Manchester United came from behind to snatch a crucial 3-2 away win against Cypriot outfit Omonia in the Europa League on Thursday thanks to a second-half brace by Marcus Rashford.
Anthony Martial also scored while Karim Ansarifard and Nikolas Panagiotou netted for the home side as United claimed a narrow win on their first ever trip to play a Cypriot team.
On a balmy night at Nicosia’s 23 000 capacity GSP Stadium, United went a goal down in the first half but fought back for a morale-boosting victory after being demolished 6-3 by cross-town rivals Manchester City at the weekend.
Erik ten Hag named a strong line-up with Cristiano Ronaldo, starting just his fourth match of the season, leading the attack and Brazilian Casemiro anchoring the midfield, but it was the substitutes who saved the day.
“All the subs had a really good impact”, with (Luke) Shaw and Rashford strengthening the left side,” Dutch coach ten Hag told reporters afterwards.
“We played well, the only thing is we didn’t score a goal. After halftime I think we dealt with the setback.
“It was a bad 10 minutes after we conceded the goal (but) if you then are able to come back… that’s positive.”
United got off to a dominant start, largely controlling the opening period against a side managed by former Celtic boss Neil Lennon.
Antony nearly got the breakthrough in the 28th minute, cutting inside and unleashing a long-range shot that was parried away by Omonia goalkeeper Fabiano.
It looked like United were beginning to turn the screw when they were awarded a free-kick outside Omonia’s area in the 34th minute.
Christian Eriksen fired it in but Omonia managed to scramble it away. The ball fell to Tyrell Malacia who was then robbed by Omonia’s Brazilian forward Bruno.
Three Omonia players broke clear before Bruno tapped it across the face of goal for Iranian striker Ansarifard to tuck it away.
United came out stronger in the second half with Rashford coming on for the anonymous Jadon Sancho and Shaw replacing Malacia.
And it paid immediate dividends, with Bruno Fernandes getting a shot on goal before setting up Rashford to level the scores in the 53rd minute.
Ronaldo, who was left on the bench during the weekend rout by City, cut a frustrated figure up front, but United continued to drive forward, creating more chances as the second half progressed.
Ten minutes after levelling, United went ahead when the newly-introduced Martial tapped in with his second touch of the game, seizing on an assist from Rashford.
The home supporters jeered loudly when referee Joao Pinheiro of Portugal waved away an Omonia claim for handball, a decision confirmed by VAR.
Ronaldo’s woes continued, however, with the Portuguese star hitting the post from within the six-yard box with an open goal, one of a hatful of missed chances by the 37-year-old.
Minutes later Rashford latched onto a pass from Ronaldo to double his tally.
Omonia were not finished, though, Panagiotou getting a goal back in the 87th minute.
United created more chances, with Brazilian midfielder Fred forcing a save from Fabiano in the dying minutes.
Lennon praised his players for putting up a fight but said he saw signs that United were on the up.
“This is a team definitely building… I think they’re going in the right direction,” he said.
“Thankfully Cristiano didn’t have his shooting boots on tonight.”
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta hits back at criticism from Aubameyang
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has reacted to criticism from former captain Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, stressing that the current Arsenal’s dressing room is the best he has been in.
The Spanish manager insisted that his current squad is more hardworking than in previous years.
Aubameyang left the Emirates stadium for Barcelona in controversial circumstances after a fall-out with Arteta over disciplinary issues.
He, however, returned to England after a six months stint at the Camp Nou, signing for Chelsea.
A video emerged recently of the Gabonese International slamming Arteta over his management skills.
“To manage big characters or big players, he (Arteta) can’t deal with it. He (Arteta) needs some young players, they don’t say anything, they listen,” Aubameyang was recorded as saying in an interview with A Jewellers.
Arteta was asked about Aubameyang’s comments on the eve of Arsenal’s Europa League clash with Bodo/Glimt.
‘People are free to discuss what they want,’ he told reporters in Norway.
‘I have never been in a better dressing room (than this season) – more enjoyable, more hard-working, a better relationship between staff and players and it is an absolute pleasure as a coach to be a part of this group.’
The Gunners sit top of the Premier League table after beating Liverpool 3-2 on Sunday, with Bukayo Saka grabbing a brace.
In the Europa League, they also sit on top of their group table, and will face Bodo/Glimt on Thursday in Matchday 4 of the Europa League.
Chaos at PSG: Kylian Mbappe and sporting advisor Luís Campos want to leave the Ligue 1 giants this January
PSG are gearing up for a crucial UEFA Champions League showdown with Benfica on Tuesday, but on the day of that interesting European fixture, several shocking reports have broken regarding the behind-the-scenes mayhem at the club.
The first involves star player Kylian Mbappe, who just recently signed a new deal at the Parc des Princes. However, despite snubbing the opportunity to join Real Madrid for free over the summer, the Frenchman has reportedly grown frustrated with the French champions and now wants out.
RMC initially broke this news, with Marca later posting an exclusive, claiming that the relationship between Mbappe and PSG has completely broken down. The attacker, who has scored eight goals in nine Ligue 1 outings and netted three in three in the UEFA Champions League, feels betrayed by his employers and is ready to leave.
This story has also been corroborated by well-known French journalist Julien Laurens, which is a concern for the Parisiens fans. And to make things worse, Kylian wishes to leave the capital this January.
The reasons are simple: before signing his new deal, the 23-year-old was made several promises by the PSG board, and many have not been kept. The goalscorer is particularly upset with president Nasser Al-Khelaifi, the Qatari ownership, and Antero Henrique.
It’s no secret that the 2018 FIFA World Cup winner prefers to play in a two-man attack, similar to the French national team where he plays off of Olivier Giroud. However, under Galtier, Mbappe remains merely a member of a star-studded three-man attack alongside Neymar and Lionel Messi.
Hence, he is not the jewel in the crown, the man the team is built around. Instead, he continues to share the spotlight with the Argentine and Brazilian superstars.
As a result, the player wishes to leave this winter but it remains uncertain whether Real Madrid, the club he desires to join, will make a move for the Frenchman. Marca claim that his PSG deal is until 2024, not 2025 as publicly reported, but any attempt to land the world-class attacker will be difficult nonetheless.
As for Luis Campos, Le Parisien reports that the Portuguese sporting advisor could leave if Mbappe departs as the pair enjoy a lovely relationship from their time together at Monaco. Additionally, Campos is also unhappy with Henrique, the man tasked with spearheading the club’s transfer negotiations, as he failed to sell the unwanted players last summer, which then prevented the club from strengthening as initially planned.
Ronaldo scores 700th club goal of his career
Cristiano Ronaldo scored the 700th club goal of his career after coming off the bench to put Manchester United in front at Everton on Sunday.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has been relegated to the bench for the majority of Erik ten Hag’s time in charge at United, but made his entrance on the half-hour mark to replace the injured Anthony Martial.
It took Ronaldo just 14 minutes to net his first Premier League goal of the season as he latched onto Casemiro’s pass before firing low past Jordan Pickford to make it 2-1 to the visitors.
That strike took the 37-year-old’s tally in two spells with United to 144. Real Madrid’s record goalscorer hit 450 for the Spanish giants, while he scored 101 times for Juventus and five for Sporting Lisbon.
The Portugal captain also holds the record for goals at international level with 117.
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