Manchester United hold on to win 1-0 against Serbian outfit Partizan Belgrade in what was a tough away game for the Red Devils. This was United’s first away since their sensational comeback against PSG in March.
An Anthony Martial penalty just before the end of the first half was enough to separate both teams and keep United at the top of their Europa League group.
United came into the fixture unbeaten in 13 Europa League matches since the defeat at Fenerbahce in November 2016. But Partizan were unbeaten in 11 home games in European competition so it was expected to be a tight contest.
Thus, the odds were very good for betters as a United win was 6/5 and Partizan were 11/5 to pick up the three points.
The win means Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side now sit on 7 points out of a possible 9 whereas Partizan sit in third with just 4 points.
Both sides started with caution and just tried to ease into the game as both teams failed to create any clear cut opportunities.
It took until the 38th minute for something of note to happen. Aaron Wan-Bissaka found Jesse Lingard who showed great instinct to get the shot away, which bounced off the right post.
With that chance, the floodgates opened. Partizan themselves hit the post minutes later via a rasping effort from Umar Sadiq. The striker curled a beautiful 25 yarder which beat keeper Sergio Romero but failed to ripple the back of the net.
A minute later, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team were on the attack in what became an end to end game. Young defender Brandon Williams raced through into Partizan’s box but was brought down and thus, a penalty was given.
Anthony Martial, making his first start since August, sent keeper Vladimir Stojkovic the wrong way in what was just his 14th touch of the game to give United the lead a minute before half-time.
The second half began and Partizan came flying out the box in search for an equaliser.
A minute into the half, the referee waved away a penalty shout for Partizan after Seydouba Soumah goes down in the box following pressure from Phil Jones. The Englishman did manage to get a touch on the ball so a penalty would have been harsh.
The Serbian outfit once again came close to equalising. Soumah turned £80m man Harry Maguire inside out with a great dummy but his effort was tame and straight at Sergio Romero.
Fifteen minutes, Partizan have another penalty appeal but this time, they should have been awarded a penalty. Nemanja Miletic heads the ball off the arms of Brandon Williams but the referee does not award the penalty. Miletic was then booked for furiously protesting the decision, which should have gone Partizan’s way.
With 10 minutes to go, Romero makes a good save from a flicked header from former Arsenal player Takuma Asano to keep United ahead.
Manchester United failed to really create anything in the second half in similar fashion in their other Europa League games but managed to hold on to secure a very important three points.