Europa League: Man Utd embarrassed, Liverpool & Tottenham earn draws

Manchester United's Manager Louis Van Gaal © Paul Childs
An underperforming Manchester United hit new lows last night, humbled by Danish minnows Midtjylland in the Europa League.

It has been a campaign to forget for United fans both domestically and on the continent, with the latest defeat invoking the ire of the traveling support.

Already frustrated at having to fork out $100 for a ticket to attend the clash at the MCH Arena in west Jutland, Red Devils fans were vocal from the terraces in expressing their disappointment at the side's performance.

Memphis Depay struck to give the Premier League side the lead in the first half, but goals from Pione Sisto and Nigerian forward Paul Onuachu gave the Scandinavian team a famous win.

Although the result is a source of embarrassment for under-fire coach Louis van Gaal, the manner of the performance, especially in the second half, should be of real concern.

Goalkeeper Sergio Romero, deputizing for David De Gea, who picked up an injury in the warm-up, pulled off a number of saves to prevent what could have been an even more ignominious defeat.

Van Gaal admitted in the aftermath that his side were second best.

"The fans can criticize. They can do because when you see the second half maybe they are right," the experienced Dutchman said.

"We have to improve and then the fans shall support us again. We have seen that in the 18 months I am here.

"They are disappointed, like we are. I'm very grateful for the fans who supported us but we wanted to win and we have to win at Old Trafford, and then we are in the next round. We have to do it but it's not easy."

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp was back in Germany for his first competitive clash since being appointed manager at Anfield, and saw his side draw 0-0 with Augsburg.

Although the Bundesliga team are struggling domestically, it was potentially a tricky fixture for the English side.

In a bland encounter, Daniel Sturridge had chances to give Liverpool an away goal, while Augsburg substitute Ji Dong-won struck the woodwork for the hosts.

Liverpool will be confident of progressing with a win at home next week, but face Manchester City in the Capital One Cup final a mere three days later, meaning Klopp may choose to rest a number of key players for the return leg.

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp © Peter Cziborra

Tottenham recorded a 1-1 draw against a Fiorentina side that eliminated them from the competition last season, and the result means Spurs remain in the hunt for three trophies.

Nacer Chadli, who started the game in place of Harry Kane as the North London side's lone striker, netted a first-half penalty to give his team the lead at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.

However, Federico Bernardeschi's deflected effort on the hour mark meant the spoils were shared.

Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino made seven changes to the side that beat Manchester City at the weekend, with his squad set to be stretched over the next three months as they look for silverware.

Elsewhere, it was disappointment for Russian team Krasnodar, who lost 1-0 away to Sparta Prague. Still, the narrow scoreline means the Russians are still very much in with a chance of progressing when they host Sparta in the return leg next week.

In other results, Gary Neville’s Valencia finally looked to be finding some sort of form, hammering Rapid Vienna 6-0.
Current Europa League holders Sevilla beat Norwegian team Molde 3-0, while Villarreal gained an impressive 1-0 home win over Napoli. German side Dortmund, currently second in the Bundesliga, eight points behind leaders Bayern Munich, gained a 2-0 home win over Porto and look well-placed to progress to the next round.

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