Talking Points: AC Milan 0 United 1
Manchester United are through to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Europa League after beating AC Milan at San Siro.
Following a 1-1 draw at the Theatre of Dreams last Thursday, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men had to score in Italy in order to progress from the Europa League round of 16.
Super-sub Paul Pogba’s magical goal in the 48th minute made sure the Reds got through to the last eight with a 1-0 triumph and a 2-1 victory on aggregate.
Following a tense battle at the iconic stadium on a jubilant evening for United, there were plenty of talking points…
There’s only one place to start and that’s with Paul Pogba, who marked his return to the United side with a goal within three minutes of coming on as a half-time substitute.The Frenchman’s dummy caught Gianluigi Donnarumma off guard and our no. 6 confidently, from an acute angle, smashed the ball into the roof of the net to put the Reds ahead. The goal was his fifth of the campaign and only his second as a substitute in 31 appearances off the bench for United. It also meant the 28-year-old has now scored on his last two visits to San Siro, adding to a goal he posted for Juventus in April 2016.
Pogba had not been in action since our 3-3 draw with Everton in the Premier League in early February, prior to Thursday's performance.
United are now through to the quarter-finals of the Europa League for the third time since the tournament changed its name from the UEFA Cup. In 2016/17 we went all the way and won it for the first time in our history, but Sevilla knocked us out at the semi-final stage last term.
The Reds kept another impressive clean sheet. Dean Henderson pulled off a stunning save to deny former United frontman Zlatan Ibrahimovic with 15 minutes to play. Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire blocked more or less everything that came the centre-backs’ way, meanwhile Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw put in brilliant shifts at full-back. The clean sheet was our fifth in the last six games. Well in, lads!
NEVER CHANGE A WINNING TEAM
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer opted not to alter his selection against the Rossoneri and went for the same XI that beat West Ham United in the Premier League four days prior to Thursday night’s encounter. Mason Greenwood lead the line following his impressive performance against the Hammers, with Daniel James and Marcus Rashford on the flanks and Bruno Fernandes in the playmaker role.
San Siro StunnerGallery
Check out the best pics as United beat AC Milan to progress to the Europa League quarter-finals. Get in, Reds!
ZLATAN THE SUB
Ex-Red Zlatan Ibrahimovic missed the first leg at Old Trafford but the Swedish talisman was back on AC Milan’s bench for the San Siro encounter.
The 39-year-old played 53 times for us between 2016 and 2018, scoring 29 goals in the shirt. With 25 minutes left, Ibra was subbed on as the hosts looked for a vital equaliser. In what was a double substitution, Reds loanee and birthday boy Diogo Dalot also came on. The Swede had a good chance but was denied by Dean Henderson.
As well as Paul Pogba, Donny van de Beek was back in the squad for our crucial Europa League tie in Italy. The Dutch technician has been out since the beginning of March with a muscle injury but our no. 34 is now available for selection for Ole. Good to have you back, Donny!
This was the 19th time in 39 attempts that United have won against Italian opposition in Europe. The victory at San Siro was our second consecutive win there, after a 3-2 success in 2010. We're also unbeaten on our last five trips to Italy, dating back to a 3-0 defeat to Milan in 2007.
That we find out in Friday’s draw, which takes place in Nyon. The draw starts at 12:00 GMT and you can keep up to speed via ManUtd.com and our Official App throughout Friday.