Manchester United were made to work on Thursday night at Old Trafford with a spirited Zorya Luhansk side giving them a good run around at Old Trafford. A goalless first half saw 11 shots in total from both sides but no shots on target.
Marcus Rashford came the closest in the first half with a shot that rattled the crossbar. Paul Pogba and Juan Mata did create a few chances but the Red Devils simply couldn't find a way thorugh.
It wasn't until Wayne Rooney's introduction that the goal came, albeit thorugh somewhat fortuitous circumstances. A scuffed shot from Rooney was nodded home by Zlatan Ibrahimovic at the post and that was enough to give United three points to open their account in the Europa League.
93' At the other end, Petryak tries his luck from distance. His shot was so high off the bar that it would have got him points in rugby.
91' POGBAAA... WIDE! Slick passing sees the ball fall to the French midfielder and he lets fly a strike from outside the box which whizzes wide of the far post. Shevchenko probably had that covered, though.
90' THREE MINUTES ADDED ON!
89' SAVE! Ibrahimovic got a wicked curl on that free-kick as it went past the wall. It looked all set to sneak in at the post before Shevchenko dived to catch it low and to his left. Good save considering he was in the blind spot behind the wall.
88' FOUL! Martial tries to skip past the Zorya defence and is tripped in the process. Ibrahimovic to take another free-kick.
86' Wow, how did Zorya miss that? Another cross into the box simply misses everyone from the United defence, keeper and Zorya forwards. At this level, they must take those chances. Still 1-0 to United but Zorya are sniffing an equaliser.
85' Fellainiiii... OVER THE BAR! A United corner sees Rooney send the ball in with an out swinging delivery. Fellaini gets clear of his marker and tries to volley it home but it sails over.
83' Jose Mourinho's side are leading 1-0 but he is still unhappy with what he has seen as he throws the ball back in anger to Rojo for a United throw-in.
81' Anthony Martial sprints down the right and cuts the ball back from the goal-line for Ibrahimovic to take a shot on goal but the linesman has his flag up. The ball had gone out of play before the Frenchman crossed the ball into the box.
80' SUBSTITUTION - Zorya make their third and final change as Gordiyenko comes on for Chaykovskiy.
Here's the goal from Ibrahimovic that gave Man Utd a 1-0 lead.
76' SUBSTITUTION: Jaba Lipartia comes on for Zeljko Ljubenovic as Zorya look for an equaliser.
74' DOUBLE SUBSTITUTION: Juan Mata and Fosu-Mensah come off for Ashley Young and Anthony Martial
FYI: That was Wayne Rooney's first touch in the game and it was an assist thanks to Ibrahimovic.
1 - Zlatan Ibrahimovic's goal for Manchester United came from their first shot on target in the game, in the 69th minute. Overdue.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 29, 2016
69' Wayne Rooney tries to direct a cutback goalward but his scuffed shot bounces high off the turf. But Zlatan Ibrahimovic is there to clean up at the far post and simply nods it home udner pressure. The substitution has worked! Sort of...
67' SUBSTITUTION: Wayne Rooney finally comes on as Jesse Lingard is taken off. #Squad
66' WHAT A SAVE! A curling shot on goal from Paulinho looks destined for the corner before Romero flies to his left to deny the visitors the opening goal.
63' YELLOW CARD! Eric Bailly goes into the referee's book for yet another high boot, this time on Paulinho. That booking has been coming for the defender.
62' Shevchenko has comfortably caught two crosses into the box so far. United then go for the passing route and Rashford is almost slipped through before a sliding tackle intercepts the pass. That was close!
59' SUBSTITUTION: Zorya make the first change as Paulinho comes on for Kulach.
58' Again Zorya win the ball back to counter and again it's Bailly to the rescue to make sure that final pass does not find a teammate.
54' Eric Bailly sprints all the way back to his box following a United corner to thwart another Zorya counter-attack. They were 3 vs 2 before the defender made up ground but Zorya should have done better with the final pass.
52' Petryak looks to counter and sprints down the left flank before he is clipped by Fellaini. No yellow card but he gets a telling-off from the referee. Petryak cannot believe it.
50' SO CLOSE! Karavayev sends in a beautiful cross to an unmarked Ljubenovic but he simply cannot get to the end of it. He was open, unmarked and had only Romero to beat. Yuriy Vernydub is furious on the touchline.
47' OFFSIDE! Chris Smalling steps up juuust in time to catch Zorya offside before United were carved open on the left. Big let off there!
46' And we're back! United get on the front foot right away and are playing a high line with the centre backs all he way up to the centre circle.
In case you're wondering why an entire tier at Old Trafford was empty, it's because a lack of demand for tickets prompted Man Utd to close the top tier. Only about two-thirds of the stadium is full.
43' Pogba and Petryak have their own personal battle out on the right and it's the Ukrainian midfielder who wins the battle when Pogba fouls him after losing possession. That was a battle of wits... And haircuts.
42' Fellainiiii... MISS! A header from another corner kick is just off target. That's another header missed by the big Belgian.
41' Pogba has just played two brilliant passes to find his teammates out on the left. One a through ball and the other a lofted ball over the defence. One such pass saw a cross into the box for an advancing Lingard to head home but it was blocked.
39' Role reversal! Pogba whips in a cross into the box and finds Mata, of all people. But the shortest player on the pitch can't direct his header goalward.
36' Bailly has some trouble in a one-on-one situation and ends up conceding a corner kick. Zorya takes it short again and lose the ball after just a single pass. What a waste!
33' It's all one-way traffic at the moment and Zorya have retreated all the way back to their 18-yard box. The back-line has as many as six players in black shirts and this has given Pogba and Mata a lot of space to work with. Still no way through yet, though.
31' Pogba is fouled and United have a free-kick. Zlatan stands over this one. It's in his range (what isn't when it comes to Ibra?)... But it's straight at the wall!
26' Haiiiyaaa! Bailly's tackle is just too high on Ljubenovic and the Serbian midfielder clutches his head as he falls to the pitch. That was unwarranted from Bailly and could have been avoided. Luckily, there wasn't much contact.
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