Sergio Romero

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Man United, Wolves seal key Europa League wins

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Manchester United and Wolverhampton Wanderers both secured narrow wins away from home in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday.

[ MORE: Europa League schedule, table

United beat Partizan Belgrade 1-0 in Serbia to stay top of Group L as a win in their next game, at home against Partizan, will seal their qualification to the knockout stage. Anthony Martial‘s penalty kick was enough to get the win in Belgrade in a tough environment as an inexperienced United side struggled to get going in attack.

As for Wolves, they fought back from 1-0 down to beat Slovan Bratislava 2-1 in Slovakia as they breathed new life into their Europa League campaign in Group K. Nuno Espirito Santo‘s men now have two of their final three group games at home and will fancy their chances of extending their first European journey in almost 40 years.

Here’s a look at both games, with video and analysis of a very decent night for both clubs in Europe.


Partizan Belgrade 0-1 Man United

Man United should have led early but Scott McTominay nodded wide after a great free kick from Juan Mata. Partizan battled their way back into the game as the heavy pitch didn’t suit Martial and others.

Lingard hit the post in the first half as United looked dangerous on the break, but Partizan’s top goalscorer Sadiq also smashed the post as the game developed into an open encounter. Asano went close with an effort which flew wide but Brandon Williams won a penalty kick at the end of the first half which Martial dispatched to make it 1-0.

In the second half Seydouba Soumah went close as Marcus Rashford and Daniel James came on for the final 30 minutes. Williams looked to have handled the ball but the referee waved away calls from the home fans as they continued to appeal for penalty kicks.

Sadiq flashed a shot wide as Partizan pushed a late leveller but Sergio Romero saved Asano’s effort and Bibras Natcho fired just over as a young United side held on for a big win away from home. The win was United’s first victory away from home in 12 games in all competitions.


Slovan Bratislava 1-2 Wolves

Wolves went 1-0 down early as Andraz Sporar put Slovan ahead, as he raced clear and smashed home at the near post past Rui Patricio.

A poor start for Wolves in Slovakia.

The home side were fairly comfortable until the final 30 minutes when Wolves equalized as Romain Saiss had a shot from distance which somehow went in.

Slovan’s goalkeeper Dominik Greif will not want to see this one again.

After that it was all Wolves and they took the lead from the penalty spot just five minutes after equalizing.

Jimenez was pushed to the ground in the box and the Mexican striker picked himself up to slot home the winner as Willy Boly came close to adding another.

Substitute Diogo Jota was sent off late on as he picked up a second yellow for a foul on Slovan captain Vasil Bozhikov, but Wolves held on for a crucial victory in their quest to reach the knockout rounds.

Pogba, De Gea miss Man United training

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It doesn’t seem like either David De Gea or Paul Pogba will play in the UEFA Europa League for Manchester United on Thursday.

Neither stars were training with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s side on Wednesday, ahead of the Red Devils playing at Partizan Belgrade.

It is likely both will be saved for their Premier League clash at Norwich City on Sunday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET online via NBCSports.com), with Pogba in a race against time to be ready.

Pogba has missed United’s last three games after a reoccurrence of foot and ankle issues, as he travelled to Dubai over the international break to try and get himself fit as soon as possible.

De Gea wasn’t expected to play against Liverpool on Sunday after suffering a thigh injury playing for Spain, but the goalkeeper rushed back and will likely be rested with Sergio Romero set to start on Thursday.

Solskjaer’s injury woes are easing a little with Jesse Lingard returning, while Anthony Martial and Aaron Wan-Bissaka played against Liverpool to give the Red Devils a boost.

Luke Shaw and Nemanja Matic are closing in on a return from injury, while Diogo Dalot, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Eric Bailly and now Axel Tuanzebe are out.

With four-straight away games coming up in all competitions, United have reached a pivotal stage of their season after their worst PL start for 30 years.

They play Partizan (Europa League), Norwich, Chelsea (League Cup) and Bournemouth in the next 10 days, and after a morale-boosting performance and draw against Liverpool, Solskjaer is hoping the treatment room continues to empty and confidence continues to build.

Pogba, De Gea ruled out for Man United v. Liverpool

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According to our partners at Sky Sports, Manchester United’s David De Gea and Paul Pogba will not play against Liverpool this Sunday (Watch live, 11:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

This is far from ideal for a United side already low in confidence after a dreadful start to the season.

De Gea injured his groin while on international duty with Spain on Tuesday as he injured an abductor while kicking a ball against Sweden in a EURO 2020 qualifier. He is expected to have a full assessment in Manchester on Thursday but isn’t expected to be available to play against Liverpool.

As for Pogba, he suffered a reoccurrence of his foot injury before the international break and has been training in Dubai on his own during the past week to try and speed up his recovery.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has already been without Pogba, Luke Shaw, Anthony Martial and Aaron Wan-Bissaka for large chunks of the season so far, as Man United sit in 12th place in the Premier League table.

“No chance,” Solskjaer said of Pogba’s availability for the weekend. “Paul had an injury, then came back, worked really hard, played a couple of games. Maybe played through the pain barrier. We had a scan after the Arsenal game and he needed a few weeks rest in the boot. Hopefully he won’t be too long but he won’t make this game, no.”

Not having their star goalkeeper and central midfielder available for this clash with bitter rivals Liverpool is another huge setback for Solskjaer, as Sergio Romero and Fred will likely start in their place.

Martial, Shaw and Wan-Bissaka are all expected to miss the game against Liverpool too as Solskjaer will at least have a valid excuse if the Premier League leaders give United a hiding on Sunday.

De Gea limps off for Spain ahead of Man Utd-Liverpool tilt

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Here’s the good news for Manchester United supporters: David De Gea played incredibly well for Spain in its EURO qualifier on Tuesday as La Furia Roja clinched a place in EURO 2020.

The bad news? The performance was truncated, with De Gea limping off the pitch and replaced by Chelsea’s Kepa Arrizabalaga in the 60th minute.

[ MORE: EURO qualifying wrap ]

De Gea appeared to injure himself while attempting a goal kick of all things, as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be wondering what fresh hell awaits him next.

Perhaps that’s simply the fact that Liverpool visits Old Trafford on Sunday in a match that Solskjaer previously said was perhaps ideal for his reeling Red Devils.

Solskjaer would turn to Sergio Romero should De Gea been unable to play at the weekend. Lee Grant is United’s third goalkeeper with Dean Henderson on loan to Sheffield United.

United was already going to need a lot of help to beat back the unbeaten Reds.

Solskjaer upset after Man Utd let-off, praises Greenwood

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Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer knows he got away with one on Wednesday, when his side’s dominant performance but sloppy finishing nearly cost it a berth in the League Cup’s fourth round.

Mason Greenwood scored again, but the 17-year-old’s goal was answered by that of a 16-year-old as League One’s Rochdale took the mighty Red Devils to penalties at Old Trafford.

[ RECAP: Man Utd 1-1 (5-3 pens) Grimsby Town ]

Solskjaer loved Greenwood, but didn’t love his young team’s response to taking the 68th minute lead, as Luke Matheson got one past Sergio Romero.

“We go 1-0 up in many games and today it’s again,” he added. “Go 1-0 up and you think ‘go on then’. It’s the key now and it’s a learning curve for these boys. We need to go for the second. At this club you don’t just sit back and hope that’s enough. If you settle for good enough that’s not what we want.”

United out shot Rochdale 31-6, and you have to appreciate Solskjaer holding up the banner of United’s history and expectations at such a relatively low time in its talent.

Greenwood scored in United’s Europa League defeat of Astana but missed Saturday’s loss to West Ham with tonsillitis.

He returned to the pitch and delivered the goods on Wednesday, putting two of his four shots on target and providing five key passes. From The Manchester Evening News:

“He’s got two great feet,” Solskjaer said. “And scored the penalty with his right. It must be a nightmare for defenders with him one-on-one in the box. He can go both ways which, for me, is fantastic. You can just see that he’s got quality. He will get his share of games. He’s young and we have to allow him to grow.”

It’s Greenwood’s second goal in a very young and promising career. Surely, more are to come. How long before he’s pressing Marcus Rashford for more meaningful playing time?