18-year-old Marcus Rashford scored two goals on his Manchester United debut in a 5-1 win against FC Midtjylland as Louis Van Gaal’s side progressed to the last 16 of the Europa League.
Rashford was the unlikely hero in Manchester United’s do-or-die clash with FC Midtjylland, marking an unexpected debut with a dream brace that saw Louis van Gaal’s men through a tricky Europa League tie.
A terrible string of injuries has seen United forced to rely on youth products, although the 18-year-old striker was so far down the pecking order his name did not even appear on the back of the matchday programme.
Rashford is likely to be the cover star next time, though, having been thrust into the spotlight following Anthony Martial’s warm-up injury and netting twice as United overcame a first-leg defeat and first-half Midtjylland goal to win 5-1 on the night and 6-3 on aggregate.
It was a dream end to an evening that looked to be going horribly wrong when Pione Sisto all-too-easily carved open United’s makeshift defence to put the Danish champions ahead at Old Trafford.
Nikolay Bodurov, on loan from Fulham, turned a Memphis Depay cross into his own goal shortly afterwards, but nerves grew as Morgan Schneiderlin hit the woodwork and then Juan Mata saw a penalty saved.
They need not have worried, though, as Rashford came to the rescue, turning home crosses from Mata and Guillermo Varela to put United in the driving seat.
Ander Herrera’s penalty and a Depay strike either side of Andre Romer’s red card added extra gloss to the scoreline as they progressed to the last 16.
The result eases the pressure on Van Gaal, who called for his team to be hungry and, rather amusingly, “horny” in the build-up to a match which ended a run of four games on the road.
Martial’s warm-up blow took the number of injured first-team players to 13 and led to Rashford making his debut alongside 19-year-old Joe Riley, who made his first start in a defence that saw Michael Carrick drop back to partner Daley Blind.
Tottenham beat Fiorentina 4-1 on aggregate in their Europa League round-of-32 tie after a 3-0 win in the second leg at White Hart Lane.
Ryan Mason gave Spurs the lead with a composed finish in the first half and Erik Lamela made it two before a Gonzalo Rodriguez own goal completed a 4-1 victory on aggregate.
The only negative on another excellent night for Mauricio Pochettino’s men saw Dele Alli pick up his third yellow card of the competition, which means the 19-year-old is banned for the first leg of the next round.
Harry Kane was left out of a Spurs matchday squad for the first time this season as he recovers from a broken nose, but Pochettino showed the seriousness with which he continues to treat this most exhausting of competitions by fielding all of his other key players including Hugo Lloris, Eric Dier and Alli.
This was an important victory, not least to recover momentum following last weekend’s shock FA Cup exit at the hands of Crystal Palace, a defeat which brought to an end Tottenham’s eight-match unbeaten run and set nerves jangling amongst the Spurs faithful.
Liverpool have qualified for the last 16 of the Europa League after beating Augsburg 1-0 at Anfield, courtesy of a penalty from James Milner.
Milner’s fifth-minute penalty proved decisive but despite creating a number of chances the Reds failed to score a second goal that would have sealed the tie.
The job was completed within 90 minutes meaning Jurgen Klopp and his players can now concentrate on Sunday’s Capital One Cup final against Manchester City.
Aside from the result, the real positive was another 65 minutes in the bank for Daniel Sturridge, making his third consecutive start for the first time since last March, who looked Liverpool’s most dangerous player and will be the key man again at Wembley.
Borussia Dortmund won 1-0 at Porto to add to their advantage from the first leg and cruise to a 3-0 aggregate victory.
Iker Casillas saved a shot from Marco Reus, only for the rebound to fall to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, whose follow-up hit the underside of the bar and came straight down to strike Casillas and roll in for an own goal.
Karim Bellarabi scored twice to guide Bayer Leverkusen to a 3-1 win at home over Sporting Lisbon, with the hosts advancing 4-1 on aggregate.
Bellarabi stayed onside to receive a pass from Javier Hernandez before firing a shot through the legs of keeper Rui Patricio from a tight angle on 30 minutes.
But Sporting scored eight minutes later when Leverkusen keeper Bernd Leno could only parry Carlos Mane’s shot into the path of Joao Mario, who tapped home.
However, Bellarabi’s powerful, long-distance second goal effectively put an end to the tie before Hakan Calhanoglu added a third goal late on.
Sabin Merino’s goal nine minutes from time allowed Athletic Bilbao to advance at the expense of Marseille after a 1-1 draw.
Michy Batshuayi’s 40th-minute goal erased Athletic’s slim edge from the first leg, but Merino headed a home a cross from Markel Susaeta to help the Spanish side move on 2-1 on aggregate.
Lazio scored twice in a three-minute span to defeat Galatasaray 3-1 on the night and 4-2 on aggregate.
After a goalless first period, Marco Parolo put Lazio ahead with an unstoppable header from Lucas Biglia’s corner before Felipe Anderson made it 2-0 by tapping in to an empty net from Alessandro Matri’s cut across.
The visitors had renewed hope when Yasin Oztekin drew a goal back two minutes later, but Miroslav Klose’s 72nd-minute goal — his first goal of the season — made for a comfortable ending.
Shakhtar Donetsk displayed a dominating performance to win 3-0 at Schalke.
Marlos found the tie’s first goal in the 26th minute, and Facundo Ferreyra and Viktor Kovalenko added to the visitor’s advantage after the break as the Bundesliga side failed to respond.
Valencia completed their rout of Rapid Vienna with a 4-0 win in a second leg that was never in doubt.
Rodrigo, Sofiane Feghouli, Pablo Piatti and Shkodran Mustafi provided the goals as Gary Neville’s side added to the six-goal laugher in the first leg to win 10-0 on aggregate.
Villarreal managed a 1-1 draw at Napoli to move on 2-1 on aggregate.
Marek Hamsik scored for the hosts in the 17th minute to level the tie, but Tomas Pina’s fortunate goal on the hour mark put the Spanish side through.
Pina sent in a cross from the corner of the 18-yard box that sailed into the opposite corner.
Basel defeated St Etienne at home 2-1 to advance on away goals with the tie level at 4-4.
After a fine effort in a 3-2 defeat in the first leg, the Swiss side got a 15th-minute goal from Luca Zuffi.
That set up a dramatic finish where Moustapha Bayal Sall appeared to have found a winner for the French side in the 89th minute, only for Zuffi to put Basel through with a second goal in stoppage time.
Frank Acheampong scored twice in extra time as Anderlecht won 2-1 away at Olympiakos to go through 3-1 overall.
Kostas Fortounis pulled the Greeks level in the tie when he converted a penalty in the 29th minute.
Acheampong scored from a tight angle to put the Belgians ahead on 103 minutes and the Ghana forward made sure of a place in the last 16 with another neat finish midway through the second period of extra time.
Norwegian side Molde won their home leg over Sevilla 1-0, but it was not enough as the defending champions advanced 3-1 on aggregate.
Eirik Hestad scored for Molde before the break while American Ethan Horvath kept a clean sheet.
Sparta Prague won 3-0 at 10-man Krasnodar to ease through 4-0 on aggregate.
Goals early in the second half from Lukas Marecek and Martin Frydek had ended the tie as a contest.
It got worse for the hosts when Charles Kabore received a second yellow card and Kehinde Fatai capped the scoring two minutes later.
Fenerbahce progressed past Lokomotiv Moscow following a 1-1 draw in the Russian capital.
Holding a 2-0 advantage from the first leg, Fener fell behind to Aleksandr Samedov’s goal on the stroke of half-time, but Lokomotiv were not able to find a second themselves and Mehmet Topal’s late header gave the visitors a comfortable final few moments.
On Wednesday, Braga advanced 4-3 on aggregate after securing a 2-2 draw at home with FC Sion.