Manchester United hold on for first away win since March against Partizan Belgrade

Tom HomewoodAssistant Producer

Manchester United moved top of their group in the Europa League after holding on to edge Partizan Belgrade 1-0 in Serbia.

Both sides rattled the woodwork in the first half before Anthony Martial, who made his first start since August, put Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side in front from the penalty spot just before half-time.

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United were lucky not to concede a penalty of their own after Nemanja Miletic’s header hit Brandon Williams’ arms, but without the use of VAR in the Europa League group stages the visitors got away with one.

Partizan dominated the second half and despite having 10 more shots than the Red Devils, they failed to find the back of the net.

The win means United extend their unbeaten run in the Europa League to 14 matches as the move top of Group L with seven points with their first away win since March against PSG.

Williams fouled by Miletic inside the penalty area (Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)
Williams fouled by Miletic inside the penalty area (Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Solskjaer made seven changes to the team that drew with Liverpool last Sunday with Harry Maguire captaining the side.

18-year-old James Garner was handed his first United start in the Europa League, left-back Brandon Williams made his second senior start, while Anthony Martial led the line.

United should have gone in front with the first real chance of the game after 15 minutes, but Scott McTominay’s header was off target. Juan Mata whipped in a fabulous free-kick which found McTominay at the back post, but he headed into the side-netting from six yards out.

Partizan grew into the match and had the next best opportunity to open the scoring. Umar Sadiq played it ex-United man Zoran Tosic, but he was greedy and blasted into the side-netting from the right-wing.

In response up the other end, Jesse Lingard was the closest either side had come to finding the back of the net, curling an effort from 20-yards out into the post with Vladimir Stojkovic beaten.

The game was coming to life Partizan almost grabbed the lead themselves two minutes later. A fantastic effort from Umar Sadiq cannoned back off the crossbar from 25 yards out.

United won themselves a penalty after Williams burst into the box and was caught by Nemanja Miletic. Anthony Martial stepped up and converted from the spot to give the away side the lead in the 43rd minute, after sending the goalkeeper the wrong way with only his 14th touch of the game.

Martial celebrates scoring the opener against Partizan (Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images)
Martial celebrates scoring the opener against Partizan (Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Partizan came out hungry after the restart and tried to pull themselves level early on with Bibras Natcho trying his luck from distance, but his effort was wide of the post.

Seydouba Soumah was then after a penalty when he went down inside the box following pressure from Phil Jones, but the referee was unmoved.

Partizan continued to pile on the pressure and Soumah left Harry Maguire on the ground with a side-step but his 20-yard left-footed shot was parried away by Sergio Romero.

The hosts were insistent they should have had a penalty with 20 minutes left on the clock. Miletic headed the ball off the arms of Williams but the referee said no and without the use of VAR in the Europa League group stages, United got away with one.

Romero was called into action once again in the 80th minute, this time to deny Takuma Asano's flicked near-post header from a corner as United held on for their first away win since PSG in March.

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