Rashford fires United into the semis – Europa League

Quarter-final

Manchester United 2-1 Anderlecht (Agg. 3-2)

Marcus Rashford sent Manchester United into the Europa League semi-finals after Anderlecht took Jose Mourinho’s side to extra-time in a breathless encounter.

But the result may have come at a cost, with top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic limping out of the game at the end of normal time with what could be a serious knee injury.

England’s last European representatives came into the quarter-final second leg boosted by Sunday’s surprisingly dominant win against Premier League leaders Chelsea and Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s away goal.

The Armenian struck again early on but United were given a scare, with Anderlecht captain Sofiane Hanni bringing the tie level, before Rashford capped a man-of-the-match display with the goal that secured a 2-1 extra-time triumph.

Rashford celebrates his winning goal.

Victory saw Mourinho’s men stumble a step closer to the Stockholm finale 3-2 on aggregate, but the Old Trafford quarter-final second leg proved costly as Marcos Rojo and Ibrahimovic sustained what appear to be serious injuries.

Few could have foreseen such an arduous evening after Mkhitaryan’s fifth goal in six Europa League matches, but impressive Anderlecht went into half-time level after Hanni reacted quickest to Youri Tielemans’ deflected effort rebounding off the crossbar.

United’s desperation to avoid an embarrassing exit was matched by the visitors’ desire to win on English soil for the first time, leading to a thrilling second half that came to an excruciating end for Ibrahimovic.

The veteran Swede’s enforced exit after landing awkwardly saw Rashford lead the line and the talented 19-year-old struck the decisive blow, showing wonderful composure and skill to strike a 107th-minute winner.

Anderlecht had a few late, late chances as United failed to keep their composure, but the home side held on to squeeze into the last-four draw.

Tonight’s other Europa League results:

  • Besiktas 2-1 Lyon* (Agg. 3-3) *Lyon win 7-6 on penalties
  • Genk 1-1 Celta Vigo (Agg. 3-4)
  • Schalke 04 3-2 Ajax (Agg. 3-4) After extra-time

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