Celta Vigo’s hopes in the Europa League semi-finals were dented by Marcus Rashford’s free kick as Manchester United won the first leg at Balaidos 1-0.
Only three Celta players kept their places from last weekend’s 3-0 defeat to Athletic Bilbao, while Spaniards David de Gea and Ander Herrera started for United, managed by former Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho.
The Galicians had lost three on the bounce going into Thursday’s game, and they were left to rue an early miss from Daniel Wass, who had peeled off ex-Villarreal defender Eric Bailly for a free header at De Gea’s far post but sent it wide.
Their opponents had drawn twice in succession, and Rashford had a curling effort from outside the box tipped over by Sergio Alvarez.
The chances kept coming for United as Jesse Lingard scuffed a sliding finish from point-blank range into Sergio’s gloves, before the goalkeeper denied Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s acute shot from a similar distance.
Lingard then went even closer with a volley from near the penalty spot, which was straight at Sergio.
Iago Aspas, known to United audiences due to his past association with rivals Liverpool, glanced a header just wide at the other end, while Pione Sisto’s looping shot was tipped over by De Gea.
Sergio, on the other hand, could only watch Rashford’s outswinging free kick fly past him and another from one-time Madrid and Barcelona target Paul Pogba, which almost caught the custodian off his line.
Celta Vigo 0-1 Manchester United
Celta Vigo: Sergio; Mallo (Beauvue 90), Cabral, Roncaglia, Jonny; Radoja, Pablo Hernandez; Aspas, Wass (Jozabed 74), Sisto; Guidetti
Manchester United: Romero; Valencia, Bailly, Blind, Darmian; Fellaini, Herrera, Pogba; Lingard, Rashford (Martial 80), Mkhitaryan (Young 78, Smalling 89)
Referee: Karasev (RUS)
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