Paul Pogba came off the bench to fire Manchester United into the Europa League quarter-finals, beating AC Milan 1-0 at the San Siro to complete a 2-1 aggregate win on Thursday night.
The Frenchman, who had missed the previous 10 games with a thigh injury, made an instant impact after replacing Marcus Rashford at the break to score the crucial away goal as United joined Arsenal in Friday’s draw for the last eight.
Like Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic came off the bench in the second half to face his former club but the Swede was denied with a header from close range by Dean Henderson during an open second period.
United used all their experience to wind down the clock and might have doubled their lead on the night when Pogba’s header from Dan James went narrowly over, but one goal would prove enough.
AC Milan: G. Donnarumma (6), Kalulu (5), Kjaer (6), Tomori (6), Hernandez (6), Kessie (6), Meite (5), Saelemaekers (6), Calhanoglu (7), Krunic (5), Castillejo (6).
Subs: Dalot (6), Ibrahimovic (6), Brahim Diaz (6).
Man Utd: Henderson (7), Lindelof (8), Maguire (7), Wan-Bissaka (7), Shaw (7), McTominay (7), Fred (8), James (6), Fernandes (6), Rashford (5), Greenwood (6).
Subs: Pogba (8).
Man of the match: Fred.
Pogba made the difference, while Henderson produced a big save to thwart Ibrahimovic but it was the way Fred wrestled control of the midfield that ensured United turned a lacklustre first-half display into a highly polished victory.
The Brazilian helped his side come to life, bossing Kessie and Soualiho Meite in a stadium where they’ve often had a bit of heartache in the past.
In eight trips to the San Siro, this is only their second win – and Solskjaer showed his delight with Fred’s performance at the final whistle in what could prove a big moment in United’s season.
Pogba inspires famous San Siro night
When failing to win the first leg at home, United had been eliminated from six of their previous eight ties in European competition, but Pogba ensured that record wasn’t extended during a controlled and disciplined second-half display.
This competition provided United’s last silverware in 2016/17, when Jose Mourinho added to that season’s EFL Cup triumph after Louis Van Gaal had masterminded FA Cup success the previous campaign.
They are United’s only major trophies since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013 and, while determined to win his first silverware in charge, Solskjaer claimed prior to Thursday’s second leg there was more to progress than cup success.
There was little intensity from his side during a lacklustre opening 45 minutes, however, as Milan carved open the best of the first-half chances. Alexis Saelemaekers shot from distance to draw a simple save from Henderson, while Rade Krunic volleyed wide Saelemaekers’ cross on the stroke of half-time.
Solskjaer’s men had just one shot on target before the interval, a speculative effort from Fred that was easily gathered by Gianluigi Donnarumma while James went down inside the box under a fair challenge from Fikayo Tomori.
Quality with the final ball was lacking for United, and Solskjaer acted swiftly at the restart with Pogba replacing Rashford, who was struggling with an ankle injury. The move paid instant dividends.
James saw a shot blocked to start a penalty-box melee in which United kept their cool, with Fred’s pressure on Franck Kessie leading the ball to be pushed onto Pogba. Five yards out but at an acute angle, he shaped to cross only to shimmy and strike past Gianluigi Donnarumma at the near post.
It was clear Milan boss Stefano Pioli needed to change something and he summoned Ibrahimovic from the bench in the 65th minute. It posed a new problem for the United defence, who were thankful to a crucial block from Victor Lindelof to deny Kessie at the near post.
Hakan Calhanoglu had provided the cross, and the Turkey midfielder continued to provide Milan with a creative spark as his next delivery was met by Ibrahimovic at the far post, rising above Luke Shaw, and forcing a good one-handed save from Henderson.
Milan huffed and puffed in the closing stages, but Henderson was again alert when Theo Hernandez’s cross deflected goalwards off Scott McTominay as United secured an impressive away win, their third in succession against Italian opposition in European competition.
Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told BT Sport: “I’m very happy of course. We’ve come through a very difficult tie against a fantastic club, a very good team and we’ve overcome some difficulties.
“You give yourself a chance to win a game of football when you keep a clean sheet. Dean Henderson made a fantastic save towards the end and I’m very pleased with everyone’s defending. We know the back six, with the likes of Scott McTominay and Fred, always give everything.
“There are many good teams left but you’ve got to be spot on. It’s a cup competition and anything can happen. But we are through and we feel confident.”
On goalscorer Paul Pogba’s performance: “We’ve missed Paul. He’s been out for almost two months and any team would miss a player like Paul Pogba. He was just getting into his best form. He is very important for us and he’s going to give us a big boost. He makes a very, very big difference to us.”
On facing Leicester in the FA Cup this weekend: “We are looking forward to Sunday, it’s another quarter-final, so will just dust ourselves down and go again.”
Shaw: We were awful first half
Manchester United defender Luke Shaw told BT Sport: “Obviously, we’re very happy we’re through. I’ll be honest, and the lads and staff would agree, we weren’t good at all especially first half we were awful.
“The first 10-15 minutes, we started well, kept control of the ball but it was like a switch – we turned off, kept giving away balls, bringing pressure on ourselves and we were lucky.
“Second half it always helps to have a world class player like Paul (Pogba) to make a difference and he did that. But we know we need to be better than tonight.
“It’s a very good win and the positive is that we are through, we have players coming back and the squad looks better.”
Pogba makes difference – Opta stats
- Manchester United have progressed from each of their last two knockout ties with Milan in European competition, having been eliminated in each of the four ties beforehand (European Cup in 1957-58 and 1968-69, Champions League in 2004-05 and 2006-07).
- Manchester United have only lost one of their last 20 knockout stage matches in the UEFA Europa League (W12 D7), a 1-2 defeat to Sevilla in 2019-20 semi-final.
- Milan have lost five of their last six home games against English teams in European competition (W1), after going unbeaten in each of their first 13 such matches (W8 D5).
- Dean Henderson has kept 11 clean sheets in just 18 appearances for Man Utd in all competitions this season, one more than David de Gea has registered in 29 games (10).
- Man Utd’s Paul Pogba has scored in each of his last two away games versus Milan (also for Juve in April 2016) – while this was just his second ever goal as a substitute for the Red Devils in what was his 31st such appearance (also scored v Brighton in Sept 2020).
- Man Utd’s Harry Maguire has played more minutes than any other Premier League player in all competitions this season (3855 mins), with no Utd player making more clearances (5) or interceptions (5) versus Milan tonight.
The Europa League quarter-final and semi-final draw will take place from 12pm UK time on Friday, March 19. You will be able to follow both draws with Sky Sports.
Manchester United travel to face Leicester in the FA Cup quarter-finals at 5pm on Sunday. Fiorentina host AC Milan at the same time.
VIDEO: Bullets rent air as hoodlums attempt to overrun police station in Orlu
Despite the build-up of security in states in the South East, hoodlums whom the federal government claim to be members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and its security outfit – the Eastern Security Network (ESN) – seem to be more endearing.
In this video monitored by, the hoodlums stormed a police station in Orlu, one of the biggest towns in South east Nigeria, engaging the officers on duty in a gun duel.
The gunmen, however, were subjected to the super gunpower of the security operatives after reinforcement was sent in from the.
Breaking: What God told me about Sunday Igboho, Nnamdi Kanu – Primate Ayodele
The Leader of INRI Evangelical Spiritual Church, Primate Elijah Ayodele, has revealed what God told him about the Yoruba Fighter Freedom, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho and the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu.
The cleric said that God revealed to him that Nigeria will break up, but not through Nnamdi Kanu or Sunday Igboho.
The cleric said some powerful forces like the spirit of Nigeria’s nationalist; Abubakar Tafawa-Balewa would lead to Nigeria’s peaceful break-up, Daily Post reports.
He warned that if Nigerians fail to appease Tafa-Balewa’s spirit and these other powerful forces, the country will break up peacefully.
Primate Ayodele, however, urged the government not to ignore the cries of IPOB and those agitating for the Oduduwa Republic because that would also lead to the country’s disintegration.
According to Ayodele: “The spirit of Igbo is no more in Nigeria, and since their spirit is no more in Nigeria, the country will break peacefully.
“Some people like Tafa Balewa were killed, the spirit of Tafawa Balewa is fighting, why will we not appease his spirit? Instead, we say Nigeria should be in unity; we can’t be in peace or unity again.
“Nigeria will just be facing one problem to another. There will always be problems and that is the fact.
“We need to realize that Nigeria needs many prayers to survive this situation and for sustainability. The moment we ignore God, then the country will collapse.
“It’s not this IPOB, Oduduwa, that will break Nigeria. There is a powerful force that will break the country if we don’t appease it.
“If we don’t do what is necessary, Nigeria will break. Many people don’t want it, but when you go to the divine realm, do you know what is going on there? Many people have died as a result of injustice in Nigeria, so what is going to happen is that Nigeria will break peacefully without fighting or making noise.
“IPOB are making points, the people of Oduduwa Republic are also making points, and if the government neglects these, it will happen suddenly.”
“Nnamdi Kanu is not the person who will actualize this, not that he will die, but the thing will happen in a surprising way.
“Everybody will keep quiet, but some forces will stand to be fighting it, saying no. Two things are involved: either Nigeria is restructured, which we know will not favour many people or break up. It’s either we go back to true federalism, or we break up; any of these issues is going to be better for the country, so said by God not by man.
“Another thing is that only God can stop Nigeria from breaking up; the pathfinders of this country are tired of our co-existence.
📺VIDEO: How Pastor Adeboye’s Son Truly Died – Medical Officer
A nurse based in the United Kingdom has alleged that undetected medical conditions must have led to the death of the son of Pastor E.A Adeboye of the RCCG family.
Recall that Pastor Dare Adeboye recently passed away in his sleep in Akwa Ibom where he was based with his family. He was 42 and had three kids.
The UK nurse and vlogger named Summer Aku alleged that his demise might have been caused by a disease of the heart. According to her, regular exercises and medical check-ups are needed for adults whose activities have remained limited due to age.
There are indications that Sudden arrhythmic death syndrome (SADS) might have resulted in the demise of Pastor Dare. Sudden arrhythmic death syndrome (SADS) is a sudden unexpected death of adolescents and adults, mainly during sleep. One relatively common type is known as Brugada syndrome.
Meanwhile, these are just mere speculations are the family hasn’t provided many details about the death of their son. It is not clear that an autopsy will be conducted and made public.
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