Manchester United 1-0 Zorya Luhansk: Zlatan Ibrahimovic strikes to claim all three points

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored the only goal of the game as a lacklustre Manchester United edged past Ukrainian side Zorya Luhansk.

The towering forward converted a close range header to claim all three points, kickstarting the Red Devils’ Europa League campaign after their calamitous loss to Feyenoord in matchday one.

It was the visitors who managed the first clear chance on goal, Ljubenovic firing over from 16 yards after Petriak cut the ball back to him.

But United pressed forward to exert their home dominance, coming close through a Fellaini header and Ibrahimovic seeing a strike deflected past the post.

From the resultant corner, Pogba’s poor header fell to Rashford, and he thundered a strike which crashed against the crossbar, in what was the best chance of the game.

Despite that chance though, the hosts were struggling to create much against a solid Zorya defence.

They were staying rigid at the back and breaking with pace and directness, although failing to create many of their own chances.

United came close again, but Mata couldn’t keep his powerful header down from Pogba’s cross, before Rafael blocked two good chances from Lingard.

But they couldn’t break the deadlock, and Zorya came out of the traps faster following the restart.

Petryak wasted a good chance when played in on the edge of the area, and Ljubenovic was just inches away from connecting with a cross which surely would have ended up in the back of the net.

United managed to grow back into the game, but aside from a Pogba pass which was intercepted as Lingard looked to run onto it, they failed to create any chances of note.

To react to the Red Devils’ struggles in the final third, Mourinho brought on Wayne Rooney.

And the veteran forward had an almost instant impact – although he can hardly take much praise for his assist.

A cross from Fosu-Mensah found Rooney on the edge of the penalty area, but his attempted shot came off his knee and bounced in the air.

However, Ibrahimovic refused to give up on the bouncing ball, heading home from close range past a defender and the goalkeeper.

It was a goal which all-but wrapped up the result, but Zorya continued to press as they sensed weakness in the United backline.

Paulinho forced a save from Romero with a header after a stinging cross only just evaded a mass of bodies in the box.

But United defended deep and held on, ensuring the left Old Trafford with three points to their name.


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