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AC Milan 0-1 Manchester United: 5 talking points as Red Devils secure quarter-final berth | UEFA Europa League 2020-21 




Paul Pogbe’s strike in the second half was enough to give Manchester United win over 1-0 AC Milan in the rematch of their quarter-finals of the eighth finals of the Europa League on Thursday.

Both sides drew 1-1 in the first game at Old Trafford last week, and a header by Simon Kjaer canceled Amad Diallo’s early strike.

The big news in creating the match was the readiness of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but the 39-year-old was appointed to the bench. The same story was for Pogba, who returned after a month.

The slow start of the match saw both sides treading cautiously thanks to the delicate balance of equalization. Manchester United created the first opportunity of the game when Bruno Fernandes and Luke Shaw together near the Milan penalty area. However, the Portuguese national team player could only fire under pressure.

This was as good as the visitors in the first half, as Milan have since taken the initiative and dominated the proceedings.

The tempo of Sam Castille and Theo Hernandez created problems for Manchester United’s defense, but the hosts were often let down by poor decision-making in the final third.

Fernandes’s loose pass saw Milan launch a devastating counterattack. However, Castillejo experienced a two-on-one situation, allowing Victor Lindelof to prevent a goal with an excellent challenge.

Alexis Saelemaekers forced Dean Henderson into a smart defense with a shot from the edge of the penalty area, and from the next corner there were slight appeals for a penalty.

Milan had their last chance at half time. Hakan Calhanoglu scored brilliantly in the penalty area after another break, but Rade Krunić missed the goal from six meters, although under pressure from Harry Maguire.

Paul Pogba came out at half-time due to ineffective Marcus Rashford to mark his first appearance after suffering a thigh strain on February 6th.

The World Cup winner was immediately affected as he broke the deadlock just two minutes later. The AC Milan defense failed to properly clear their lines in the area, and Pogba was on hand to punish them from a sharp angle with a brilliant goal.

This gave Manchester United the advantage and forced the hosts to push forward in search of an equalizer.

Two players with Manchester United connections came in in the 65th minute. Ibrahimovic replaced Sam Castillae, while the on-loan Diogo Dalot came in to replace the upset Pierre Kalulu.

Ibrahimovic almost pulled the side level when he climbed the most for Calhanoglu’s cross, but Dean Henderson spectacularly saved a shot from close range to deprive the Swede.

Milan created another great opportunity when Franck Kessie found himself in a good position to score. However, Lindelof denied him an intact challenge on the goalkeeper.

Over time, Manchester United controlled the pace of the game according to their needs, to the great frustration of the hosts. The temperament soon began to fade as the wild salons became the order of the day.

Pogba had another good opportunity late in the game, but he headed the ball just over the net.

With the victory, Manchester United secures a place in the quarterfinals Europa League, while AC Milan has only Serie A action to take care of.

Here are five conversation points from the game.

# 5 The great start to the AC Milan season slowly unfolded

Milan could end the season without a trophy after a defeat by Manchester United
Milan could end the season without a trophy after a defeat by Manchester United

AC Milan started the season like a burning house and entered their brilliant form after being locked into a new campaign.

The Rossoneri were not defeated in their first 15 league games of this term. Combined with 12 games played after the lock, they had 27 games unbeaten.

By doing so, they set the pace Serie A, with many highlighting the Milan youth team as potential Scudetto winners. However, defeat from 3-1 to Juventus on the 16th day of the match they finished their unbeaten run and four more defeats in 11 matches since then he has seen them lose their place at the summit.

They were also eliminated in the quarter-finals of the Coppa Italia by city rivals Inter Milan. This defeat by Manchester United means that Milan is on the verge of ending the season without a trophy.

At this pace, there is no guarantee that he will end up in the top four of Serie A at all, which would mark the disastrous end of a season that promised so much.

# 4 Manchester United hits top speed at the right time

Manchester United are unbeaten in 14 games
Manchester United are unbeaten in 14 games

Manchester United were plagued by inconsistencies during the season, and it was precisely because of this performance by Jekyll and Hyde that the Red Devils were relegated to the Europa League.

Still, the depth of the Manchester United team means they are favorites to win the tournament, and their chances are increased by eliminations like Tottenham Hotspur and Napoli.

The win over AC Milan means Old Trafford’s outfit is now undefeated in 14 games in all competitions, with eight clear goals kept in the last 11 games.

This is the standard expected of Manchester United, and fans will hope they can maintain a good series and end the season at a high level.

Posted March 19, 2021, 5:12 AM IST