Europa League: Pogba injured as Mata secures Q/final spot

Europa League By: Olakunle Brown | 16/03/2017

Mata scores for Manchester United

Juan Mata was the hero for Manchester United as they secured a place in the Europa League quarter-final with a 1-0 win over Russian side Rostov at Old Trafford.

The victory was marred by the injury to world’s most expensive footballer, Paul Pogba, who was substituted early in the second half.

Manchester United played out a 1-1 draw in the first leg and needed a 1-0 win or a goalless draw to make the quarter-final.

Juan Mata clipped a pass over the defence for Ibrahimovic, who beats the goalkeeper but the angle became a little narrow as his shot went off target. The home side continued pressing as the visitors had the whole team behind the ball.

The Red Devils had a penalty claim waved away by the referee as he saw nothing wrong with the push on Mkhitaryan but moments later the Armenian nearly scored as he was put through on goal by a glorious pass from Mata but his dink over the goalkeeper went narrowly wide.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic nearly scored as he received the ball on the edge of the area and powered in a right foot shot which beats Nikita Medvedev in goal for Rostov but the ball came of the left hand post of the goalkeeper.

United ended the half on a high as Paul Pogba produced a brilliant left foot shot but it met an equally great save from the goalkeeper to finish the first period 1-1.

The home side got a huge blow just two minutes into the first half as Pogba went off with a hamstring injury and replaced by Marouane Felliani.

Rostov had their first shot on target in the second half when Azmoun, aka the Iranian Messi, forced a save from Sergio Romero in goal for Manchester United.

Juan Mata was about to be substituted by Marcus Rashford when he popped up and finished off a flick from Ibrahimovic and Mourinho left him on the pitch.

With the game into added time, Rostov won a freekick 30yards out and Noboa curled a magnificent free kick towards the top corner but Romero produced the save of the day to secure the 1-0 win for United and 2-1 on aggregate as they await Friday’s quarter-final draws.