Manchester United became the first English club to make it to the last eight of this season’s Europa League. The Red Devils came from behind in the second half to defeat Austrian side LASK 2-1 at Old Trafford Wednesday, winning the two- leg tie by a final score of 7-1.
LASK took the lead in the 55th minute with a spectacular goal from Philipp Wiesinger, the first time United had conceded at Old Trafford in this Europa League season. The lead however was short lived as Jesse Lingard equalized for the home side just two minutes later. United clinched victory in the 88th minute when French substitute Anthony Martial found the back of the net for his fourth goal in the Europa League.
Having a 5-0 lead over LASK heading into leg two enabled Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to make wholesale changes to the starting lineup. Nine changes were made to United’s lineup that closed out the EPL season with a 2-0 win over Leicester City. The inexperience seemed to show in the first half as United couldn’t register a single shot on target. On the other hand, LASK played like a team with no pressure on them because quite frankly they had such a huge hole there was nothing to lose. Andres Andrade hit the woodwork while Marko Raguz was thwarted by a tremendous save from United’s Sergio Romero.
With so many new players it was an opportunity for back-up players to make an impact that would capture the manager’s attention. In the end though it was the regulars who United have depended upon all season that got them the victory. Juan Mata was the catalyst for both of United’s tallies sending Lingard through on goal for the equalizer. The Spaniard then linked up brilliantly with Martial who side footed a shot through the legs of Schlager in the LASK goal.
Through to the quarter-finals United’s focus now shifts to Copenhagen who United will face in the next round after the Danish squad beat Istanbul Basaksehir 3-0. United will have the rest of the week to get ready for this year’s runner-up in the Danish Superliga. Leg one will be played Monday from Cologne, Germany. (JSL)