New England Revolution forward Lee Nguyen (24) is congratulated by teammates forward Blake Brettschneider (23) and defender Chris Tierney (8) after Nguyen scored one of his two goals during their MLS soccer match against the Vancouver Whitecaps in Foxborough, Mass., Saturday, May 12, 2012. The Revolution defeated the Whitecaps 4-1. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)
Manchester United has gone from a three-match losing streak to a three-match winning streak after Zlatan Ibrahimovic‘s second half goal led the Red Devils to a 1-0 win over Zorya Luhansk at Old Trafford on Thursday.
The UEFA Europa League match was heavily titled in United’s favor, as Jose Mourinho’s men controlled the ball but didn’t find a finish outside of their big Swedish striker.
[ MORE: Match recap ]
Ibrahimovic was happy to pick up all three points after losing the group stage opener to Feyenoord, but expects better moving forward.
“It was not an easy game, we played well, created chances but this is a typical game. When you don’t score in the beginning, the spaces get smaller and smaller. After the goal, we had more space but it was a decent game. We won and that is what counts after losing against Feyenoord.
“If you want to go through, you need to win the game, we did that. We could have done much more though and I expect much more from the team. We did not score as we did against Leicester but it is good for confidence. If we continue this and step it up, we will do good.”
United didn’t look like they’d concede a goal during the match aside from a very brief stretch early in the second half. Next up is an Oct. 20 trip to Fenerbahce.
- Rooney assists Zlatan winner
- Roma, Zenit win big
- Irish history for Dundalk
A 68th minute Zlatan Ibrahimovic header spurred Manchester United past visiting Ukrainian side Zorya Luhansk X-0 at Old Trafford on Thursday in UEFA Europa League play.
United is a point behind Fenerbahce in Group A, level on points with Feyenoord but would sit behind them on head-to-head tiebreakers.
[ MORE: Early match roundup ]
United was in control all half long, and even strings of passes were rare for Zorya. But the match remained 0-0.
[ MORE: Europa League standings ]
[ MORE: Europa League schedule ]
Funny thing, though, as Zorya really started to find some chances by crossing from wide positions as the second half got moving at Old Trafford.
The Red Devils got back on track with about 35 minutes to go, and it began to feel like the first half, that a goal was inevitable. Timothy Fosu-Mensah cut back for Wayne Rooney, who mishit a side volley directly to the back post. There, Ibrahimovic leapt to take advantage of baffled Zorya keeper Oleksiy Shevchenko, heading it over the line.
The Red Devils gave away a dangerous free kick with 12 minutes to play, but Jaba Lipartia hit his left-footed attempt over the bar.
Dundalk 1–0 Maccabi Tel-Aviv
Semi-pro side Dundalk became the first Irish team to claim a point in European play on the last match day, so it stands to reason the defeat of visiting Maccabi Tel-Aviv is the first win in Irish history. Big striker Ciaran Kilduff scored the goal that kept Dundalk second in Group D, two points behind Zenit Saint Petersburg. Dundalk is off to Zenit on Oct. 20.
Zenit Saint Petersburg 5-0 AZ Alkmaar
Speaking of Zenit, they didn’t just beat AZ, the Russians cruised past their Dutch visitors with five different goal scorers netting in the win.
Saint-Etienne 1–1 Anderlecht
Genk 3–1 Sassuolo
Olympiacos 0–1 Apoel Nicosia
Fenerbahce 1–0 Feyenoord
Athletic Bilbao 1–0 Rapid Wien
Austria Wien 0–0 Viktoria Plzen
Zenit Saint-Petersburg 5–0 AZ Alkmaar
AS Roma 4–0 Astra Giurgiu
Mexico’s friendly matches against New Zealand and Panama next week will see a return to the fold for in-form LA Galaxy striker Giovani Dos Santos.
The 100-times capped 27-year-old is having an MVP caliber season in MLS, and is one of only three non-Mexico based call-ups for head coach Juan Carlos Osorio.
The other two? Eintracht Frankfurt’s Marco Fabian, who is red-hot in the Bundesliga, and Giovani’s younger brother: Villarreal’s Jonathan Dos Santos.
[ MORE: JPW hangs with USMNT prospect Gooch ]
Mexico plays New Zealand on Saturday in Nashville before heading to Chicago for Tuesday’s match against Panama.
An update on the early matches of Europa League play, with Manchester United amongst 20 European teams dealing with 3:05 p.m. ET kickoffs.
Southampton traveled a long way and is coming home with a point.
A shorthanded Saints side without Jose Fonte and Charlie Austin amongst others played Hapoel Be’er Sheva to a 0-0 draw in Israel on Thursday in Europa League play.
[ MORE: JPW hangs with USMNT prospect Gooch ]
“It’s a good result,” said Saints boss Claude Puel. “We played a very good team. When you cannot win a game it’s important to take one point and it’s an important point for the future.”
The Premier League side won its first group stage match, and remains level with Hapoel Be’er Sheva for the Group K lead. Sparta Prague beat Inter Milan 3-1 in the Czech Republic to move into third place, while Inter is dead last at 0-2.
Mario Balotelli scored to open Nice‘s match at Krasnodar, but that was one of the only bright spots in a 5-2 win for the Russian side.
Schalke put aside its poor Bundesliga form to batter Red Bull Salzburg 3-1. Benedikt Howedes’ 58th minute goal gave the Germans a three-goal lead.
Full Europa League scoreboard
Qabala 2-3 Mainz
Astana 0-0 Young Boys
Zurich 2-1 Osmanlispor
Schalke 3-1 Red Bull Salzburg
Slovan Liberec 1-2 PAOK Salonika
Fiorentina 5-1 Qarabag
Steaua Bucuresti 1-1 Villarreal
Krasnodar 5-2 Nice
Ajax 1-0 Standard Liege
Shakhtar Donetsk 2-0 Braga
Celta Vigo 2-0 Panathinaikos
Sparta Prague 3-1 Inter Milan
Gent 2-0 Konyaspor
3:05 p.m. ET kickoffs
Manchester United – Zorya
Saint-Etienne – Anderlecht
Genk – Sassuolo
Olympiacos – Apoel Nicosia
Dundalk – Maccabi Tel-Aviv
Fenerbahce – Feyenoord
Athletic Bilbao – Rapid Wien
Austria Wien – Viktoria Plzen
Zenit Saint-Petersburg – AZ Alkmaar
AS Roma – Astra Giurgiu