Europa League: Man Utd, Wolves and Celtic triumph
Three-goal United continue their unbeaten campaign as Celtic make history in Rome
Man Utd 3 Partizan Belgrade 0
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer praised his Manchester United side’s performance as they eased past Partizan Belgrade to qualify for the knockout phase of the Europa League. A comfortable 3-0 win against their Serbian visitors continued their remarkable run of not having conceded a goal in the competition and they have now gone 15 games unbeaten - three shy of the record held by Premier League rivals Chelsea.
“Too many times we’re 1-0 up and haven’t got the second but these boys are learning and this will give them loads of pointers of how we play when performing well,” said Solskjaer.
United remain top of Group L by two points and victory in their final pool matches, aaway at pointless FC Astana on November 28 and at home to AZ Alkmaar of Kazakhstan on December 12, will mean they go into the Last 32 as group with a top seeding. It’s still a long way from the glory days of United’s Champions League era, but nonetheless after a difficult start to the season there are signs that United are heading in the right direction.
First-half goals from Mason Greenwood and Anthony Martial all but killed off the contest and a third from Marcus Rashford after the break had United fans celebrating their biggest home win since August.
“We needed a win but we needed a performance in which the boys wanted to go forward and score more than one goal,” said Solskjaer. “We could have had loads more but it was pleasing and it was important to get the points.”
Late win for Wolves
Also on course to qualify for the Last 32 are Wolves, although they left it late against Slovan Bratislava at Molineux. Raul Jimenez’s injury-time strike secured Wolves their three points and they lie second in Group K with nine points, one behind leaders Sporting Braga but five ahead of Bratislava in third.
“We are delighted,” said Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo. “It was very important night for everyone, I think Molineux enjoys European football.”
Celtic make history
An injury time strike from Olivier Ntcham earned Celtic a stunning win away at Lazio and booked the Scottish champions a place in the last 32 with two games to spare.
The Italians had taken an early lead through Ciro Immobile but James Forrest levelled seven minutes before the break and that’s how the score remained until five minutes into stoppage time.
“I’m so proud of them, not just for winning the game, but the way they played. The character, the bravery and above all else, real quality,” said Celtic manager Neil Lennon, whose side are the first Scottish team to win a European tie in Italy.