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Marcus Rashford free-kick hands Manchester United advantage over Celta Vigo in semi-final

Rashford free-kick hands Man Utd advantage over Celta Vigo

05/05/2017 at 01:06Updated 05/05/2017 at 05:55

Europa League semi-final first leg - Balaidos stadium - Celta Vigo 0-1 Manchester United (Rashford 67')

Marcus Rashford's free-kick gave Manchester United an away goal and a 1-0 victory over Celta Vigo in their Europa League semi-final first leg.

The game started with the returning Paul Pogba in an unusually high position, with Rashford again as a striker.

United dominated the first half, bringing an excellent performance from Sergio Alvarez in goal.

Rashford had one effort towards the top corner palmed away, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Jesse Lingard failed with one-on-one attempts.

In the second half, United went ahead when Rashford cleverly took Alvarez by surprise with a free-kick curled into the far corner.

United's profligacy may ultimately cost them, but the only real negatives are potential injuries to Rashford and Ashley Young – who were both substituted – with a game against Arsenal to come at the weekend.

TALKING POINT

Should United have played Marcus Rashford from the start of the season? Despite Zlatan Ibrahimovic's bumper haul of goals, Rashford has been a far more impressive player in his appearances. His ability to stretch play, and attack down the middle and the wings, is far more suited to a United side that lacks pace. For all of Ibrahimovic's quality, Rashford makes United a much more balanced side.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Marcus Rashford (Manchester United): Rashford was at the heart of much of United's best play in the first half, but he failed to create or score a goal. His head didn't dip, however, and he displayed a hitherto unseen technical prowess to whip a free-kick over the wall to give United a vital away goal for the second leg.

PLAYER RATINGS

Celta Vigo: Alvarez 7, Mallo 6, Cabral 6, Roncaglia 6, Jonny 6, Wass 6, Radoja 6, Hernandez 6, Aspas 5, Sisto 6, Guidetti 6. Subs: Beauvue 6, Jozabed 6.

Manchester United: Romero 7, Valencia 6, Bailly 6, Blind 6, Darmian 6, Herrera 6, Fellaini 6, Lingard 6, Pogba 6, Mkhitaryan 6, Rashford 7. Subs: Smalling 6, Young 6, Martial 6.

KEY EVENTS

20' - RASHFORD CHANCE - Rashford cuts in from the left. He thinks about a shot, reconsiders, and taps the ball inside a little more, then curls a shot towards the top corner that Alvarez just pushes away.

35' - ALVAREZ SHOT - Pogba sets up Mkhitaryan for a one-on-one with Alvarez, but the 'keeper manages to block the shot.

39' - LINGARD CHANCE - Lingard is put in behind the defence when Rashford sets him free down the middle, and Alvarez saves yet again. The chances are stacking up.

Paul Pogba faces Nemanja Radoja

Paul Pogba faces Nemanja RadojaGetty Images

60' - ROMERO SAVE - Sisto comes inside on to his right foot, his shot flicks the top of Valencia's boot and Romero leaps to tip it over.

67' - GOAL! Celta Vigo 0-1 Manchester United. Rashford scores - Rashford lines up a free-kick, 25 yards out, and he whips a shot over the wall and surprises the 'keeper, creeping the ball in at the far post.

75' - LINGARD SHOT - Mkhitaryan's shot from outside the box is deflected high into the air. It comes to Lingard running into the box, and he rifles a shot about two feet wide of the post.

KEY STATS

Rashford has 19 goals this season.

MATCH IN A TWEET

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