5 Things We Learned From Celta Vigo 0-1 Manchester United
A second-half Marcus Rashford goal means that Manchester United will take a 1-0 advantage into next week’s Europa semi-final second leg against Celta Vigo .
The 19-year-old’s 67th minute free-kick broke the deadlock after the Red Devils spurned a number of chances at the Estadio de Balaidos.
Rashford, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Jesse Lingard all went close before the break with Sergio Álvarez making a series of important stops for the hosts.
The La Liga side should have taken the lead themselves in the first-half when Daniel Wass failed to beat Sergio Romero with a header.
But Rashford’s outswinging free-kick was enough to mean that the Red Devils head to Old Trafford with a narrow lead and crucial away goal.
Here’s what David McDonnell learned.
1. Rashford stronger with every game
Marcus Rashford has taken full advantage of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s enforced absence to impress up front for United. He came close to scoring in the 20 minute with a curling effort and was a constant threat, through the middle or by drifting wide and cutting inside, and was duly rewarded with his stunning free-kick goal in the 67th-minute.
2. Pogba return gives United a boost
Paul Pobga has had his detractors this season, but the £89million world record signing showed his enduring value to United after return from a two-game injury lay-off. Pogba stretched Vigo’s defence with his direct running and athleticism, giving Jose Mourinho’s side an extra dimension, although he was guilty of allowing his level to drop after the break.
3. United miss chances again
Jose Mourinho has bemoaned United’s failure to show a more clinical touch in front of goal this season, and it was a familiar story here, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Jesse Lingard both squandering opportunities to score in the first-half, until Rashford’s stunning free-kick saw them take the lead.
4. Romero a first-class deputy
It’s hard to think of a better back-up goalkeeper in the Premier League than Sergio Romero, who has has started 10 of United’s 13 Europa League games and was once again given the nod over No.1 David De Gea. Romero proved his class with a vital save just after the hour to tip a dipping shot from Pione Sisto over the bar, moments before Rashford’s majestic opener.
5. Fellaini remains a liability
He has become Jose Mourinho’s go-to man for big games, but Marouane Fellaini continues to be a liability at times, in terms of his propensity to get booked. Sent off in the Manchester derby for head-butting Sergio Aguero, Fellaini was booked early on here and was forced to play within himself thereafter.