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Old 11-04-2017, 06:28 PM   #10
Andi Istiabudi
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Default Re: [UEL] Anderlecht vs Manchester United



PREVIEW: ANDERLECHT V MANCHESTER UNITED

So, Stockholm's in sight... Yes, Manchester United return to continental action on Thursday, as the Reds travel to the Belgian capital of Brussels to take on Anderlecht in the Europa League. This quarter-final, first-leg clash at Constant Vanden Stock Stadium represents a first meeting between the sides in almost 17 years and could prove crucial ahead of the return leg at Old Trafford next week. With next month's final in Sweden now within touching distance, United will be keen to build an advantage here.

When and where can I watch it? The match, which kicks off at 20:05 BST, will be screened live on BT Sport 2 in the UK. Fans can also follow the action with ManUtd.com's live match blog and via the club’s Twitter account, @ManUtd, while MUTV subscribers can tune in to Match Day Live at 19:00 BST for build-up to the game and then live radio commentary, before watching the full 90 minutes from midnight.

What's the early team news? Speaking to MUTV after Sunday's win over Sunderland, Jose Mourinho said he expects Antonio Valencia to be available for selection after the Ecuadorian sat out United's last two games. Valencia was one of seven first-team absentees at the Stadium of Light, alongside David De Gea, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Ashley Young, Juan Mata and captain Wayne Rooney. The boss later explained that while De Gea's hip problem is "not serious", Sergio Romero may retain his place after keeping his ninth clean sheet of the season at the weekend. Mourinho could provide a further injury update during his pre-match press conference on Wednesday, when the squad is set to fly out to Belgium.

How did we get here? Having been denied Champions League qualification by United's Round of 16 opponents FC Rostov, who beat them in the qualifying round, Anderlecht then finished second in Europa League Group C, behind Saint-Etienne, who we beat at the Round of 32 stage. In the first knockout round, Rene Weiler's men saw off Zenit St. Petersburg on away goals, before setting up Thursday's tie with a 2-0 aggregate victory over Cypriot side Apoel Nicosia. United also finished second at the group stage, before beating Saint-Etienne 4-0 on aggregate and getting past Rostov last month. Mourinho's side head into the match buoyed by the 3-0 victory at the Stadium of Light, a result which extended the Reds' unbeaten run in the Premier League to 21 games, while Anderlecht were held to a goalless draw at home to Gent on their most recent domestic outing.

We've met before, right? Yes. And though we've only come up against Anderlecht on six previous occasions, there have been some significant games between the teams. The Belgian side were our first-ever European opponents when United travelled to Brussels in September 1956, but it was the reverse fixture a fortnight later which will live long in the memory. In a game played at Manchester City's Maine Road (due to the absence of floodlights at Old Trafford), the Reds ran out 10-0 winners, with four goals coming from striker Dennis Viollet. After the victory - which remains the biggest in United's history - manager Matt Busby hailed the performance as "the finest exhibition of teamwork I had ever seen from any side either at club or international level". Our most recent encounter came during the Champions League group stages in 2000/01, when a hat-trick from Andy Cole set the tone for an eventual 5-1 win at Old Trafford, before a 2-1 defeat in Belgium a month later.

Who's their danger man? Anderlecht are a team brimming with young, talented footballers and several members of their first-team squad have reportedly attracted interest from English clubs. One such player is 19-year-old Youri Tielemans, a Belgian central midfielder who is already making waves for club and country. Tielemans became the youngest Belgian to play in the Champions League in October 2013 and scored three goals in this season’s Europa League group stages, before being given the captain’s armband for both legs of the Round of 32 tie against Zenit. "It's already extraordinary that we have been able to enjoy three seasons of such talent," Anderlecht’s sporting director Herman van Holsbeeck admitted in January, and it appears there’s plenty more to come from the youngster. Elsewhere, look out for striker Lukasz Teodorczyk; the Polish frontman has scored a hatful of goals since joining the club on loan from Dynamo Kiev last summer, including five in the Europa League.

Who else is in action? There are three other quarter-final ties taking place on Thursday evening, all of which also kick off at 20:05 BST...

Ajax v Schalke
Celta Vigo v Genk
Lyon v Besiktas

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