Double debut delight as Rashford rescues Man United

Saturday, 27 February 2016 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


Reuters: Manchester United flirted with calamity before coasting into the Europa League last 16 as debutant Marcus Rashford helped them overcome an early blow with two goals in a 5-1 home victory over Midtjylland on Thursday.

United, who secured a 6-3 aggregate win, looked on their way out when Pione Sisto gave the Danes the lead but an own goal by Nikolay Bodurov, Rashford’s double, an Ander Herrera penalty and a late goal from Memphis Depay saw them safely through.

They will be joined in Friday’s draw by one of the most appealing last-16 lineups in recent seasons with Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Borussia Dortmund, Valencia, Villarreal and holders Sevilla among those marching on.

Athletic Bilbao, Lazio and Bayer Leverkusen also progressed.

Louis van Gaal’s United side looked set to endure another frustrating night when they fell behind to Sisto’s opener, a superb jinking run and sharp finish from the edge of the area after 28 minutes putting the visitors in control.

There was no such tension for Tottenham who eased past Fiorentina 3-0 with strikes from Ryan Mason and Erik Lamela plus a Gonzalo Rodriguez own goal wrapping up a 4-1 aggregate win.

It was an unsurprisingly easy stroll for Valencia, who took a 6-0 first-leg advantage into the return against Rapid Vienna and continued their recent upturn in form with a 4-0 win that secured a 10-0 aggregate thrashing.

Valencia boss Gary Neville endured little but misery in his first months in Spain but his team have now won four games in a row and inflicted Rapid Vienna’s joint-worst home loss in Europe.

Borussia Dortmund reinforced their status as the clear bookmakers’ favourites to win the trophy with a 1-0 victory at Porto to complete a 3-0 success over the two legs.

Holders Sevilla, who are chasing a third straight title, lost 1-0 to Molde in Norway, but their progress had been effectively assured by a 3-0 first-leg win last week.

Sevilla’s Spanish rivals Villarreal ousted Napoli thanks to an extraordinary Tomas Pina goal that cancelled out Marek Hamsik’s opener for the Italians.

Pina’s cross from wide on the left looped over Napoli keeper Pepe Reina before nestling in the top corner to earn Villarreal a 2-1 aggregate win. Shakhtar completed a superb 3-0 win at Schalke 04 to go through by the same score on aggregate, while Bilbao’s Sabin Merino scored an 81st-minute equaliser as they drew 1-1 at home to Olympique de Marseille and went through 2-1 overall.

Lazio beat Galatasaray 3-1 in Italy with all four goals coming in 14 second-half minutes as Marco Parolo, Felipe Anderson and Miroslav Klose netted for the Serie A side, who went through 4-2 over the two legs.