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Full-time: Manchester United 1-0 Zorya Luhansk

  • Hosts kickstart their Europa League campaign with a drab victory in front of a reduced crowd at Old Trafford
  • United were hugely underwhelming in the first half, but broke the deadlock 20 minutes from time when substitute Wayne Rooney's miscued volley allowed Zlatan Ibrahimovic to beat Oleksiy Shevchenko with a close-range header
  • Marcus Rashford rattled the crossbar with a ferocious half-volley before the break
  • Jose Mourinho's side lie third in Group A after Fenerbahce edged past Feyenoord in Istanbul
  • Southampton were held to goalless draw by Israeli champions Hapoel Be'er Sheva in Group K
  • Dundalk achieved the first ever Irish victory in the group stage of a major European club competition after birthday boy Ciaran Kilduff's goal secured 1-0 win over Maccabi Tel Aviv at Oriel Park
  • Who are Zorya Luhansk?
Zlatan Ibrahimovic

That is all for this particular blog, thanks for joining us. Be sure to check back in with IBTimes UK for post-match reaction. We will also be providing live coverage of the Premier League and Ryder Cup across the weekend.

Goodbye for now.

Zorya, who were by no means disgraced on the big stage tonight, go bottom of the group before the visit of Feyenoord. They must now switch their focus back to domestic matters ahead of a big top-of-the-table clash against Shakhtar Donetsk on Sunday.

So United kickstart their Europa League campaign with a rather unconvincing victory at Old Trafford. Rooney's second-half introduction actually did have the desired effect in the end, although there was more than a touch of fortune about that 'assist' for Ibrahimovic that was actually just a miscued volley.

Wayne Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Fenerbahce beat Feyenoord 1-0 tonight thanks to Emmanuel Emenike's first-half goal, meaning that Mourinho's side lie third in Group A. They travel to Istanbul on 3 November, but first up on the horizon before next week's international break is a Premier League clash against struggling Stoke City.


Manchester United 1-0 Zorya Luhansk

Rojo gives away a free-kick deep into added time. A long ball into the box is cleared away by Fellaini and Petryak hacks wildly over from the rebound.

Three minutes of stoppage time have been signalled by the fourth official.

Pogba drags a hopeful right-footed shot well wide.

An uncharacteristically clumsy foul from Forster leads to a curled Ibrahimovic free-kick that Shevchenko gets down low to save.

Kamenyuka is booked four a foul on Rashford.

Zorya go in search of a late equaliser as Paulinho crosses from the left. Karavaev gets ahead of Rojo but is unable to generate any real power on his header to trouble Romero.

United win another corner and an attempted volley bounces off Fellaini's shin and over.

Excellent defending from Sivakov to block Ibrahimovic's goal-bound flick almost off the line. It wouldn't have counted anyway as Martial failed to stop the ball going out of play before providing his cross.

Fellaini concedes a free-kick in a dangerous position, but substitute Lipartia can only send his effort well over.

Artem Gordiyenko comes on for Chaykovskyi.

Zorya are unable to make a brief period of pressure count. Vernydub responds by introducing Georgian midfielderJaba Lipartia in place of 35-year-old Ljubenovic.

Mourinho makes a double change, sending on Ashley Young and Martial in place of Fosu-Mensah and Mata.

There has also been a goal at Oriel Park, where Dundalk lead Maccabi Tel Aviv 1-0 courtesy of a goal from Ciaran Kilduff. The Irish striker celebrates his 28th birthday today.


United finally break the deadlock with just over 20 minutes remaining. Fosu-Mensah's cross from the right is volleyed into the ground by Rooney and Ibrahimovic, without a goal in his last four matches, gets up above Zorya captain Kamenyuka to nod home from close range.

A rather fortuitous assist from the substitute there.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Wayne Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Goal: Manchester United 1-0 Zorya Luhansk (Zlatan Ibrahimovic)

After 66 minutes, we finally have a shot on target. After United fail to adequately clear a Zorya free-kick, Paulinho bends an effort around Fellaini and Romero dives to push it away from goal.

Rooney now enters the fray in place of Lingard.

Bailly, who produced a very high foot on Ljubenovic in the first half, repeats the trick on Paulinho and is duly shown a yellow card.

Rooney is preparing to come on for United.

After a couple of disappointing crosses, Fellaini wins the ball back for United with an impressive show of strength in midfield. Pogba then looks to thread a low diagonal pass through to Rashford, but Sobol does brilliantly to intercept on the slide.

Fine defending from perhaps Zorya's most exciting Shakhtar loanee.

Zorya make the first substitution of the evening with close to 60 minutes on the clock. Brazilian forward Paulinho replaces Kulach in a straight swap up front.

Sivakov gets a flee in his ear for a foul on Ibrahimovic. Fosu-Mensah then shows good determination to make headway down that right-hand flank, but Lingard's cross from the byline is too close to Shevchenko.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Fellaini, who avoids a yellow card for appearing to bring down the faster Petryak, sees a hopeful shot easily charged down by Sobol.

Zorya clear Mata's subsequent corner and burst forward with pace. A promising move breaks down when Ljubenovic asks too much of Karavaev.

Rooney emerges from the bench for his first warm-up. You imagine we will see his introduction sooner rather than later.

Desperately poor play from Rojo and again Zorya look to punish United's sloppiness. Ljubenovic just fails to make contact with a dangerous cross from Karavaev.

A lacklustre Pogba concedes possession cheaply and watches on as Sobol brings Zorya forward. The left-back finds Petryak before being flagged for offside as he collects a return pass.

The second half is underway. No changes from either side at the break.

Let's hope for more excitement.

Mourinho cut an understandably frustrated figure during that first half and, in truth, he has looked rather irate from the outset. Assistant Rui Faria, the fourth official and Petryak, whom he accused of playacting, have all borne the brunt of that anger.

Jose Mourinho

Is everyone still awake? We wouldn't blame you at all if you had nodded off during what was a mostly tedious opening 45 minutes played amid a drab atmosphere at the Theatre of Dreams.

Rashford's powerful half-volley aside, United have lacked a spark and are yet to cause Shevchenko too many problems.

To their credit, Zorya have defended stoutly for the most part and looked to pose a threat on the counter early on. Vernydub will be rightly happy with his side's application so far.


Manchester United 0-0 Zorya Luhansk

United look to cause trouble with another searching cross, but Fellaini hesitates and the ball goes clear.

No added time whatsoever here and the referee blows his whistle.

Lingard produces a fresh-air kick, but United continue to attack as Pogba finds the overlapping Rojo with a lovely pass.

The much-maligned Argentine's cross is stellar, but defender Rafael Forster diverts Lingard's header behind with his knee. Fellaini heads agonisingly over from the resulting corner.

Jesse Lingard

Sobol wins possession back for Zorya in their own half but soon runs into trouble. Pogba then whips in a glorious cross towards Mata, who is unable to take the sting out of it and heads over.

Half-hearted appeals for a penalty from Pogba are unsurprisingly dismissed. That didn't look like handball.

Chaykovskyi slides in rashly on Ibrahimovic and is quickly penalised despite not appearing to make much contact. The Swede then drives his powerful free-kick straight into the wall.

Mata tries to pick out the forward run of Pogba, but Shevchenko comes off his line to collect. Nearly half an hour played at a rather subdued Old Trafford and it is still goalless.

Juan Mata
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Eric Bailly gives away a needless free-kick with a reckless and painful high boot on Ljubenovic. Unfortunately, Zorya's delivery leaves a lot to be desired and the set-piece is easily dealt with.

Ibrahimovic receives a ticking off for a late foul on Petryak, who appears to be getting under Mourinho's skin a little over on that touchline. The United boss looks to be in heated discussion with fourth official Amihay Yehoshua Mozes.

Jose Mourinho


Mata's corner from the left is helped on towards Rashford by Pogba and the England striker, omitted from today's Three Lions U21 squad ahead of a near certain recall to senior duty for 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Slovenia, thunders a blistering half-volley against the crossbar.

So unlucky.

The hosts spark into life as Ibrahimovic's long-range drive is deflected by Grechyshkin and sends goalkeeper Oleksiy Shevchenko scrambling.

The referee fails to spot a clear foul from Petryak on Mata and Zorya win a corner which is cleared. They are certainly posing a danger on the counter during the opening 20 minutes at Old Trafford.

United are yet to really get going.

Lingard is thwarted again and Zorya instigate another swift counter. Ljubenovic combines well with dangerman Petryak and Oleksandr Karavaev takes a heavy touch before producing a front-post cross towards striker Vladyslav Kulach that Chris Smalling has to be alert to head clear.

Important defending from United's stand-in skipper.

Pogba looks to send Lingard through with an inventive chip, only for Mikhail Sivakov to intercept. Igor Chaykovskyi is now down clutching his ankle in some discomfort after a robust challenge from Ibrahimovic.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

In-form Rashford, who is looking to score for a fourth match in succession, wins United's first corner of the evening. Mata delivers towards Fellaini, whose header sails over the crossbar.

Zorya look to disrupt the established rhythm of this game by launching a productive counter-attack. Sobol releases Ivan Petryak down the left flank and his handy cutback is blazed well over by Serbian midfielder Zeljko Ljubenovic.

An early warning sign?

Pogba collections possession in midfield and switches direction before putting too much power on a sweeping forward pass towards Mata. United, as you might expect, are dominating the early exchanges here.

Israeli referee Orel Grinfeld gets us off and running. United are kicking from left to right in this first half. Zorya don all black kits for what is surely the biggest game in their history.

Kick-off is now just moments away. Old Trafford has a reduced capacity of 55,000 for tonight's match.

The final whistles have sounded around tonight's 18.00 BST kick-offs. Here is a full list of results:



Hapoel Be'er Sheva 0-0 Southampton

Hapoel Be'er Sheva vs Southampton
JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images

Nothing much to report from a stalemate in Israel. The Saints remain top of Group K on goal difference ahead of a trip to Inter Milan, who lost 3-1 to Sparta Prague tonight.


United are not the only Premier League side in European action tonight, of course. Claude Puel's Southampton, who began Group K with a comfortable defeat of Sparta Prague, are currently drawing 0-0 away to Hapoel Be'er Sheva. Less than 15 minutes left to play in that tie at the Turner Stadium.

Hapoel Be'er Sheva vs Southampton
JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images

Dundalk also play against Israeli opposition this evening and host Maccabi Tel Aviv at 20.05 BST. The plucky Irish champions, who so nearly became the first team from the Emerald Isle to reach the group stages of the Champions League, gained a creditable 1-1 draw against AZ Alkmaar a fortnight ago.

Mourinho conceded after last month's draw that he knew very little of Zorya, although that lack of detail seems to have been thoroughly addressed over recent weeks...

"I know [about them] because I watch matches – I watched their match against Fenerbahce, I watched their match against Dynamo Kiev," he said yesterday. "I chose two good ones, two big ones – one at home, one away, against two difficult opponents and now I know what I saw, what I watched, what I analysed. One of my assistants went to watch their game against Fenerbahce live and another one went to the game against Dynamo.

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho analyses win over Leicester City

"So we tried to collect the important information to give to our players, so our players know the way they play, their important players, their style, their philosophy, their dynamics and yes, I think we are prepared."

He added: "The Europa League is a competition Man United isn't normally in, so when these teams have a giant like Man United in front of them, it's a huge moment for them and they come to the game with incredible motivation. This team defends well and they have three attacking players that I used to call 'runners' because they run and counter-attack."

So who exactly are Zorya Luhansk, anyway? You can read IBTimes UK's detailed profile of the 1972 Soviet champions right here....

Zorya, who have finished fourth in the Ukrainian Premier League in each of the past two seasons and currently lie five points behind Shakhtar Donetsk in second, beat FC Vorskla Poltava 2-1 in their adopted home at the Slavutych Arena in Zaporizhia last weekend.

Eduard Sobol, one of many Shakhtar loanees in Vernydub's current squad, returns to the starting XI tonight in place of Yevhen Opanasenko at right-back. Igor Chaykovskiy and Artem Gordienko are also promoted.

Zorya Luhansk: Shevchenko, Sivakov, Chaykovskiy, Kamenyuka, Petriak, Kulach, Forster, Karavaev, Ljubenovic, Grechyshkin, Sobol

Subs: Chuvayev, Sukhotskiy, Gordiyenko, Lipartia, Paulinho, Opanasenko, Checher

As expected, Luke Shaw misses out again tonight after his recovery from a slight groin tear was hampered by an illness that saw him sent home yesterday. Summer signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan is back in training after aggravating a thigh problem in the Manchester derby, although he will not play any part against Zorya either.

Injury-plagued defender Phil Jones remains sidelined with a knee injury, although suggestions that he has suffered a setback have since been challenged.

Captain Wayne Rooney would have been a certainty to start tonight after finally being dropped against Leicester following sustained criticism for a desperately disappointing run of form, although he is only deemed fit enough for the bench after suffering a back injury that prevented him from training on Tuesday.

Wayne Rooney and Ashley Young

"I was completely convinced of playing him [Rooney] tomorrow," said of his skipper. "I'm not sure if I do that because with the situation that you create to him I think he really can't afford to have a performance that is not really good and I am here to protect him and have to analyse the best thing for him. If he is not totally ready for it, I will discuss that with the medical staff."

Rooney is joined as a substitute by Anthony Martial, who has now recovered from concussion and an ankle contusion.

Nice and early team news from United, who show four changes from the side that embarrassed Leicester last Saturday. First-choice goalkeeper David De Gea makes way for deputy Sergio Romero, while full-backs Antonio Valencia and Daley Blind are replaced by Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Marcos Rojo.

Marouane Fellaini partners Paul Pogba in midfield, with Ander Herrera dropping out altogether. Attacking quartet Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, Marcus Rashford and Zlatan Ibrahimovic all retain their places.

Reports from Italy during the week suggested that the latter would likely not play tonight amid suggestions that he had apparently headed to Milan after being given a break.

However, Mourinho confirmed during a pre-match press conference yesterday that he would definitely start.

Manchester United: Romero, Fosu-Mensah, Bailly, Smalling, Rojo, Fellaini, Pogba, Lingard, Mata, Rashford, Ibrahimovic

Subs: Johnstone, Young, Schneiderlin, Carrick, Martial, Memphis, Rooney

Crisis, what crisis?

After provoking widespread panic with a run of three defeats in the span of just eight days that appeared to totally eradicate the positivity that followed a confident start to life under Jose Mourinho, Manchester United have restored a semblance of calm among their fanbase with consecutive wins over Northampton Town and defending Premier League champions Leicester City.

Tonight they are set for an entirely new test, however, as last season's beaten Ukrainian Cup finalists Zorya Luhansk visit Old Trafford in matchday two of the Europa League. The hosts are yet to get off the mark in Europe this season, having suffered a 1-0 defeat to Feyenoord in Rotterdam earlier this month.

Tonny Vilhena
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Yuriy Vernydub's exiled side, meanwhile, got their first ever group stage campaign underway with a 1-1 draw against Fenerbahce in Odessa. Dmytro Hrechyshkin gave them the lead with a lovely long-range strike, although that was eventually cancelled out by a deflected last-gasp goal from Simon Kjaer.

Stay tuned to IBTimes UK for live updates of this Group A clash following kick-off at 20.05 BST.

Before then, we will have previews, injury updates, breaking team news and confirmed lineups...