Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s injury had brought warning signs for Manchester United, but 19-year-old kid Marcus Rashford takes it as a challenge to fill in superstar boots. Rashford scores the crucial free kick in Europa Cup semifinal away game to give United 1-0 lead against Spanish side Celta de Vigo. It saves the day for the United as they’ll enter into second leg at home with an away goal advantage.
The wonder boy curled in a precious free kick in 67th minute of the game to give Jose Mourinho’s side the much-needed away goal advantage. United had many chances in the game, but they failed to capitalize, otherwise they would have three or four goal advantage at Balaidos.
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Celta Vigo’s goalkeeper Sergio Alvarez denied Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Marcus Rashford, and Jesse Lingard’s effort, before Rashford earns United away goal from his 25 yards free kick. Paul Pogba was decisive in the central midfield alongside Ander Herrera, and the French-Spanish duo kept the home side away from creating opportunities throughout the match.
AFC Ajax is supposed to be their opponent in final if they manage to defend their away lead at Old Trafford next week. Ajax has a 4-1 advantage against Lyon from first leg, and they are most likely to be in the final. Red Devils final berth is still not confirmed because they continues to risk with 1-0 lead, and they’ll need another performance from Rashford at Old Trafford to go through.
United’s only worry will be to keep Rashford fit for the home leg as he limped off at the end of the match. They also have crucial game against Arsenal on weekend in their fight for the Champions League place. They won’t need that Champions League place finish in Premier League if they win Europa League, but it’s still a distant dream.
Red Devils can’t rely on their marginal 1-0 lead, Celta Vigo have the ability to turn the tie. It will take only one goal from Iago Aspas’ inspired side at Old Trafford, and they’ll be into game. United need to keep their options alive through Premier League gate as well to play in Champions League, because there is no guarantee that Europa League belongs to them.
Ajax is a young dynamic side and their performance against Lyon at Amsterdam Arena is good enough to bring fear in any side who will be playing against them in near future. Red Devils don’t need to be worry as they have done a good defensive job until now, but beating the offside trap and creating spaces in opponents’ half is Ajax’s specialty. Jose Mourinho’s need to plan a great deal if his side reaches to the final and Ajax outsmart Lyon on their away trip.