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Rob BlanchetteFeatured ColumnistMarch 15, 2017

Manchester United host FC Rostov in their second-leg encounter of the 2017 UEFA Europa League round of 16 on Thursday.

The aggregate score is tied at 1-1 after the Red Devils grabbed an away goal in the first leg in Russia.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is expected to return to the starting XI after missing United’s defeat in the FA Cup at Chelsea due to a domestic suspension.

Here is how you can watch the vital second leg:

 

Date: Thursday, March 16

Time: 8:05 p.m. GMT/ 4:05 p.m. ET

TV: BT Sport 2 (UK only), Fox Sports 1 (U.S. only)

Stream: BT Sport App, FOX Sports, fubo.tv

 

Preview 

Manchester United's French midfielder Paul Pogba (R) fights for the ball with Rostov's defender Fedor Kudryashov (L) during the UEFA Europa League round of 16 football match between Rostov and Manchester United at Olimp-2 Arena in Rostov-on-Don on March 9

ALEXANDER NEMENOV/Getty Images

United’s hopes of retaining the FA Cup ended with their defeat at Stamford Bridge on Monday, and the Old Trafford giants will now turn their attention to the chase for European glory.

The Europa League offers manager Jose Mourinho a back-door route into next season’s UEFA Champions League, and with the top four teams in the Premier League packed close together—excluding leaders Chelsea—focus on Thursday’s game will be of paramount importance.

United remain the favourite to win the trophy, according to Oddschecker, but the Russian Premier League outfit who finished second in their division last term have proved they will be no easy hurdle to jump at Old Trafford.

Rostov's Spanish defender Cesar Navas (L) and Rostov's Russian goalkeeper Nikita Medvedev (C) fail to stop a goal by Manchester United's Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic (back) during the UEFA Europa League round of 16 football match between Rostov and

ALEXANDER NEMENOV/Getty Images

James Phillips of the Daily Star reported Mourinho is likely to revert to a 4-2-3-1 formation after the cup defeat at Stamford Bridge, as United chase the goals they need to advance.

Ibrahimovic was missed as Chelsea grabbed a slim 1-0 victory against 10-man United, but the Swedish icon is available to play in European matches.

According to Warren Haughton of The Sun, Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial are doubts, while Ander Herrera and Eric Bailly are suspended for the vital clash.

Manchester United's Portuguese coach Jose Mourinho takes part in a training session on the eve of the UEFA Europe League round of 16, first leg match between FC Rostov and Manchester United in Rostov on March 8, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Yuri MALTSEV        (Ph

YURI MALTSEV/Getty Images

Rostov feature in the knockout stages of a major European competition for the first time, and they have lost only three of their last 13 matches in Europe, per Haughton.

Dmitry Poloz remains the danger man for the visitors having scored five goals and assisted twice in the tournament for the Selmashi.

The Russian outfit will be without midfield duo Aleksandr Gatskan and Timofei Kalachev due to suspension, per Haughton.

The awful pitch at Rostov was the talking point during the first leg, with parts of the surface severely worn, but the improved conditions at Old Trafford could favour the visitors, according to BT Sport analyst and former United midfielder Paul Ince (h/t BT Sport Football):


Mourinho’s first year in charge of United has been a progressive period, and the Red Devils appear a different side to the one under former coach Louis van Gaal.

United have picked up the habit of regularly avoiding defeat, but they must now turn draws into victories to take the next step in their development.

The hosts hold an away goal after the first leg, but a clean sheet will be the priority as United attempt to jump into the last eight.



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