides with stand-in Rostov captain Christian Noboa while defending near the byline. He stays down and, much to United's chagrin, the referee calls a halt to play.

Andrei Prepelita took the full force of that shot right in the neck/chest area. That looked painful.

Terentyev is somewhat harshly whistled for handball after an attempted pass from Blind. Ibrahimovic steps up to smash a right-footed free-kick into an unflinching wall.

United unsurprisingly dominate the opening exchanges as Rostov immediately retreat back towards their own goal.

Denis Terentyev concedes a corner and Nikita Medvedev repels Marcos Rojo's header after a dangerous delivery from Blind.

Ibrahimovic then sidefoots against the post from a tricky angle and the ball bounces wide for a goal kick.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Lithuanian referee Gediminas Mazeika gets us underway at Old Trafford. Will this be as comfortable an evening for United as many are expecting, or can depleted Rostov spring a real shock?

Let's find out.

Five minutes remaining until kick-off. A certain Dimitar Berbatov is a guest in the directors' box tonight.

Formidably strong at home, Rostov have won exactly none of their last five European away matches (three draws and two defeats).

Can they buck that trend at the Theatre of Dreams? It seems unlikely, but you never know.

Speaking to BT Sport before kick-off, Mourinho insists that a better quality pitch will benefit both teams tonight. He also confirms that he is set to stick with a three-man defence.

Mourinho, meanwhile, believes the tie is still very much up in the air at 1-1...

We know that the 1-1 result leaves everything open. We know that Rostov is a very good team. I know the way they played so many matches away, and some of them big matches against big opponents, so they have experience of Champions League matches away plus some in the Europa League.

I think the fans will give us this little bit of extra energy so we believe that tomorrow we can cope with the situation and we can fight to be in the quarter-final

Jose Mourinho

When questioned regarding Monday's nightmare return journey from London that saw United arrive back in Manchester via coach at 4am in the morning, he simply said...

At 12:00 they were here to train again, as the great professionals they are, with the great commitment they have and the fantastic group of boys that I work with

Rostov boss Daniliants confidently claimed at a pre-match press conference that his team arrive at Old Trafford looking to make history...

Both clubs have their own history, but we are here to make history tomorrow.

We want to unite tomorrow and to show a decent performance. We trust in our team, we believe in every single player and I am sure that if we do our best the outcome will be positive.

I think every single player of both teams will benefit from using a picture of the higher quality. This is why I would not like to comment specifically on our style of play when we're using this high quality pitch, just to say everyone will enjoy it.

A stunning 3-2 Champions League victory over Bayern Munich in November proves that they are capable of knocking off teams with big reputations.

There are seven other Europa League last-16 ties taking place tonight, with Roma vs Lyon, Ajax vs FC Copenhagen, Borussia Monchengladbach vs Schalke and Anderlecht vs APOEL also kicking off at 20.05 GMT.

In the three early games, Genk currently lead Gent by a goal to nil and Besiktas are 3-1 up against Olympiacos in Istanbul. Celta Vigo are also in front at Krasnodar.

Paul Pogba will hope to play a key role in securing United's place in tomorrow's quarter-final draw after criticism of the world's most-expensive player ramped up a notch in the aftermath of another ineffectual display against Chelsea.

Mourinho instantly leapt to the defence of his £89m midfielder, bizarrely claiming he was the best player on the pitch at Stamford Bridge and later insisting that his detractors are motivated by jealousy.

"I feel that the world is losing values and we all know that and envy is coming into certain levels," he told reporters. "I'm scared for especially the next generation if things go in this direction. Envy is everywhere.

"It's not Paul's fault that he gets 10 times the money that some players, some very good players, got in the past. It's not his fault that some of the pundits are in real trouble with their lives and they need every pound to survive and Paul is a multi-millionaire. It's not his fault.

Paul Pogba

"I think he deserves respect. I think his family deserve respect. He's a kid that comes from a working family, a family with three boys and I'm sure they needed a lot of food on that table every day because they are big giants. So I'm sure that the mum and the dad had to work hard for many, many years for them.

"He is a kid that came to Manchester as a teenager, that fought for his career here, that was not afraid to move and to go to another country and to look for better conditions for him. A kid that reached the top of the world with his work, nobody gave him anything. I'm very happy with Paul. The club is very happy with Paul and I think also a good thing is that because of his personality, he doesn't give an ass what people say."

Supposed Liverpool target Sardar Azmoun - labelled the "Iranian Messi" - starts tonight having been confined to a bit-part role seven days ago. Goalscorer Bukharov is only on the bench.

Sardar Azmoun

In terms of changes from Sunday's goalless draw with Terek Grozny, Gatcan and Kireev are replaced by Khoren Bayramyan and Fyodor Kudryashov.

Here's that Rostov side again. Intriguingly, The Selmashi have opted to name just four substitutes....

Starting XI: Medvedev, Bayramyan, Mevlja, Navas, Kudryashov, Terentyev, Noboa, Prepelita, Erokhin, Poloz, Azmoun

Subs: Kireev, Bukharov, Devic, Goshev

As expected, Rooney and Martial do not feature. Luke Shaw and Bastian Schweinsteiger are also omitted.

Mourinho makes five changes to the side who suffered only their second defeat since early November at Chelsea, with Phil Jones, Matteo Darmian, Rashford and Ashley Young making way for Bailly, Daley Blind, Juan Mata and Ibrahimovic.

As has become commonplace in the Europa League, number two goalkeeper Sergio Romero also replaces David De Gea.

Right on cue...

PA reporter Simon Peach with the early scoop on United's team news. Club confirmation should only be minutes away.

The Rostov lineup in full for those Russian speakers among you. An English translation to come shortly...

As for Rostov, making their first trip to England, captain Alexandru Gatcan and Timofei Kalachev are suspended after both picking up bookings in the first leg.

The latter was arguably Ivan Daniliants' top performer last week and Mourinho seemed pleased not to be facing him again.

Timofei Kalachev

"I think it's good for us that he doesn't play," he said. "I think they have solutions and they tried that solution in the last match against Terek Grozny. They played the other boy, I think Igor Kireyev, in Kalachev's position and he did well. But Kalachev is experienced, hard, big mentality, so I think he's a player that they miss."

Vladimir Granat was withdrawn during the early stages of the first half after breaking his collarbone during a collision with Mkhitaryan. Goalkeeper Soslan Dzhanaev could return from injury, however.

Marcus Rashford's admirable decision to play despite suffering from an illness averted a full-blown striker crisis at Stamford Bridge and United will be pleased to have the influential Zlatan Ibrahimovic available again here. His three-match FA suspension does not apply to European competition.

Ander Herrera is also in contention despite an upcoming two-game domestic ban that automatically follows his second dismissal of the season against Chelsea.

Eric Bailly, meanwhile, has now served a one-match European suspension after his red card in the last-32 second-leg win over Saint-Etienne.

Manchester United will be without Wayne Rooney for the third match in succession tonight, although England boss Gareth Southgate revealed earlier that the 31-year-old, omitted from the squad to face Germany and Lithuania due to a combination of injury and a lack of first-team football, has a chance of featuring against newly-managerless Middlesbrough on Sunday.

"Rooney is injured," Mourinho insisted at his press conference yesterday. "He had some kick in his knee area, so he can't even come out to the pitch. He stays inside the medical department."

Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial

Anthony Martial, who spurned a late chance to win the match in Russia after being introduced as a second-half substitute, missed Monday's fiery FA Cup quarter-final defeat to Chelsea and remains sidelined despite training - albeit away from the main group - on Wednesday.

"He couldn't be selected for the Chelsea match and, if you are injured for the Monday night game, you're injured for the Tuesday morning training session," his manager added. "And if you are injured for the Tuesday morning training session, it's not because of today that you can be able to play on Thursday. So he's out of my mind."

Good evening and welcome to IBTimes UK's latest live coverage of continental action.

Having watched domestic rivals Leicester City and Manchester City experience contrasting fortunes in Europe's elite club competition already this week, Manchester United, playing their fifth game in just 19 days, now take centre stage as they attempt to ease past resilient Russians Rostov and continue their pursuit of a maiden Europa League title.

FC Rostov v Manchester United

Last week's first-leg meeting proved to be a low-key and often farcical affair, with an absolutely dismal pitch at the Olimp-2 Stadium - one that has now been deemed unfit for purpose by the Russian Premier League - drawing the considerable wrath of Jose Mourinho and hardly proving conducive to attractive, free-flowing football.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan turned home Zlatan Ibrahimovic's low pass to grab a potentially pivotal away goal for a visiting team deploying a new formation, while Aleksandr Bukharov impressively dispatched Timofei Kalachev's long pass shortly after the interval to preserve Rostov's impressive home record and level the tie at 1-1.

The surface certainly should not be an issue tonight, with Old Trafford's turf looking like a pristine bowling green in comparison...

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