Fri | Aug 18, 2017

Man United advance in Europa League

Published:Friday | December 9, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Manchester United’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic (right) battles for the ball with Zorya’s Rafael Forster during the Europa League Group A in Odessa, Ukraine yesterday. Manchester United won 2-0.

ODESSA, Ukraine, (AP):

Manchester United won for the first time in 10 away games in Europe and advanced to the Europa League knockout stage by defeating Zorya Luhansk 2-0 yesterday.

Another defeat and a Feyenoord win in the other Group A match, and United would have been eliminated.

But midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan's first goal for United to begin the second half ended the team's frustration, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic came through at the end for his seventh goal in his last six matches.

"The first goal was magnificent," Ibrahimovic said on MUTV. "He came in speed and had control all the way. Then the timing to put between the legs was beautiful. He killed the game by scoring."

United finished second in the group to Fenerbahce, who beat Feyenoord 1-0 courtesy of a Moussa Sow bicycle-kick goal.

AZ Alkmaar qualified from second place in Group D after beating group winners Zenit St Petersburg 3-2. Ben Rienstra, Ridgeciano Haps, and Muamer Tankovic scored for the Dutch side. Giuliano pulled one back for Zenit, and Stijn Wuytens' own goal settled the score.

A 0-0 home draw with Group E winners Roma meant Romania's Astra advanced with the Italian club.

Saint-Etienne came from two goals down to beat Anderlecht 3-2 and claim Group C, after both had qualified.

Fiorentina moved into the knockout stage from the first place in Group J after beating Azerbaijan's Qarabag 2-1.

Matias Vecino's first goal of the season put Fiorentina 1-0 up an hour in, and substitute forward Reynaldo levelled in the 73rd. But three minutes later, Federico Chiesa netted the winner.

PAOK finished second in the group after a 2-0 win over Slovan Liberec.

Newcomers Osmanlispor made the round of 32 by beating Zurich 2-0 and finishing top of Group L.

A PERFECT GROUP STAGE

Spain's Villarreal are also through after beating Steaua 2-1, trailing Turkey's Osmanlispor by one point.

Group H winners Shakhtar Donetsk completed a perfect group stage record with a 4-2 away victory at Braga. Captain Taison and defender Serhiy Kryvtsov had two goals each.

KAA Gent advanced with a 1-0 win at last place Konyaspor.

Thirteen other clubs made the knockout stage in the previous rounds. Four sides qualified with two matches to spare: Four-time European Cup winner Ajax, St Petersburg, Shakhtar Donetsk and Schalke. The qualifiers after five matches were Roma, Anderlecht, APOEL, Athletic Bilbao, Genk, Krasnodar, Olympiakos, Saint-Etienne, and Sparta Prague.