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Man Utd, Ajax roll on in Europa League

Manchester United, Ajax Amsterdam, Celta Vigo and Olympique Lyon are through to the semi-finals of the Europa League.

Man Utd, Ajax roll on in Europa League

Manchester United, Ajax Amsterdam, Celta Vigo and Olympique Lyon are through to the semi-finals of the Europa League.

Young Marcus Rashford scored in extra-time as Manchester United beat Anderlecht 2-1 at Old Trafford on Thursday to move into the last four of the Europa League with a 3-2 aggregate victory.

But there was heartbreak for Socceroos goalkeeper Mat Ryan and Belgian outfit Genk, who could only manage a 1-1 home draw with Celta Vigo and were eliminated 4-3 on aggregate.


United's victory keeps open a possible path to next season's Champions League for Jose Mourinho's side, but it came at a high price with defender Marcos Rojo and forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic both suffering possibly serious knee injuries.

United took the lead in the 10th minute when Paul Pogba played a pinpoint 40-metre low pass to Rashford who, at the second attempt, found Henrikh Mkhitaryan on the edge of the box and the Armenian midfielder drilled home his fifth goal in this season's Europa League.

The Belgians struck back in the 32nd minute. After Youri Tielemans hammered a powerful long-range shot against the bar, Lukasz Teodorczyk got the loose ball stuck under his feet but was able to nudge it into the path of Algerian Sofiane Hanni who drove in the equaliser.

After Ibrahimovic wasted two great chances in the final stages of normal time, the contest went into extra time and Rashford settled the tie with a fine finish early in the second period.

Mourinho, who has now reached his 10th European semi-final as a manager, equalling the record of Sir Alex Ferguson and Giovanni Trapattoni, said: "I think we had 17 shots and 10 on target but the game was difficult.

"Someone could watch the match and say total domination but they started better than us and had good chances and controlled the game for half an hour.

"At 1-1 you are at risk. Okay you speak about his (Rashford's) qualities but he was not scoring a goal since September. I kept the confidence in him.

"Some players don't know what makes me trust a player but Marcus I trust."

On the injuries to Ibrahimovic and Rojo, Mourinho said he would prefer to wait until Friday when tests were completed.

Ajax Amsterdam, trailing 3-0 and down to 10 men, scored two late goals to overcome Schalke 04 to join United, Olympique Lyon and Celta Vigo in the semi-finals.

The four-times European champions, leading 2-0 from the first leg, appeared to be on the way out as Schalke wiped out the deficit in just under an hour and then scored again early in extra-time.

Yet, despite having Joel Veltman sent off in the 80th minute, Ajax replied with a scrambled goal from Nick Viergever and a clinical effort from Amin Younes in the last 10 minutes of extra-time to bring it back to 3-2 and win 4-3 on aggregate.

Lyon went through after winning an extraordinary penalty shootout 7-6 away to Besiktas after the Turkish side had won the second leg 2-1 for a 3-3 aggregate draw.

Ryan was once again in fine form for Genk but was not able to stop Pione Sisto's all-important solo goal that proved decisive.

AAP


AAP



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