Tag Archives: Juan Mata

Man United survives nervy Rostov encounter with Mata goal

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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.

League Cup: United takes advantage into semi-final replay

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Manchester United defeated Hull City by 2-0 in the first leg of their League Cup semi-final fixture, thus taking the advantage of a two-goal cushion going into their replay.

The victory did not come easy for the Red Devils – despite being almost at full-strength, the team struggled to break down Hull’s tight defense, and could only register two shots on target in the first-half.

Visiting Hull registered attempts on target, too – with Robert Snodgrass giving United something to worry about in set pieces.

But as a more intense United team returned to pitch at the second half, they got an easy breakthrough just before the hour with Juan Mata tapping in Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s knockdown.

Marouane Fellaini, subbed in for Mata with 10 minutes left to play, sealed the game with United’s second as the Belgian headed in Matteo Darmian’s cross to put United in command heading into the second leg on 26 January.

For Hull City, who are at the bottom of the Premier League table and are struggling to cope with a growing injury list, were given odds of 20-1 to win. It got worse as one of their midfielders, Markus Henriksen, left the pitch injured just inside 20 minutes.

But with Marco Silva taking charge of the Tigers last week, the team have looked much improved overall. They managed to defeat Swansea in the FA Cup at the weekend and more than held their own for long periods of the game against the Red Devils despite having to field a makeshift defence.

However, Fellaini’s goal means that Hull probably is a goal deficit too far to turnaround in the second leg – although fans could hold out hope that their players could deliver a survival in their relegation battle this season.