Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho blames “sloppy” attackers after his side let Anderlecht fight back for a 1-1 draw in the Europa League.
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• Leander Dendoncker heads home late equaliser for home side
• Henrikh Mkhitaryan scores away goal in Europa League quarter-final first leg
José Mourinho said Manchester United’s defenders should be “upset” with their attackers for not finishing off Anderlecht in the Europa League quarter-final first leg, the manager naming Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Marcus Rashford, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial as those culpable.
United led through Mkhitaryan’s 10th of the season after he struck on 37 minutes and, until Leander Dendoncker’s equaliser three minutes from time, Mourinho’s men were in charge. However, despite their superiority, they could not capitalise.
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Manchester United should still be confident of reaching the semi-finals of Uefa’s second tier club competition, despite Leander Dendoncker’s late strike that drew the opening leg. Until then Anderlecht had barely managed an attempt and United will rue Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard and Henrikh Mkhitaryan were not ruthless enough, though the latter did score United’s goal.
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United spent most of the evening on top, but Leander Dendoncker’s late equaliser keeps the tie in the balance.
For a second, it looks as though Chipciu, about to meet a dropping ball to the right of the United goal, is planning to recreate Marco van Basten’s volley in the Euro 88 final. But let’s not be silly. And that’s that. The late Anderlecht goal will sting, but United are still in the box seat in this quarter final. They were the better team for the majority of the game, have an away goal in their pocket, and the second leg at home to come. But the Belgians have a little hope to take to Old Trafford now. Next week’s game promises to be a cracker.
90 min +2: Fosu-Mensah is booked for a slightly reckless slide into a 50-50 challenge with Hanni.
90 min +1: There will be three added minutes. The travelling support are belting out a defiant version of Glory, Glory.
90 min: United make their final change, replacing the goalscorer Mkhitaryan with Fosu-Mensah.
88 min: Anderlecht have been much improved in this second half. But United still looked in control and the more likely to score. That equaliser came out of nothing. On the bench, Jose Mourinho has his don’t-care face on.
The always lively Obradovic bursts down the left wing, and curls a fine high cross towards the far post. Dendoncker romps in from the right, leaps above Darmian and crashes a superb header into the top left! That was an unstoppable header!
85 min: Ibrahimovic, in the centre circle, plays a glorious defence-splitting pass down the centre to release Martial, curling his run from the left. Ruben is out to batter clear, and the flag goes up for offside anyway. Martial looked to have timed his run well, for the record, not that it really matters.
83 min: United, after sitting back for most of the half, are now pressing for a second away goal that would surely kill the tie. Ibrahimovic flicks cleverly down the inside-right channel to release Pogba. He’s one on one with Ruben! But it’s a tight-ish angle. Pogba looks to smash across the keeper and into the bottom left, but Ruben gets a fine hand on it, and the ball spins out to the left of goal. From the corner, Fellaini nearly silences the stadium again with a close-range header, but doesn’t quite connect.
81 min: Fellaini, given the bird with every touch, almost delivers the perfect riposte. He batters a shot goalwards from 25 yards. It pinballs off the legs of Chipciu and very nearly deceives Ruben, but the keeper readjusts to claim well.
80 min: Dendoncker launches long in the hope of releasing Acheampong. Bailly wins the duel. The ball breaks to Hanni, who can’t get a shot away. But Hanni is busy, and soon enough he’s twisting and turning on the edge of the United area after being fed by Acheampong on the left. His shot is deflected wide left of goal, for a corner that leads to nothing. But for a few seconds there, United looked a bit scrappy.
78 min: Anderlecht are seeing enough of the ball, but only in their own half. United are making them work for everything, and shutting them down repeatedly in the final third.
75 min: United seem quite happy to sit back and soak things up. With this tactic uppermost in mind, Fellaini comes on for Rashford. Fellaini, a former employee of Anderlecht’s rivals Standard Liege, is given quite the reception. And he’s going to get it every time he touches the ball.
72 min: Hanni rolls Bailly down the left and romps towards the area. He crosses low for Thelin, who falls over as he shapes to shoot. The crowd claim a penalty as the nearby Darmian challenges and makes off with the ball. But they’re not getting that.
70 min: This was better from the talented Thelin. He snaffles the ball 40 yards from the United goal, scampers up the inside-left channel for a second before slipping a pass forward and inside for Hanni. The sub instantly runs into Rojo, with United otherwise very light at the back. A half-chance for Anderlecht to launch an attack spurned.
69 min: Carrick gets a wipe-down with the magic sponge after being clattered upside the head in an aerial duel with Thelin. A few seconds later, Thelin clips an in-flight Mkhitaryan. Just a couple of fouls, but Thelin wants to watch himself; another cheeky challenge, and he’ll earn a booking that’d keep him out of the second leg at Old Trafford.
67 min: Obradovic is booked for a fairly basic slide on Rashford, who was looking to make off down the right. An incensed Mourinho, brow furrowed, springs off the bench to wave his arms about in protest.
66 min: All a bit scrappy at the moment. Jose Mourinho will be happy enough to watch the clock tick on without incident.
64 min: It’s like watching an England international during the Sven-Goran Eriksson era right now. Or rugby. A substitution every other minute. Now Hanni comes on for Stanciu.
63 min: Now United make their first change of the evening. Martial comes on for Lingard. By all accounts, his next goal will earn Monaco an extra £8.5m. Gotta love modern football accountancy gossip!
61 min: Mkhitaryan is this close to releasing Rashford down the middle. But not for the first time tonight, Kara steps in and says ta-ra. United look to have more goals in them tonight, though.
60 min: A rare mistake from Valencia as he allows Tielemans to roll him and scamper down the left. Tielemans slides the ball forward to Acheampong, whose cross-cum-shot is deflected back to Obradovic in space on the penalty spot. But the full back is leaning back, and his first-time shot squirts woefully wide right.
58 min: The first change of the night, as Bruno is sacrificed for Chipciu.
57 min: Rashford comes drifting in off the left flank and batters a shot straight down Ruben’s throat from 20 yards.
55 min: And all of a sudden, United nearly extend their lead. Pogba sprays a pass down the left from deep. Darmian takes a touch as he strides down the wing and hooks a ball into the box. Mkhitaryan, level with the left-hand post and 12 yards out, twists and tries to steer a volley into the top right. His clever attempt has the rooted Ruben beaten all ends up, but the ball flashes just wide of the post. That was a very aesthetically pleasing high-speed move.
54 min: A corner for Anderlecht out on the left, and a bit of head tennis in the United box. Romero eventually deals with the situation. But the home side are finally putting together a few more attacks.
52 min: A ball hoicked down the left by Anderlecht. Pogba, in his own box, clears after juggling the ball a wee while. That took ice in the veins. Lovely skill under pressure.
50 min: Anderlecht come at United again, Tielemans dinking a ball down the inside-left to release Acheampong into the area. He must shoot, he probably should score, but he foolishly hesitates and allows Bailly to relieve him of the ball. Better from the home side, though. And once again, United start the half in a slightly sluggish fashion.
49 min: Obradovic, out on the left, makes like Georgie Best across the face of the United box. He eventually slips the ball to Bruno on his outside. Bruno’s shot from a tight angle is deflected, beats Romero as a result, and is hacked into the air, off the line, by Valencia. It drops to Acheampong in Mkhitaryan Territory, tight to the left of goal. Acheampong volleys goalwards, but Valencia spreads himself to block legally. What defending!
48 min: And it’s a free kick in a dangerous position, just to the left of the D. Stanciu looks for a curler into the top right, but it’s a dismal effort which flies high into the stand.
47 min: Acheampong makes off down the inside-left channel. He’s dragged down just outside the area by Carrick, who is booked for the challenge. He goes to argue with the referee, but you can tell his heart’s not really in it. It’s a fair cop.
And we’re off again! United get the ball rolling for the second half. No changes. The play’s almost immediately stopped again as Ibrahimovic carelessly clocks poor Nuytinck on the tip of his beak with a high boot. Tonk! Ooyah! Oof!
Half-time listening: European chat for your pleasure.
Anderlect looked dangerous for the first ten minutes or so. Since then, though, United have been in total control. They’ve hogged possession, dictated the play, and deservedly have an away goal in their back pocket already. Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Marcus Rashford, Paul Pogba, Michael Carrick and Antonio Valencia have all been very impressive in their own ways. This tie could be over tonight if the second half pans out in similar fashion, so don’t go away!
44 min: Bruno slides a pass down the right wing in a forlorn attempt to release Appiah. The move is easily snuffed out by Darmian. Anderlecht are doing absolutely nothing in attack. United are utterly dominant.
42 min: Valencia earns a corner out on the right. Nothing comes of the set piece, but the United right-back has been sparkling in attack tonight. He’s a fine player: relentless, clever, direct. No need for frills.
40 min: Anderlecht are rattled. Their passing is hectic and panicked. It’s never very long before someone in a red shirt steps in to intercept and sashay off with the ball in a calm fashion. Rashford sprints with great purpose down the right and very nearly finds Lingard on the penalty spot. The ball’s blocked and cleared before a shot can be taken.
38 min: Breaking news: the United travelling support are making the most noise now.
This had been coming. More room for the increasingly dangerous Valencia down the right. He’s sent clear by Ibrahimovic. He crosses low for Rashford on the penalty spot. Rashford shoots first time towards the bottom left. Ruben does very well to get a hand to the ball, but can only push it wide left. Mkhitaryan, from a very tight angle, rushes in and lashes high into the net. A crucial away goal!
35 min: Anderlecht haven’t done much in attack for a while now. Bruno tries to get something going down the left, but there’s little space for him to operate and eventually the move fizzles out, not far past the halfway line.
33 min: Valencia romps down the right and smashes a low cross into the centre. Mkhitaryan, to the right of the D, takes all the pace off the ball with a very clever first-time pitching-wedge down the inside-right channel. But Rashford and Ibrahimovic are on the back foot, and can’t respond quickly enough. Ruben comes off his line to gather.
32 min: But he batters an uncharacteristically witless free kick into the wall.
31 min: Lingard dribbles his way down the inside-left channel and is unceremoniously upended by Appiah. That was clumsy rather than cynical, so there’s no yellow card. But this is a chance for Ibrahimovic from a free kick, the best part of 30 yards out. He’s got that look in his eye.
29 min: Another stunning Kara intervention! Mkhitaryan slips a ball down the middle and for a second it looks as though Lingard is going to scoot clear into the area. But out comes Kara’s telescopic leg, and the ball’s hooked away. What a last-ditch tackle! The home side can’t keep carrying on like this, though. They’re disturbingly easy to penetrate through the centre. A United breakthrough is surely only a matter of time.
27 min: United are seriously threatening to open Anderlecht up. Carrick sprays a long ball down the middle, releasing Rashford towards the box. But the striker takes a heavy touch, allowing Kara to step in, snaffle the ball, turn and clear.
26 min: Pogba, from a central position, rakes a gorgeous high diagonal pass towards Valencia on the right. Valencia meets it on the volley near the byline, sending a low cross into the area. If someone else in red was rushing into the Anderlecht box, that could have ended in a picture-book goal. But no.
24 min: Tielemans charges through the middle of the park as Anderlecht launch a quick break. Mkhitaryan, giving chase but labouring a wee bit, clips his ankle in the cynical manner and doesn’t bother complaining when the referee shows him the yellow card.
22 min: United are beginning to dominate now. The home side are struggling to retain possession when they do get the ball. The visitors pinging it around the middle of the park in fancy fashion. The home fans are still giving it plenty, though.
19 min: United keep passing the ball around. All those Louis van Gaal drills were worth something after all, huh. Eventually Rashford earns a little space 25 yards out. He drops a shoulder and curls a delicious effort towards the top right. It doesn’t quite come back, inches wide of the post. But what an effort that was!
17 min: United go up the other end and nearly score! Ibrahimovic gets on the end of a deep Rashford cross from the left. He can’t quite force the ball home, prodding it with his studs into Ruben’s chest from close range. A fine reaction save. The ball breaks to Lingard on the right. He smashes the ball against the post. It drops six yards from goal, but Nuytinck is the first to it, and batters clear. United so unlucky!
16 min: Acheampong earns Anderlecht another corner down the left. It’s hit long, and eventually it’s a corner on the other side. United let the ball bounce a couple of times in their own six-yard box. Bailly blooters clear, but Tielemans returns it with a chip down the centre of the field. Thelin is clear! And he puts the ball into the bottom-left corner, but he’s miles offside and Romero had stopped playing.
14 min: Bruno busies himself down the right and finds Dendoncker in the United box. Dendoncker returns the ball with a cushioned pass, setting up Bruno for a thrash at goal from a tight angle. The shot hits Thelin, six yards out, but the Anderlecht man is offside and the ball clanks wide right anyway.
11 min: Pogba again from deep, this time sliding a pass down the left channel for Rashford. Kara Mbodji does very well to step across his man and take over possession without conceding a penalty kick. Rashford, battling to reclaim the ball, tugs his man back. Both sides are seriously threatening to score; the last passes just aren’t quite coming off. It’s been a very open game.
10 min: Pogba, his back to the Anderlecht goal, 30 yards out, swivels and pitching wedges a delightful ball down the inside-right channel. He’s not far away from releasing Lingard at all, but there’s a little too much juice on the pass. Goal kick. This is very entertaining end-to-end fun.
9 min: Space for Appiah down the right. He looks to have won a corner off Rashford, but the ball clanks back off him. Goal kick. The hosts are piling forward in the progressive style, though. They come again. Acheampong dribbles down the left and looks for the bottom right with an ambitious diagonal fizzer. He drags it well wide of the goal, though Thelin was hovering in the middle, and if his toenails were a bit longer, may have been able to poke the cross home, Romero in no-man’s land.
7 min: United are on the back foot as Acheampong drives down the inside-left channel. The Anderlecht striker slides the ball wide left to Obradovic on the overlap. Hoof! Hoick! Shank! The ball flies into the stand behind the goal. That was dreadful; he had men in the centre and United were looking a bit light at the back.
6 min: Pogba does a little bit of probing in the Anderlecht final third, nearly finding Lingard in space down the inside-right channel. It’s a nice, open game so far. Both teams looking very expansive in attack.
4 min: United wake up. A ball played down the inside-left channel very nearly releases Rashford into the area. For a second, it looks like a shot is forthcoming, but Obradovic does well to usher the United man away from danger. Then the home side go up the other end. Acheampong races after a long ball, forcing Romero to come out of his box to clear. From 25 yards out, Romero shanks the ball behind for a corner. That was not good. But the set piece is mopped up easily enough.
2 min: Anderlecht launch a couple of attacks down the left. First Thelin chests down a long Nuytinck ball but can’t quite set up Acheampong; then Denconcker fires a low cross to Bruno, in a little bit of space inside the United D. He’s got a chance to shoot, but swings at fresh air. That was half a chance. United have been a bit sleepy so far.
Anyway, we’re off! Anderlecht get the ball rolling, and it ping-pongs around the middle of the park awhile. No great shape to the play as of yet, but the atmosphere in Belgium is splendid.
The teams are out! There’s a cracking atmosphere in the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium tonight, fully befitting such a big European tie. Anderlecht are in their famous purple and white, while Manchester United get to wear their trademark red and white. Not such good news coming from France, where the kick off of Lyon-Besiktas is certain to be delayed after crowd bother caused fans to flee from the stands and onto the pitch. It would seem Besiktas fans in the upper tier of a stand have been dispatching items downwards onto opposing supporters; shades of Ireland-England at Lansdowne Road all those years ago. What is wrong with people?
Jose Mourinho speaks! “We have a special feeling for the Europa League because now this is the only competition we can win. We cannot win the Premier League. This is a competition where we share our motivations and ambitions with seven other teams, we need to beat three of them, and Anderlecht is the first hurdle. They are a difficult opponent. They have a mixture of physicality at the back and speed and agility in attack. It will be difficult. We play ten matches to get here, we travel around Europe, now we have to push.”
Anderlecht make five changes to the XI sent out for a goalless draw with Gent on Sunday. Frank Boeckx, Uros Spajic, Alexandru Chipciu, Sofaine Hanni and Lucasz Teodorczyk make way for Bruno Martinez, Bram Nuytinck, Massimo Bruno, Frank Acheampong and Isaac Thelin.
Manchester United make three changes to the team who stepped out to win 3-0 at Sunderland on Sunday. Luke Shaw, Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini are replaced by Michael Carrick, Marcus Rashford and Antonio Valencia.
Anderlecht: Ruben Martinez, Appiah, Mbodji, Nuytinck, Obradovic, Bruno, Tielemans, Dendoncker, Stanciu, Acheampong, Thelin.
Subs: Boeckx, Deschacht, Spajic, Chipciu, Diego Capel, Teodorczyk, Hanni.
Manchester United: Romero, Valencia, Bailly, Rojo, Darmian, Carrick, Pogba, Mkhitaryan, Lingard, Rashford, Ibrahimovic.
Subs: de Gea, Martial, Blind, Herrera, Shaw, Fosu-Mensah, Fellaini.
Manchester United’s first-ever match in European football was against Anderlecht. It was a preliminary round fixture in the brand-new European Cup competition in September 1956, and according to the Manchester Guardian’s Old International – the pen-name for the legendary Donny Davies – Matt Busby’s side “bore themselves nobly in the Belgian capital”. The game was advertised as a Grand Match International en Nocturne and was played out under “cool silvery light”. United took the lead after 20 minutes, Dennis Violett ending a “long, sinuous run” with a “blistering scoring shot”.
Mark Jones conceded a penalty for handball, but Martin Lippens hit the post, and Hippolyte Van den Bosch had his follow-up saved by a “wonderful lurch forward off all fours” by Ray Wood. Tommy Taylor headed home a David Pegg cross to make it two. Game over, and the result was a “triumph of team spirit and a credit to all concerned … if one wants to feel British and proud of it, travel round with Manchester United.” The Belgian fans appeared in awe of the visitors; “reverence” and “extravagant adulation” was the order of the day.
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Premier League side did not manage a shot on target in Madrid and, with Robert Huth banned and Wes Morgan injured, face a defensive crisis in the second leg
As Leicester City’s players drifted out of Estadio Vicente Calderón shortly before midnight, a TV reporter mentioned to Danny Simpson that there was no need for such a long face after a narrow defeat against a team who have reached the Champions League final twice in the past three seasons, especially when there is still so much to play for in the second leg.
It was a fair point to make after a 1-0 defeat that could have been worse, yet it also overlooked the fact that Simpson and his team-mates had just experienced what it feels like to play against an Atlético Madrid side who never stop running. Breaking into a smile, Simpson politely made that point when he explained he was tired, and he was not the only Leicester player who looked exhausted as they headed back to the team hotel. Atlético are renowned for being unforgiving opponents in La Liga and beyond. Or, to borrow the phrase that one coach used last season, “horrible bastards to play against”.
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• Klopp: ‘Everyone should understand if they did not want to play it’
• ‘I saw the shock in the Dortmund players’ eyes and it was really hard’
Jürgen Klopp has said Uefa underestimated Tuesday’s bomb attack on Borussia Dortmund when forcing his previous club to play their Champions League first-leg tie against Monaco less than 24 hours later.
European football’s governing body has been criticised for rescheduling the game for the day after three explosions struck the Dortmund team coach and put the defender Marc Bartra in hospital. Bartra will be fit again in about four weeks, the clubs said on Thursday.
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Thomas Tuchel was wrong to blame Uefa alone for the Monaco match going ahead a day after the bomb attacks but decision-makers must start to put people ahead of schedules, TV, sponsors, money and the like
Perhaps the most sensible conclusion to draw from the sorry row about who decided to reschedule a Champions League quarter-final for the day after a triple bomb attack on one of the teams, is to step back, and say that football should deal more maturely with trauma. It is a lesson that has been far too long in the learning.
The Borussia Dortmund manager, Thomas Tuchel, looked ashen after the 3-2 defeat against a predictably professional Monaco, complaining that Uefa had high-handedly insisted the match must be played. His players, Tuchel said, needed at least “a few more days” to try to come to terms with the assault on their lives, before having to perform again. Uefa insists it did not impose the decision to kick-off the match less than 24 hours after it was called off on Tuesday following the terrorist pipe bomb blasts aimed at the Dortmund team bus. Uefa said the decision was taken after thorough discussions and agreement with both clubs, and that nobody in the Dortmund hierarchy requested at any stage that the match should not go ahead.
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