The Associated PressMANCHESTER (AP) — Teenage striker Marcus Rashford enhanced his reputation by stepping up in the absence of the injured Zlatan Ibrahimovic to steer Manchester United into the Europa League semifinals with an extra-time winner against Anderlecht.
Showing coolness beyond his years, Rashford deceived two defenders in the penalty area with a Cruyff turn and slotted home a shot in the 107th minute to give United a 2-1 win at Old Trafford.
United advanced 3-2 on aggregate to join Lyon, Ajax and Celta Vigo in the last four, after a tension-filled night of quarterfinal second legs in Europe’s second-tier continental club competition.
The Europa League was the competition in which Rashford made his senior breakthrough last season, scoring twice on debut against FC Midtjylland as an 18-year-old unknown. He’s now an England international and one of the hottest prospects in European soccer.
Rashford may have to take on the mantle of being United’s chief striker for the last month of the season after Ibrahimovic hobbled off in the final minutes of normal time after hyperextending his right knee on landing, having chested down a long ball into the area.
The Swedish striker appeared to be in pain and held his head in his hands as he was being treated.
“Fairly negative,” Mourinho said of injuries to Ibrahimovic and center back Marcos Rojo, who went off injured in the first half.
With the teams level at 1-1 after the first leg in Belgium last week, Henrikh Mkhitaryan put United ahead on aggregate with a 10th-minute strike at Old Trafford only for Sofiane Hanni to equalize in the 31st.
Appeal of Neymar ban rejected
MADRID (AP) — Barcelona’s appeal to annul the suspension that will keep Neymar from playing in the clasico against Real Madrid was rejected by the Spanish football federation on Thursday.
The federation appeals committee said it was not overturning the two-game suspension handed to Neymar for sarcastically applauding an assistant referee in Barcelona’s 2-0 loss at Malaga on April 8.
The two-match ban was in addition to a one-game suspension he was automatically required to serve after being sent off in Malaga.