Henrikh Mkhitaryan away goal earns Man United draw at Rostov
Rostov 1 - 1 Man United

Henrikh Mkhitaryan away goal earns Man United draw at Rostov

10/03/2017

Manchester United scored an important away goal as they earned a 1-1 draw against FC Rostov in their Europa League round-of-16 first leg.

As if a 3,750-mile round trip was not enough, United were greeted by a surface so poor that Jose Mourinho wanted UEFA to call the first leg off -- a request that unsurprisingly fell on deaf ears.

The Olimp-2 stadium surface made a difficult trip all the harder, with Aleksandr Bukharov cancelling out Mkhitaryan's first-half strike to leave the score at 1-1 ahead of next week's return leg at Old Trafford.

Mourinho's frustration at being pegged back by Rostov -- a side that have beaten Bayern Munich and Ajax at home this season -- will likely be tempered by the relief of seemingly avoiding injuries on this pitch.

It led to a tense, scrappy affair in windy southern Russia, where Mkhitaryan opened the scoring from a smart Zlatan Ibrahimovic cutback after 35 minutes.

Rostov upped the ante after the break buoyed by Bukharov's equaliser, having peeled off Phil Jones, but United's hardy 238 travelling fans saw their side dig deep to secure a draw.

Mourinho plumped for a three-man defence after thinking on his team selection overnight once he had seen the state of the Olimp-2 surface first-hand.

Plumes of sand sprung up whenever a foot was planted or challenge made, with the wind whipping around the stadium and rock-hard surface making the ball hard to read.

Little surprise then that the first half was a period of few opportunities, with both defences going taking a no-nonsense approach at the back.

Tempers frayed as challenges went in and players hit the deck, with Vladimir Granat forced off after one duel with Mkhitaryan.

It was as innocuous as the one that saw the Armenian booked for catching Fedor Kudryashov with his arm, and also the yellow card Aleksandr Gatskan received for a challenge on Ibrahimovic that rules the Rostov captain out of the return leg.

Play was fractured and tense, only for a rare moment of quality to bring with a 35th-minute opener.

Marouane Fellaini followed impressive control on the left flank with ball to talisman Ibrahimovic, whose intelligent cutback from the byline was turned home by Mkhitaryan as the ground fell silent apart from the pocket of United fans and the coaching staff.

Christian Noboa and substitute Denis Terentyev had attempts to level before half-time, from which United returned with intent as Ibrahimovic and Ashley Young tried their luck.

Rostov had created precious little but prised open United's defence in the 53rd minute. Timofei Kalachev sent over a smart, clipped ball to Aleksandr Bukharov, with the striker peeling away, controlling and turning past Romero to send the sell-out crowd wild.

Phil Jones was caught napping by a Rostov side playing with new-found confidence, with Aleksandr Erokhin missing before a Cesar Navas half chance.

Kalachev received a booking that will see him join Gatskan in missing the second leg, before the right-back, who had a frank exchange with Mourinho, missed the target as Rostov chased a famous winner.

Marcos Rojo smartly stopped substitute Sardar Azmoun breaking and in stoppage time United could have snatched a winner, with Fellaini's header across goal just evading Anthony Martial.

Related news

Griezmann double as Atletico Madrid beat Marseille to win Europa League

Griezmann double as Atletico Madrid beat Marseille to win Europa League

Antoine Griezmann struck twice as Atletico Madrid powered past Marseille to lift their third Europa League title in nine years.

Atletico Madrid overcome Arsenal to reach first Europa League final since 2012

Atletico Madrid overcome Arsenal to reach first Europa League final since 2012

Atletico Madrid advanced to the Europe League final 2-1 on aggregate after a 1-0 victory over Arsenal at the Wanda Metropolitano on Thursday.

Controversial Rolando winner sends Marseille through to Europa League final

Controversial Rolando winner sends Marseille through to Europa League final

Marseille scored a dramatic extra-time decider against Red Bull Salzburg to earn a Europa League final showdown with Atletico Madrid in Lyon on May 16.

Antoine Griezmann levels late as 10-man Atletico Madrid draw with Arsenal

Antoine Griezmann levels late as 10-man Atletico Madrid draw with Arsenal

If Arsene Wenger's Arsenal finale is to be a Europa League final in Lyon his side will have to do it the hard way after surrendering a well-deserved lead to draw against 10-man Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their semi-final.

Dimitri Payet pulls strings as Marseille take commanding first-leg advantage vs. Salzburg

Dimitri Payet pulls strings as Marseille take commanding first-leg advantage vs. Salzburg

Florian Thauvin put Marseille within touching distance of a place in the UEFA Europa League final with a controversial opener as his side beat Red Bull Salzburg 2-0 at the Stade Velodrome.

Arsenal drawn to face Atletico Madrid in Europa League semifinal

Arsenal drawn to face Atletico Madrid in Europa League semifinal

Arsenal will face Atletico Madrid later this month in their first appearance in the Europa League semifinals since 2000.

Marseille stun RB Leipzig to reach Europa semis after topsy-turvy tie

Marseille stun RB Leipzig to reach Europa semis after topsy-turvy tie

Marseille stunned RB Leipzig 4-2 in a thrilling Europa League quarterfinal second leg at the Orange Velodrome on Thursday evening to secure a 5-3 aggregate victory.

Red Bull Salzburg soar to shock Europa League quarterfinal win over Lazio

Red Bull Salzburg soar to shock Europa League quarterfinal win over Lazio

Red Bull Salzburg came from behind to earn a stunning 4-1 victory that secured an unlikely Europa League semifinal berth at the expense of Lazio.

Welbeck, Ramsey see Arsenal past CSKA Moscow to Europa semis

Welbeck, Ramsey see Arsenal past CSKA Moscow to Europa semis

Arsenal edged into the semifinals of the Europa League, but only after surviving a major scare as CSKA Moscow threatened a memorable comeback.

RELATED NEWS

Griezmann double as Atletico Madrid beat Marseille to win Europa League
Marseille 0 - 3 Atletico Madrid

Griezmann double as Atletico Madrid beat Marseille to win Europa League

Antoine Griezmann struck twice as Atletico Madrid powered past Marseille to lift their third Europa League title in nine years.

Atletico Madrid overcome Arsenal to reach first Europa League final since 2012
Atletico Madrid 1 - 0 Arsenal

Atletico Madrid overcome Arsenal to reach first Europa League final since 2012

Atletico Madrid advanced to the Europe League final 2-1 on aggregate after a 1-0 victory over Arsenal at the Wanda Metropolitano on Thursday.

Controversial Rolando winner sends Marseille through to Europa League final
Salzburg 2 - 1 Marseille

Controversial Rolando winner sends Marseille through to Europa League final

Marseille scored a dramatic extra-time decider against Red Bull Salzburg to earn a Europa League final showdown with Atletico Madrid in Lyon on May 16.

Antoine Griezmann levels late as 10-man Atletico Madrid draw with Arsenal
Arsenal 1 - 1 Atletico Madrid

Antoine Griezmann levels late as 10-man Atletico Madrid draw with Arsenal

If Arsene Wenger's Arsenal finale is to be a Europa League final in Lyon his side will have to do it the hard way after surrendering a well-deserved lead to draw against 10-man Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their semi-final.

Dimitri Payet pulls strings as Marseille take commanding first-leg advantage vs. Salzburg
Marseille 2 - 0 Salzburg

Dimitri Payet pulls strings as Marseille take commanding first-leg advantage vs. Salzburg

Florian Thauvin put Marseille within touching distance of a place in the UEFA Europa League final with a controversial opener as his side beat Red Bull Salzburg 2-0 at the Stade Velodrome.

Arsenal drawn to face Atletico Madrid in Europa League semifinal
Europa League semifinal draw

Arsenal drawn to face Atletico Madrid in Europa League semifinal

Arsenal will face Atletico Madrid later this month in their first appearance in the Europa League semifinals since 2000.

Marseille stun RB Leipzig to reach Europa semis after topsy-turvy tie
Marseille 5 - 2 RB Leipzig

Marseille stun RB Leipzig to reach Europa semis after topsy-turvy tie

Marseille stunned RB Leipzig 4-2 in a thrilling Europa League quarterfinal second leg at the Orange Velodrome on Thursday evening to secure a 5-3 aggregate victory.

Red Bull Salzburg soar to shock Europa League quarterfinal win over Lazio
Red Bull Salzburg 4 - 1 Lazio

Red Bull Salzburg soar to shock Europa League quarterfinal win over Lazio

Red Bull Salzburg came from behind to earn a stunning 4-1 victory that secured an unlikely Europa League semifinal berth at the expense of Lazio.

Welbeck, Ramsey see Arsenal past CSKA Moscow to Europa semis
CSKA Moscow 2 - 2 Arsenal

Welbeck, Ramsey see Arsenal past CSKA Moscow to Europa semis

Arsenal edged into the semifinals of the Europa League, but only after surviving a major scare as CSKA Moscow threatened a memorable comeback.

DERBY OF THE WEEK
Real Madrid - Liverpool - Champions League Final
Derby of the week
20:45
26/05/2018
Derby of the week
W 2.20    
   W 3.00
The odds are correct at the time of publishing
05-14-2018 09:00 and are subject to change
Football Live Scores
Tennis Live Scores