Zorya 0-2 Man U: Mkhitaryan nets solo goal, Mata storms off

Europa League By: Olakunle Brown | 08/12/2016

Henrik Mkhitaryan scored a beautiful solo goal and Zlatan Ibrahimovic added a second to help Manchester United to a 2-0 victory against Zorya Luhansk inside the Chornomorets Stadium and qualify for the knockout round of the Europa League.

The Red Devils needed just a point to qualify heading into the fixture and manager Jose Mourinho made five changes to the side that drew at the weekend in the premier league with Sergio Romero coming on for David de Gea while Wayne Rooney returned after serving his one match suspension.

First Half

The pitch was horrible as the ball was bouncing awkwardly on its surface but the home side ceased the opportunity to have the first shot on goal as a half clearance by Daley Blind is pounced on by Igor Kharatin whose effort was saved by Sergio Romero in goal for Manchester United and the rebound from Ivan Petryak hit the side netting.

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The away side responded as Paul Pogba hit a left foot drive from 25yards but his effort went wide. The France international who had a busy evening again had another opportunity but this time he heads wide from an Ander Herrera’s cross.

There was a brief moment of scare as the home fans threw onto the pitch a flare and after checking the United goal area and the goalkeeper where it was targeted – play resumed.

Spanish international Juan Mata played a loose ball backwards and it was pounced on by Alexander Karavaev but he failed to make anything out of it as he fires wide from the edge of the box and at the other end, United won a corner and defender Eric Bailey was first to respond to the resultant kick with an overhead effort but the goalkeeper was well positioned to save easily.

Wayne Rooney tried the goalkeeper was 20yards out but the goalkeeper again saved. Marcos Rojo had a perfect opportunity of putting United into the lead but he fired over the bar from inside the box to end the half goalless, although the Red Devils had 70% of ball possession compared to the home side’s 30%.

Second Half

It took Manchester United just two minutes to open the scoring as Henrik Mkhitaryan produced a moment of magic when he picked the ball up from midfield thanks to Rojo who won a tackle –the Armenian than ran towards goal used the run of Rooney to beat two defenders before slotting past the goalkeeper for 1-0.

The away side nearly doubled their lead but the goalkeeper dived well to his left to save a low drive from Zlatan Ibrahimovic. A series of substitutions ensued from both sides but the one that caught the eyes was Juan Mata who stormed off straight into the dressing room after he was substituted for Jesse Lingard.

Romero was called into action and he pulled out a super save to deny Mikhail Sivakov and at the other end Ibrahimovic narrowly missed target with a powerful shot but wasn’t to be denied as he race onto a swift pass from Paul Pogba before finishing past the goalkeeper for his seventh goal in six games for Jose Mourinho’s men in all competitions and sealed a 2-0 victory on the night.

Manchester United finished second in Group H with 12 points, just one behind leaders Fenerbache who won 1-0 away at third placed Feyenoord.

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