Manchester United will face FC Sheriff Tiraspol at the Zimbru Stadium on Chisinau, Moldova this afternoon in their second group stage match in the UEFA Europa League. In United’s last match, which was played on the day Queen Elizabeth II died, they lost 1-0.
Erik ten Hag’s team will be seeking their first points in the Europa League this season, needing a win to make it easier to get out of the group. United have not played since last Thursday after their clash with Crystal Palace was postponed on Sunday.
It will also be United’s last match before the first international break of the season as the clash against Leeds United at Old Trafford has also been postponed because of a shortage of policing in Manchester the day before the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II in London.
Dalot, Varane, Martinez, Malacia;
Antony, Fernandes, Sancho;
Heaton, Vitek; Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Fred, Casemiro, Iqbal; Elanga, Garnacho, McNeill
FC Sheriff Tiraspol
Zouhouri, Kiki, Radeljic, Kpozo;
Badolo, Kyabou, Diop;
Rasheed, Atiemwen, Ouattara
Celeadnic, Pascenco, Heron, Vizeu, Moumouni, Mudasiru, Pernambuco, Guedes
United and Sheriff have not met in any competition ahead of this season so it will be an unknown for both teams. However, Sheriff did beat Real Madrid in the group stages of the UEFA Champions League last season, which would have been a shock for the eventual winners.
This will also be the first time that United have gone head to head with a team from Moldova. Tottenham Hotspur have faced Moldovan opposition back in the 1999/2000 season when they faced Zimbru Chisinau in the UEFA Cup and Sheriff in the Europa League in the 2013/14 season.
It could well be one of those matches where both teams, entering the unknown, find weaknesses and focus on that to get what they need. Sheriff are not a bad team and have proven that they are undaunted by the bigger teams that they face. That is what football is about at the end of the day.
Written by John Walker