Manchester United edged past Russian team FC Rostov in a nervy encounter at Old Trafford to reach the Europa League quarter-finals with a 1-0 (2-1 on aggregate) victory, thanks to a Juan Mata goal.
In what had been a largely frustrating night for United, the Manchester team dominated for large periods without really threatening and also lost midfielder Paul Pogba to a hamstring injury.
Their best chances before the goal came in the first half, when Henrikh Mkhitaryan shot wide when one-on-one and Ibrahimovic twice hit the post
In an almost lifeless game, United got their act together sufficiently to grab the goal midway through the second half.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic started the move, rolling the ball out to Mkhitaryan on the right, then moving into the area for the return. All he got on the cross was a back-heel flick but it was enough to find Mata at the far post who was able to turn the ball over the line.
The Red Devils also needed two good saves from Sergio Romero late on as Rostov threatened to drag the game on to extra-time.
Starting in the place of first-team regular David De Gea, the United goalkeeper saved United from blushes by first keeping out Sardar Azmoun’s flicked header before thumping away Christian Noboa’s free-kick.
United will find out later today who they will play in the quarter-finals. Manager Jose Mourinho will no doubt will be holding out for a weaker team as the Premier League team will be keen on avoiding to rely solely on finishing at the top four for a Champions League spot.