Paul Pogba came off the bench to save Manchester United as he scored the only goal in their last 16 1-0 Europa League win over Milan on Thursday, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men edging out the draw 2-1 on aggregate.
A lukewarm first half had little chance of action, with Dean Henderson making a few smart saves to keep the score 0-0.
Pogba was introduced at halftime as Solskjaer set off in search of that elusive away goal, and it didn’t take long for the Frenchman to make his mark. After a pinball in the Milan area, the ball fell at the midfielder’s feet and it produced a brilliant finish to outsmart Gianluigi Donnarumma and give United the advantage.
Milan threw everything they had at the visitors as the clock started to slow down their Europa League campaign, but they couldn’t find the breakthrough as the Red Devils booked their place in the last eight.
These are the highlights of the match, now the ratings of the players of Milan and United …
Gianluigi Donnarumma (GK) – 5/10 – Made to look a little silly by Pogba as he put him on his back with a dummy before chopping the ball off him to pocket the winner.
Pierre Kalulu (RB) – 6/10 – Provided a constant outlet on the Milan right and played more like a winger for much of the game.
Fikayo Tomori (CB) –7 / 10 – Completed a number of brilliant last minute challenges to deny United. You had to use his pace to fight the fast frontline of the Red Devils and he played really well.
Simon Kjaer (CB) – 7/10 – Clearly informed about United frontline threats from the first leg and defended themselves brilliantly against them. On both legs he was arguably the standout player.
Théo Hernandez (LB) – 7/10 – Constantly cutting inside and leading into United’s midfield with the visitors struggling to chain him.
Franck Kessie (CM) – 6/10 – Combative and aggressive but made a mess of a number of single passes to teammates. Glued to Bruno Fernandes and made sure that the Portuguese magician did not go wild.
Rade Krunic (CM) – 6/10 – Clean and tidy in midfield, but struggled to really move his team forward as they hunted for an equalizer.
Soualiho Meite (CM) – 7/10 – Sitting deep in midfield and did a great job of recycling possession and keeping the pressure Milan were applying.
Alexis Saelemaekers (RW) – 6/10 – He never neglected his defensive duties and played a key role in Milan’s attempt to chain marauder Luke Shaw.
Hakan Çalhanoğlu (ST) – 6/10 – Clever footwork in and around the area that often threatened to open United’s back line. Some decent reach efforts but couldn’t create a real golden luck overnight.
Samuel Castillejo (LW) – 5/10 – Showed a lot of pace of work and effort but never seemed to cause problems for United.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (ST) – 6/10
Diogo Dalot (RB) – 6/10
Brahim Diaz (RW) – 5/10
Dean Henderson (GK) – 7/10 – Continued to replace David de Gea. Started the match with a lot of confidence, which will have pleased his coach given his late disappointment in the first leg. Made some big saves to secure the 1-0 victory.
Aaron Wan -Bissaka (RB) – 6/10 – I tried to leap forward and help the attack, but his final ball just wasn’t there. Well defended late, Milan started to push.
Victor Lindelof (CB) – 7/10 – Produced a superb block in the first half to keep the score 0-0. Solid all evening and was a big part of the win.
Harry Maguire (CB) – 6/10 – Solid. Responsible for scoring Zlatan Ibrahimovic as the Swede was presented in the second half and he did well to limit it to a single half-chance.
Luke Shaw (LB) – 7/10 – Did his best to stretch the game by staying on the sidelines and that helped open the game as United midfielders started to take control.
Scott McTominay (CM) – 8/10 – Rarely credited for his ability on the ball, but he sometimes led the midfielder and had the opposition cast shadows.
Fred (CM) – 6/10 – Preferred to Nemanja Matic in midfield. Lost cheap possession several times as his team looked to build attacks, but his overall display was pretty good as he added much needed energy to the team.
Bruno Fernandes (AM) – 6/10 – Identified as United’s man in danger and surrounded by Milan midfielders every time he touched the ball.
Daniel James (RW) – 5/10 – Didn’t look right away and could be seen holding their backs in the early stages. Battled but struggled to impact the game.
Marcus Rashford (ST) – 6/10 – Milan had clearly learned their lesson from the first leg and they didn’t give England the space to run behind.
Mason Greenwood (LW) – 6/10 – He looked sharp on the right side but struggled to find himself much space as the Milan defense sought to oust him.
Paul Pogba (CM) – 8/10 – Changed the game by providing a bit of midfield practice and securing the winner.