Manchester United's Henrikh Mkhitaryan (right) and Rostov's Aleksandr Gatskan.
Manchester United's Henrikh Mkhitaryan (right) and Rostov's Aleksandr Gatskan. Denis Tyrin

Manchester United held to draw in Russia

HENRIKH Mkhitaryan scored on his return from injury as Manchester United were held to a 1-1 draw by Rostov in their Europa League last-16 first-leg tie.

The Armenia international has had another spell on the sidelines with a hamstring injury, but started the game in Russia, which went ahead despite concerns from Manchester United about the state of the pitch.

Mkhitaryan opened the scoring in the 35th minute after a cutback from Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but United were pegged back by their hosts eight minutes after the break as Aleksandr Bukharov's effort beat Sergio Romero.

Chances were mostly at a premium during the match and neither side could find another goal to take the aggregate advantage into next Thursday's return leg at Old Trafford, although United do have an away goal in their favour.

"It was a very good performance in relation to the conditions. It was impossible to play better, impossible to play a passing game," Red Devils manager Jose Mourinho told BT Sport.

"We played what the game demanded and we played well. We made one defensive mistake.

"l remember as a kid some matches like this in Portugal - non-league and amateur pitches. To see my players coping with it and the humility to fight for every ball is a good feeling for me.

"We have an open result for the second leg with a little advantage for us. There are no injuries."

RESULTS: Apoel Nicosia 0 RSC Anderlecht 1, FC Copenhagen 2 Ajax 1, FC Rostov 1 Manchester United 1, Celta Vigo 2 FK Krasnodar 1,

FC Schalke 04 1 Borussia Monchengladbach 1, KAA Gent 2 KRC Genk 5, Lyon 4 Roma 2, Olympiakos 1 Besiktas 1

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