Manchester United suffer late blow in Belgium

 A familiar tale for Manchester United: they controlled the game and actually looked more menacing than usual, but failed to make their dominance count before conceding a late goal to give Anderlecht a sniff in the second leg of their Europa League quarter-final.

Anderlecht actually started the game the stronger, but after the first quarter-hour United took over in midfield thanks to the passing of Paul Pogba and Michael Carrick. Meanwhile, outside them, the running of Marcus Rashford and movement of Jesse Lingard caused the Anderlecht defence all manner of difficulty.

As such, it was no great surprise when United took the lead on 36 minutes, a probing, patient passing move setting Antonio Valencia free down the right. Unusually, his cross was a good one and Marcus Rashford directed it goalwards; Ruben Martinez then parried, but Henrikh Mkhitaryan was on-hand to make a difficult finish look easy, ramming into the roof of the net from an acute angle.

The flow of the game changed a little in the second half, Anderlecht attacking with more confidence, though United were still by far the better team. But on 83 minutes, Paul Pogba missed a superb chance, and three minutes after that, the home team were level, Leander Dendoncker thumping home a header from Ivan Obradovic’s superb cross while Matteo Darmian and Marouane Fellaini watched.

So, United must be on their mettle when the sides reconvene next week – after a quick weekend encounter with Chelsea.

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