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Manchester United vs Partizan result: Anthony Martial reminds Old Trafford what it's been missing in Europa romp

The first touch took the ball away from Starhinja Pavlovic. The second evaded a sliding challenge by Bojan Ostojic. The third stopped Pavlovic from saving face with a recovering tackle and the fourth rolled the ball past Partizan Belgrade’s goalkeeper. This is what Manchester United were missing during Anthony Martial's recent lay-off.

Martial’s sublime individual goal, either side of Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford strikes, secured both a 3-0 win and a place in the Europa League knockout stages for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s much-improved United in front of a sparsely-populated Old Trafford on Thursday night.

It was the first time since the opening weekend of the Premier League season that United had scored more than once at home, the first since January that they had scored twice in the first half. Solskjaer has spent much of this season imploring his players to kill games off and score that “second goal”. For only the sixth time in 28 games, they did.

Is this the night when things finally fell into place for Solskjaer at United? Maybe, though probably not. Nobody should start getting carried away with a comfortable win over a team currently sitting fourth in Serbia’s top flight, a team that has lost three of their last five league games. The concerns raised by Saturday’s defeat at Bournemouth remain.

But at the same time, United deserve praise and plaudits for their most dominant Old Trafford display since beating Chelsea 4-0 in August. Partizan limited Solskjaer’s side to just one shot on target in Belgrade - Martial’s match-winning penalty - but put up little resistance in this reverse fixture.

Solskjaer’s line-up was close to full strength and a clear indication that he wanted qualification to be sorted once and for all. United face a 7,500-mile round trip to Kazakhstan’s capital Nur-Sultan at the end of the month. It will be a surprise if more than a handful of those to start this game play against Astana.

As one of only two established centre-forwards at Solskjaer’s disposal, Rashford is among those likely to be wrapped up in cotton wool. He has played more minutes than any other United player this season and that heavy workload told in the opening stages when he spurned two gilt-edged chances, firing the first wide and second over.

He atoned by turning provider for the opening goal, sparking panic in his opponents by a bursting at the Partizan defence then switching the play to the other side of the penalty area. Greenwood was waiting there, unmarked, ready to cut inside on his left foot and apply a composed finish past goalkeeper Vladimir Stojokvic.

It was Greenwood’s third goal in four starts, putting him equal with Daniel James as United’s third-highest scorer of the campaign to date. Though opportunities have not always been forthcoming for the youngster, he is taking them and must surely now be considered a genuine rotation options outside of the Europa League and EFL Cup.

The teenager played a major part in Martial’s goal, pressing Partizan’s defence relentlessly until the ball broke his team-mate’s way. United missed Martial’s intricate footwork and direct running during his lengthy lay-off with a hamstring injury, but here they witnessed the 23-year-old in full flow, zipping around helpless tackles until the delicate finish.

Barely half an hour had passed but the game was essentially won and progress secured. Rashford administered the death blow at the start of the second half, lashing at Ashley Young’s lay-off with his left foot and finding the top corner from a few inches outside the penalty area.

The only concern for Solskjaer at full time was an apparent injury to Scott McTominay, who limped down the tunnel midway through the second half. A slight sprain or two may ultimately be the cost of playing such a strong side, but it is a small price to pay for a comfortable win, an impressive performance and a place in the knockout stages.


This news item was provided by the The Independent - Premier League website - the original link is: https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/premier-league/manchester-united-partizan-result-score-anthony-martial-goal-europa-league-2019-a9194231.html

Rangers 2-0 Porto: Steven Gerrard’s men move closer to Europa League last 32

Alfredo Morelos started off the scoring at Ibrox on 69 minutes

Two goals in four second-half minutes earned Rangers a rousing victory over Porto to surge closer to the Europa League knockout stages.

Little separated Steven Gerrard's men and last year's Champions League quarter-finalists before Alfredo Morelos and Steven Davis crashed in strikes at a raucous Ibrox.

The result means Rangers sit joint top of Group G along side Young Boys of Switzerland with two games remaining, while Porto and Feyenoord are three points behind.

It was yet another showing of strength in Europe under Gerrard, who has only lost three times - and never at Ibrox - across 26 matches in continental competition.

Rangers, who drew 1-1 with Porto two weeks ago, now go to Rotterdam on 28 November before welcoming Young Boys to Ibrox two weeks later in their final group game.

Rangers deliver another European message

Sitting contently at the top table in the Estadio do Dragao media room two weeks earlier, the Rangers manager beamed about what he had just witnessed from his team.

Fielding questions from the assembled journalists, Gerrard could not hide his pride after Morelos' equaliser had cancelled out Luis Diaz's opener to keep Rangers in the hunt in this group. "I think that was our best performance in Europe for large parts," he said. "I'm not going to get carried away but that is a big point."

While this showing, particularly in the first half, may not have been Rangers' best, the devastation wreaked on one of Europe's big names in a ruthless second half may well be causing some of the club's support to be reaching for the 'let's get carried away' button.

Not for the first time, Rangers faced a daunting task under a dark sky in Govan, only to send a household name away beleaguered and bemused into the chilled night. Spartak Moscow. Villarreal. Legia Warsaw. Feyenoord. And now Porto. Each have come to Glasgow, all sent away again without even scoring a goal.

Plenty has been made of the European ties across the city at Celtic Park. And rightly so. Yet there is something fascinating about watching Rangers on these evenings. For a group largely untested at this level prior to last year, there is a swagger and courage to their play.

Against Sergio Conceicao's men, they survived an early scare to at least make the first half competitive, before fearlessly dictating the play once they had their noses in front.

Gerrard stuck with the same team which caused Porto so many problems in Portugal, although they were forced to ride their luck in the opening stages, Glen Kamara showing his acrobatic side to clear Pepe's glanced effort off the goal line. Conor Goldson would thwack a ball clear in the second half, as well.

At the other end, Rangers struggled to show composure in the final third, a mixture of shots and crosses nestling somewhere in the Broomloan Road end. But after the break, flickering moments hinted at a spark coming.

Ryan Kent was proving to be a nuisance. Past one player he turned. Then another. Then came the shot from the edge of the area. The save by Agustin Marchesin triggered a corner and rumble of hope in the stands.

And then the moment came. Courageous play from James Tavernier on the right led to the ball being nudged to Ryan Jack. Rangers' man of the moment did not fail, his cross from the right finding its target. Morelos allowed it to run across his body at the age of the area with the merest of first touches.

As Ibrox held its breath, his left foot met the ball on the half volley just before it floated out of reach to arrow a shot across Marchesin and in. Ibrox erupted. Morelos roared back in a primal outpouring of emotion.

If one nearly lifted the roof, the second moments later almost launched it into orbit.

Morelos was the provider, this time out on the left. A pinpoint cutback was gathered 20 yards out by Davis. The Northern Irishman launched an effort on target, but the telling nick off of Ivan Marcano - the man who was rolled for the first - sent the ball careering by the stranded Porto goalkeeper.

There was nowhere for Porto to go. No way of Rangers letting this one slip. Another big European night at Ibrox. Now on to Feyenoord, and another foreign experience for Gerrard to potentially savour.

Match stats

  • Rangers have lost just one of their last 12 games in Europe, winning eight and drawing three
  • FC Porto are winless in their last eight Europa League away games (D2 L6), having won each of their previous six on the road before that
  • Rangers have registered seven clean sheets in their last eight home games in Europe, shipping just one goal in that period
  • Morelos is the first player to score in three consecutive appearances in major European competition for Rangers since Nacho Novo in the 2006-07 Uefa Cup
  • Davis netted his first goal in competitive club football since scoring for Southampton against Everton in the Premier League in November 2017 - 711 days ago.


This news item was provided by the BBC Sport - Football website - the original link is: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/50253793

Lazio 1-2 Celtic: Neil Lennon’s side reach Europa League last 32

Olivier Ntcham's 95th-minute goal put Celtic into the last 32 with two games to spare

Olivier Ntcham's stoppage-time strike earned Celtic a stunning win over Lazio and a place in the Europa League last 32 with two games to spare.

Serie A's top scorer Ciro Immobile had given Lazio the lead with an unopposed back-post volley, but James Forrest lashed in his 11th goal of the season just before the break to level.

Neil Lennon's side had to defend stoutly after the break and looked like they earn a point until Ntcham ran on to an Odsonne Edouard pass to secure Celtic's first win in Italy.

It is the second time in two weeks that the Scottish Premiership side have stunned Lazio with a late winner, Christopher Jullien's header earning victory in Glasgow two weeks ago.

It also means that their games with Rennes at Celtic Park and against Cluj in Romania will now only decide whether they win the group or not.

Famous victory for Roman lions to savour

When you haven't ever beaten an Italian side in their own country, the last thing you want to do is give them a helping hand. The concession of a goal inside seven minutes to the predatory instincts of Immobile rendered a tricky task more akin to mission impossible.

Several key Celtic players looked ill at ease in a 3-5-2 formation in which Forrest and Jonny Hayes were deployed as wing-backs and struggled to adapt, not helped by the players in front of them constantly giving the ball away. The Irishman in particular looked like a fish out of water as Lazio pinpointed a perceived weakness in their opponents.

Keeping the deficit at just a single goal for half an hour was a minor triumph as pressure from the impressive Immobile almost led to an own goal when Jullien headed narrowly past Fraser Forster's left-hand post. There were other moments when a frantic Celtic back line had to do some last ditch defending to keep the marauding hosts out.

In the ancient Colosseum some five miles across the city, the Roman Emperors used to give the 'thumbs down' to the gladiators, giving permission to go in for the kill. Thankfully for Celtic, Lazio were far less ruthless and slowly but surely, the visitors found their feet. Twice Mohamed Elyounoussi made threatening advances but failed to find a final product.

And just before the break, a moment of magic that would have graced any arena. The pass from Elyounoussi to Forrest, in behind the Lazio defence. A rocket of a shot into the top right-hand corner of Thomas Strakosha's net. Wild celebrations from nearly 10,000 visiting fans who hadn't had anything to get excited about prior to that.

Parity celebrated five minutes before the break, and only preserved by a wonderful save by Forster from a Sergej Milinkovic-Savic header, and then an even better goal-line clearance by Jullien to deny Felipe Caicedo as Lazio tried to hit back straight away. In a frantic minute or two, Marco Parolo then headed over when he could, and probably should, have scored.

A half of two halves, if you will, and a blessed relief for Lennon to get his men in for half-time still on level terms with a very dangerous-looking opponent. Better defensive organisation would surely be required for Celtic to build upon the platform they'd worked so hard to create.

That said, had Edouard taken an early second-half chance, this game could have been completely turned on his head. A dodgy clearance by Strakosha gifted Celtic the ball and when Edouard was played in, the Albanian goalkeeper made amends with a strong save from the French striker's shot.

More Celtic pressure drew a mistake from Lucas Leiva, which allowed Forrest to break clear. But with Hayes and Edouard screaming for a pass, the Scotland forward fancied a second goal but his effort was blocked by a defender, much to Edouard's fury.

The dynamic of the match had changed completely; the meek start made by Celtic a distant memory, fading as quickly as the smoke from the pyrotechnics which were on show before a ball was kicked. Uefa have punished Celtic for that before and seem almost certain to do so again.

The fireworks on the field were coming from the yellow-shirted visitors. Some fabulous build-up play involving Christie, McGregor and Forrest left Edouard with the ball inside the Lazio box. However, he couldn't control it and a most presentable chance was gone in an instant.

It was almost instantly regretted too, as Forster once again kept out a Milinkovic-Savic header with an impressive point-blank save. All of a sudden, Lazio seemed to regain their belief. Substitute Luis Alberto nearly scored straight from a corner; the ball ballooned back off Forster's near post as Celtic breathed a sizeable sigh of relief.

And then came what felt like 'the' chance. Elyounoussi's pass to Edouard was inch-perfect, inviting the Frenchman to race into the left-hand side of the penalty area. His curling shot slipped agonisingly wide. Would there be a better opportunity all night?

Edouard tried to make amends with a free kick moments later but again was narrowly off target, this time over the crossbar. This was a half full of passion , pride and no little skill from Celtic. A pulsating contest which ebbed first one way and then another with both defences having plenty of work to do to subdue some smart attacking play from both sets of forwards.

No more so than when a great, late chance presented itself for Lazio, only for the powerful left hand of Forster to keep Celtic level.

And then the moment of history. Another Lazio mistake gifted Edouard the ball, and he played in fellow Frenchman Ntcham, whose delicious chip took Celtic through and sent their jubilant fans away into the Roman night delirious.

The first time Celtic have ever won on Italian soil, and only the second time ever they've beaten an Italian side away from home. The other time was that famous night in Lisbon in 1967. These Roman lions in Celtic shirt may not be remembered as long, but they'll savour a famous, famous victory. And rightly so.

Man of the match - Fraser Forster

Immobile and Milinkovic-Savic were standouts for Lazio. Forrest had a good game and scored an excellent goal for Celtic.

But for providing several top-class saves at vital moments - a bit like he did in the last meeting against the Italians at Celtic Park - the award goes to Forster. Celtic deserved to take something from this game and the Englishman was the man who helped deliver it with a wonderful late save, and several more earlier in the match.

Match stats

  • Celtic have recorded three consecutive victories in the Uefa Cup/Europa League for the first time since November 2002, when they won six in a row on their way to the Uefa Cup final
  • Forrest netted his fourth goal in his last six appearances in all competitions for Celtic, after scoring only twice in nine games for the club beforehand
  • Lazio have only won one of their last eight games in the Europa League (W1 D0 L7), failing to keep a clean sheet on each occasion
  • Celtic won away from home against Italian opposition in European competition for the first time ever, with this being their 13th attempt at doing so
  • Within the top five European leagues, only Robert Lewandowski (21) has scored more goals across all competitions than Lazio's Immobile (15) this season.


This news item was provided by the BBC Sport - Football website - the original link is: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/50253786

Stoke and NI remain in O’Neill talks

Last Updated: 07/11/19 6:52pm

Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill is wanted by Stoke

Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill is wanted by Stoke

Stoke remain in talks with the Irish Football Association over Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill taking their vacant managerial position.

Stoke made an official approach for O'Neill and Sky Sports News understands he has informed the IFA that he would like the chance to talk to them.

However, it is also understood the managerless Championship side are yet to meet the required compensation clause to release the 50-year-old.

According to reports, Stoke will offer O'Neill a four-year contract and double his £800,000 salary.

O'Neill told Sky Sports News on Wednesday that "good ownership and good people" would be key factors for him when the time comes to leave international management for a club job.

Michael O'Neill is currently preparing his side to face Netherlands and Germany next week in 2020 European Qualifiers

Michael O'Neill is currently preparing his side to face Netherlands and Germany next week in 2020 European Qualifiers

O'Neill was previously given permission to speak to Scotland but declined the job, while he has also attracted interest from West Brom and Sunderland in the past, after raising Northern Ireland from 129th in the world to 20th in 2017.

He guided them to their first European Championships in 2016, where they reached the last 16, before narrowly missing out on a first World Cup place since 1986 when Switzerland narrowly beat them in the play-offs.

Michael O'Neill has helped Northern Ireland rise as high as 20th in the FIFA world rankings.

Michael O'Neill has helped Northern Ireland rise as high as 20th in the FIFA world rankings.

O'Neill is currently preparing his side to face Netherlands and Germany next week in the European Qualifiers and, although they can still qualify through Group C, a play-off in March is more likely.

O'Neill has only managed club teams in Scotland with Brechin City and Ireland with Shamrock Rovers, where he won two League of Ireland championships.

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This news item was provided by the
SkySports | News website - the original link is: https://www.skysports.com/football/news/11688/11856343/michael-oneill-stoke-city-and-ifa-remain-in-talks-for-northern-ireland-boss

Stoke and NI remain in O’Neill talks

Last Updated: 07/11/19 6:52pm

Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill is wanted by Stoke

Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill is wanted by Stoke

Stoke remain in talks with the Irish Football Association over Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill taking their vacant managerial position.

Stoke made an official approach for O'Neill and Sky Sports News understands he has informed the IFA that he would like the chance to talk to them.

However, it is also understood the managerless Championship side are yet to meet the required compensation clause to release the 50-year-old.

According to reports, Stoke will offer O'Neill a four-year contract and double his £800,000 salary.

O'Neill told Sky Sports News on Wednesday that "good ownership and good people" would be key factors for him when the time comes to leave international management for a club job.

Michael O'Neill is currently preparing his side to face Netherlands and Germany next week in 2020 European Qualifiers

Michael O'Neill is currently preparing his side to face Netherlands and Germany next week in 2020 European Qualifiers

O'Neill was previously given permission to speak to Scotland but declined the job, while he has also attracted interest from West Brom and Sunderland in the past, after raising Northern Ireland from 129th in the world to 20th in 2017.

He guided them to their first European Championships in 2016, where they reached the last 16, before narrowly missing out on a first World Cup place since 1986 when Switzerland narrowly beat them in the play-offs.

Michael O'Neill has helped Northern Ireland rise as high as 20th in the FIFA world rankings.

Michael O'Neill has helped Northern Ireland rise as high as 20th in the FIFA world rankings.

O'Neill is currently preparing his side to face Netherlands and Germany next week in the European Qualifiers and, although they can still qualify through Group C, a play-off in March is more likely.

O'Neill has only managed club teams in Scotland with Brechin City and Ireland with Shamrock Rovers, where he won two League of Ireland championships.

Soccer Saturday Super 6

FREE TO PLAY: Do not miss your chance to land the £250,000 jackpot for the fifth time this year!


This news item was provided by the
SkySports | News website - the original link is: https://www.skysports.com/football/news/11688/11856343/michael-oneill-stoke-city-and-ifa-remain-in-talks-for-northern-ireland-boss