By Izuchukwu Okosi:
Manchester United continued their hunt for the only major European trophy that still eludes them with a 1-1 draw against FC Rostov in their first leg, round of 16 UEFA Europa League fixture on Thursday night.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored his third goal in the Europa League this season with a left-footed finish, rounding off a nice build-up in the 35th minute after Zlatan Ibrahimovic put the ball across the penalty area.
Nine minutes into the second half, however, Rostov equalised through Aleksandr Bukharov who found some space inside the box and put the ball into the back of the net after a brilliant chest control. Timofey Kalachev provided the assist for Bbukharov’s strike.
Jose Mourinho had complained bitterly about the state of the 15, 840 capacity Stadion Olimp 2 but nonetheless his players went about their business without being under much pressure.
At the Neo GSP Stadium in Nicosia, visitors Anderlecht defeated APOEL 1-0.
Anderlecht scored in the 29th minute through Nicolae Claudiu who showed good awareness inside the box as he latched on to a brilliant pass from Alexandru Chipchu and fired a first-time shot into the bottom left corner.
Still on Thursday night, hosts FC Copenhangen beat Ajax 2-1 at the Telia Parken.
Ajax and Copenhagen had met on four previous occasions before Thursday night’s game with the Danes coming out on top in two of those matches with Ajax recording only one victory.
The home side went ahead as early as the first minute when Rasmus Falk Jensen showed good composure inside the box to fire a first-time shot into the bottom left corner.
Youssef Toutouh almost made it 2-0 for Copenhagen still in the first 45 minutes but his shot at the edge of the box flew just wide of the left post.
Ajax however responded 13 minutes before the half-time break when Kasper Dolberg dispatched a low shot into the middle of the goal after Davy Klassen’s lofted cross into the box.
Andreas Cornelius then managed to convert the ball off a header to put Copenhagen ahead in the 60th minute.