Europa: Dendoncker Spoils United Party With Late Equalizer In Belgium
Leander Dendoncker denied Manchester United a Europa League first-leg advantage to leave their quarter-final in the balance heading back to Old Trafford next week.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan gave Jose Mourinho’s men a priceless first-leg advantage with a predatory 37-minute strike at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium. It was no more than United deserved for the way they controlled the opening half.
The Reds went close to taking the lead in the 18 minute when Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s instinctive near-post flick from Marcus Rashford’s cross was saved by Anderlecht keeper Ruben Martinez and Jesse Lingard prodded the follow-up against the post.
But then Mkhirtaryan stunned the Belgian League leaders. Antonio Valencia’s left-wing raid enabled Rashford to strike a sweetly controlled volley towards the bottom corner. And although Martinez produced a fingertip save, Mkhitaryan reacted first to guide home the loose ball from an acute angle.
United came under pressure at the start of the second half, but they weathered the storm and Mkhitaryan went close again with a volley that flew just wide. Just as United looked to see the game out, Dendoncker met Ivan Obradovic’s cross with a bullet header to equalise and leave the tie finely poised.
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