FC Rostov, currently lying at seventh place in Russian Premier League, but they continued to thrive in European games. Their latest victim was Manchester United in their Europa League last 16 tie, after their third place finish in Uefa Champions League. Rostov continues to surprise in Europe as they held Red Devils for 1-1 draw in first leg played at home, Olimp-2 Stadium. United got an early break in first half taking the lead from Henrikh Mkhitaryan close range finish, but Rostov fought back to get the decisive goal to keep themselves in the tie thanks to Aleksandr Bukharov second half goal.
Manchester United manager, Jose Mourinho wasn’t happy about the pitch condition, but it’s only an excuse, Rostov were also playing on the same artificial pitch. It has proven, Rostov has done well this season, whenever they have hosted a European night, and this time it was no different.
They have already defeated Bayern Munich at home 3-2, which earned Bavarians second place in the group, and Atletico find it tough to score goals when they registered a marginal 1-0 victory at Olimp-2. Eindhoven didn’t win a single game against them, playing both fixtures draw and it helped Russian secure a third placed finish in the group.
Now, their challenge was in Europa League, Europe’s second tier football competition, and here they shined as well, snatching a draw against tournament favourite Manchester United. Although, draw will be decided at Old Trafford in return leg, and it won’t be easy at United home turf, but Rostov is certainly up for the challenge.
It was a good start for the visitors United, when Mkhitaryan gave them the lead from Zlatan Ibrahimovic brilliant assist. Ibrahimovic himself had the chance to go on the scoresheet, but his second half effort goes over the bar. Rostov forward Aleksandr Bukharov latched on to a Timofei Kalachev pass and earned Rostov equalizer goal.
Returned leg will be played next Thursday, but before that Manchester United has a tough challenge in FA Cup last eight against Chelsea, and there will be no Zlatan Ibrahimovic to save United on Sunday. Swedish is serving a three match FA ban, which may cost United heavily against the Blues.