Ratings: A superb Romero avoids extra-time as United gets the job done

Manchester United took on Rostov at Old Trafford in the second leg of the Europa League, trying to keep their hopes alive for a Champions League spot. Romero replaced David De Gea, while there was a doubt in the beginning of the game whether it was a 3-5-2 or a 5-3-2 system as both Valencia and Blind started. The previous game it was quite understandable to start a system that was defensive considering the pitch conditions back in Russia.

United returned playing after facing Chelsea on Monday, dropping a hint that the team was tired but the main player had fresh legs giving the team more positivity. Absent again, Martial and Rooney may also be kept for the upcoming game on Sunday since there’s no Herrera or Zlatan in the team.

The game started with United looking forward to scoring in a match completely dominated by them with a ball possession 75% – 25% in their favour. Constantly putting pressure on Rostov we barely had a view of what Sergio Romero was doing as United with Mata, Mkhitaryan, and Zlatan combining well without being able to score.

However, in the second half we would see a more interactive game as Rostov pushed forward and probably having Fellaini in the position with Herrera as well, was spot on despite the reason the Belgian came in. United did their job well as one of the best players on the pitch scored for United with an assist from Ibrahimovic who despite not scoring did homework well.

United are through the next round and here are the player ratings for tonight’s game:

Manchester United

20 Sergio Romero

He hasn't had much to do in the entire first half and it can be said that we have only seen him just a few minutes in the first half. Two beautiful saves from Romero to deny the visitors to keep the game level. It was one classic David De Gea save this time made by Sergio Romero. Avoided extra time, superb!


25 Antonio Valencia

Once again he defended well and completely different from the match against Chelsea, we saw Valencia moving well forward and pushing the defense. Great job once again.


12 Chris Smalling

Helped Bailly with the clearances and his major work was especially in the second half as balance changed in the defence after Blind's substitution. He did well tonight and for the first time for a long time he showed stability.


3 Eric Bailly

Important block from Bailly in the second half. Two or three clearances as well in the second half with Rostov getting more dangerous in the final third. Did the right choices as usual.


5 Marcos Rojo

Another great game from the Argentine. It has become almost impossible for Jose to drop him, as he defended well once again, leaving no chance to the opposition. He also went up front at times and did well.


17 Daley Blind

The Dutchman is finally having his chance and is taking it. Blind has also helped Rojo in the defensive job, winning the challenges by reading the game and moving well forward. Went down because of an elbow, showed some difficulties earlier, though. Came off for Jones.


21 Ander Herrera

The midfield breathes every time he plays and the ball circulation in that midfield has changed tonight. He provides key passes to the advanced players while in the back he has been careful with the tackles.


6 Paul Pogba

Him close to Herrera can do wonders. He still needs to work on his shooting as tonight he has misfired five shots close to the final third surprisingly not scoring one. Hope that the Frenchman is okay as he was substituted by Fellaini in the beginning of the second


8 Juan Mata

A United asset himself as his creativity can do miracles. He combined with Mkhitaryan and Zlatan to create a few dangerous chances in the first half. This continued in the second half and a combination between Ibra and him derived to United's goal.


10 Zlatan Ibrahimovic

He had a chance early in the first half where he could have scored. The Big Swede also served for his teammates that unfortunately couldn't finish the chance. In two minutes he had two chances, that second one that hit the post was stunning. Key point to this team, he provided the assist for the Mata goal.


22 Henrikh Mkhitaryan

He had a couple of chances to score and gutted on that second one. A good combination between Mata, Ibrahimovic and the Armenian. He moved well down the centre. Needs to take those chances.



27 Marouane Fellaini

Came in for Paul Pogba who pulled an injury and couldn't continue any longer. As Fellaini has gone a bit deep than usual he has helped the defence as Rostov raised pressure on United's half.


4 Phil Jones

The Englishman made a couple of clearances that seemed risky but well thought out. He, however, needs to gain his confidence back and this will happen slowly.


Written by Fabiola Cejku


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