An eye-catching Juan Mata goal secured Manchester United an underwhelming 1-0 win over Rostov to book their passage to the last eight of the Europa League.
Jose Mourinho’s side – held 1-1 in Russia – were wasteful in front of goal for much of the match at Old Trafford and looked to be heading for a goalless stalemate before Mata prodded home 20 minutes from time at the end of a well-worked move from the hosts.
United were dominant throughout, with Rostov offering little attacking threat and generally relying on defensive stubbornness and good fortune – the post coming to their rescue twice in the first half to keep Zlatan Ibrahimovic at bay.
The home side suffered the blow of losing Paul Pogba – who enjoyed a strong first half – to a suspected hamstring injury just after the break and their hold on the midfield suffered slightly as a result.
But Mata finished off a fine United move to punish a Rostov error and that goal proved to be enough, though Sergio Romero was forced into a superb late stop to prevent the match going into extra time.
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