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Old 19-04-2017, 09:30 AM   #5
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Default Re: [UEL] Manchester United vs Anderlecht

Preview: Manchester United v Anderlecht

A rapid return match...
That's right, Manchester United are back in continental competition on Thursday evening, just one week after travelling to Belgium for this Europa League quarter-final against Anderlecht. An away goal scored by Henrikh Mkhitaryan during the first leg in Brussels means the Reds hold the advantage in the tie, despite Leander Dendoncker's late equaliser at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium levelling the score at 1-1. With a semi-final spot in reach, Jose Mourinho's men will be determined to finish the job on home soil.

When and where can I watch it?
The game, 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'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 exclusive build-up and then live radio commentary, before watching the full 90 minutes from midnight.

Be there to cheer on the Reds...
Tickets for Thursday's game are still available with all seats for Under 16s priced at just £10. See for all the essential booking information.

Any early team news?
Zlatan Ibrahimovic could make a return to the starting line-up after coming off the bench for the final eight minutes of United's 2-0 win over Chelsea. The Reds' prolific no.9 was rested after admitting to feeling tired following the first leg against Anderlecht and Mourinho reserved special praise for the Swede's replacement, Marcus Rashford, as well as Sunday's other scorer Ander Herrera and centre-back pairing Eric Bailly and Marcos Rojo. Sergio Romero could feature in goal behind them, having already made eight Europa League appearances this season. The boss said last week that injured defenders Phil Jones and Chris Smalling are likely to remain unavailable until "mid-May" while Juan Mata's return date is estimated to be even later following his recent groin surgery. Mourinho may provide another update on his squad during the pre-match press conference on Wednesday afternoon.

What's happened since the last meeting?
Well, as we mentioned above, the Reds secured a superb victory over the weekend, beating Premier League leaders and strong title favourites Chelsea at Old Trafford. Mourinho's men produced a brilliant display, arguably the team's best of the season so far, to stay in the hunt for a top-four finish. As for Anderlecht, Les Mauves took another step towards the Belgian league title with a narrow 1-0 victory at KV Oostende on Sunday, thanks to a second-half strike from captain Sofiane Hanni. Both sides, then, should be buoyant for Thursday's meeting in Manchester.

Who's the man in the middle? Spanish official Alberto Undiano Mallenco will take charge of the contest, alongside fellow countrymen Raul Cabanero and Diego Barbero Sevilla. Mallenco has refereed 16 La Liga fixtures in 2016/17, as well as two Europa League clashes, most recently Genk's all-Belgian affair against Gent in March. In his 25 matches across all competitions, he's shown an average of five yellow cards per game.

Remind me... what's the state of play in the other quarter-final ties? The other second-leg games will also be played at 20:05 BST on Thursday evening, as follows with the first-leg scores in brackets:

Besiktas (1) v Lyon (2)
Genk (2) v Celta Vigo (3)
Schalke (0) v Ajax (2)

When will the draw for the next round take place? If United go through, you'll want to know the semi-final pairings will be pulled out of UEFA's glass bowls at 12:00 BST (13:00 local time) in Switzerland this Friday, 21 April.

Have the Reds reached the semi-finals of this competition before? Yes, United progressed to the penultimate stage of the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, one of the Europa League's forerunners, in 1964/65. Having seen off Djurgardens, Borussia Dortmund and Everton in the earlier rounds, Matt Busby's men beat Strasbourg 5-0 on aggregate in the quarter-finals after finishing the English football season as league champions. Next came a fascinating semi-final tie against Hungarian outfit Ferencvaros with the Reds winning 3-2 at home and losing 1-0 in the return game, but then having to contest a play-off as the away goals rule had yet to be introduced. United were eventually defeated 2-1 but that remains the club's best run in the competition. The distinctive silverware on offer is therefore the only major honour to have eluded the Old Trafford trophy room - could that be changed this year?

Did you know? The away leg and play-off from that aforementioned 1965 semi-final against Ferencvaros are the only competitive matches that United have ever played in the calendar month of June.
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