Anthony Martial struck a crucial away goal as Manchester United ground out a 1-1 draw against Club Brugge in Belgium on Thursday in the first leg of their Europa League last 32 ties.
Nigerian forward Emmanuel Dennis lobbed a stranded Sergio Romero from 30 yards to give Belgian league leaders Brugge the lead on 15 minutes at a chilly, rainswept Jan Breydelstadion.
Martial though hauled United level before half-time with an excellent run and finish after pouncing on a defensive lapse from Brandon Mechele.
“It was a difficult game against a well-organized team, under difficult conditions. I don’t think it was one of the best games anyone has seen,” said United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
“It was a bit sloppy in terms of concentration but conditions with the pitch and ball make it hard.
“We got an away goal, we got a draw and we’re at home next week. Hopefully, we can finish the job.”
Solskjaer made six changes to the side that beat Chelsea on Monday, with Romero handed another start in Europe while Victor Lindelof returned from illness to form a three-man defence alongside Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw. New signing Odion Ighalo again began on the bench.
Brugge coach Philippe Clement, once of Coventry City, handed a European debut to 19-year-old Maxim De Cuyper with captain Ruud Vormer only fit enough to start among the substitutes.
De Cuyper nearly popped up with a goal inside three minutes when Dennis escaped Maguire and skipped towards Romero, his attempt to pull back resulting in Nemanja Matic hooking against the teenager and the ball ricocheting fortuitously over the bar.