Rostov vs Manchester United as it happened: Jose Mourinho's men come away from Russia with draw

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Relive United's 1-1 Europa League draw at the Olimp-2 Stadium

Manchester United's Russian assignment proved as tough as expected, but Henrikh Mkhitaryan's strike on Rostov's quagmire pitch could prove crucial after the first instalment of this Europa League last-16 encounter ended in a credible draw.

As if a 3,750-mile round trip was not enough, United were greeted by a surface so poor that Jose Mourinho wanted UEFA to call the first leg off - a request that unsurprisingly fell on deaf ears.

The wretched Olimp-2 stadium surface made a difficult trip all the harder, with Aleksandr Bukharov cancelling out Mkhitaryan's first-half strike to leave the score at 1-1 ahead of next week's return leg at Old Trafford.

But Mourinho's frustration at being pegged back by Rostov - a side that have beaten Bayern Munich and Ajax at home this season - will likely be tempered by the relief of seemingly avoiding injuries on this pitch.

 

What time is kick-off?

The game takes place on Thursday, March 9, with kick off taking place at 6pm GMT.

Where can I watch it?

The game will be broadcast live on BT Sport 2 and BT Sport 2 HD.

It’s a big game for…

Henrikh Mkhitaryan. The Armenian is expected to return from a hamstring injury on Thursday night having spent a number of weeks on the sideline. Should he feature, Mkhitaryan will be eager to hit the ground running in a bid to remind Mourinho what the side has been missing. Rostov will be no pushover though and the winger will need to have all his wits about him if he’s to stand any chance of impressing at the Olimp-2 Stadium.

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Mkhitaryan has returned from injury (Getty)

Interesting fact…

Rostov supporters have organised a delivery of blankets for visiting United fans ahead of Thursday's match, according to state-owned Russian news channel Rossiya 24. The initiative, which is known as 'Gentle Fan', will see blankets handed out at the visitors' entrance to the ground, to ensure the fans will be warm enough. A touching gesture.

Player to watch…

Zlatan Ibrahimovic. A man as hardened and experienced as Ibrahimovic should be in his element on Thursday night. As the old saying goes: when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Indeed, expect plenty of fight and bite from the big Swede as he attempts to lead United’s front-line in what will be punishing conditions.

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Ibrahimovic is still free to play in the Europa League after recently being handed a three-match ban by the FA (Getty)

Form guide…

Rostov: WDWDDL

Manchester United: DWWWWW

Odds…

Rostov to win: 4/1

Manchester United to win: 39/50

Draw: 12/5