Published: Fri, March 17, 2017
Sport | By Stephen Hansen

Watch Zlatan's lovely back-heel set up Mata's goal for Man United

Watch Zlatan's lovely back-heel set up Mata's goal for Man United

As early as the fifth minute, Marcos Rojo saw a headed effort come close and that continued as the post come to their rescue twice in the first half to keep Zlatan Ibrahimovic at bay.

Mata broke the deadlock from close range with what proved to be the victor 20 minutes from time after being set up by Ibrahimovic.

Aleksandr Bukharov, Rostov's scorer in the first leg, threatened to peg United back in the 79th minute, but Romero was equal to both his glancing header and Noboa's unsafe stoppage-time free-kick.

We assess the talking points ahead of the return leg.

Manchester United were looking to get back to winning ways after their disappointing 1-0 loss to Chelsea in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup on Monday night. Their task became even more hard, and more exhausting, on Monday night when Ander Herrera's first-half dismissal left them with 10 men for nearly an hour in their 1-0 loss.

The injury to Pogba, who turned 24 on Wednesday, adds to Mourinho's problems in midfield, with Ander Herrera facing a two-game domestic suspension following his dismissal at Chelsea.

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United manager Jose Mourinho said Pogba's injury was due to "fatigue" and hit out at unnamed "enemies" in an apparent reference to his side's jam-packed fixture schedule.

The 24-year-old appeared to have tweaked his hamstring during the incident on Thursday night.

That chance marked the switch to a more purposeful set-up from the away side, but that only served to give United more space to attack. More of the same will see United advance.

The pitch was a nightmare at Rostov but I think it could be one of those slow nights where United are sat on a narrow lead before finishing them off.

"The five teams in front of us in the league don't have European football". With those three pivotal figures missing, it would be a shock if United's run in this competition is ended by the Russians.

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