FK Rostov vs. Manchester United / Europa League – After elimination of French St. Etienne in previous round the Red Devils from Manchester will play the first leg of the Europa League round of 16 in Russia, where will face its vice-champion Rostov, which eliminated Sparta Prague in the round of 32. Let’s add that this will be the first head-to-head between the two teams in history. Begins: 09.03.2017 – 19:00 CET
That shouldn’t be surprising as Rostov joined the upper echelon of the Russian football only recently e.g. last season Rostov was in the race for the title all the way till the end of season. However, CSKA Moscow has won the title while Rostov had to satisfy with direct qualification for the Champions League for the first time in its history, which was anyway a great success for this not widely known team. Rostov won five points from six rounds of the group phase of Champions League and being third placed team at least earned to play in the knockout phase of the Europa League, from which it eliminated Sparta Prague recently
Coach Daniliante players had firstly won at home 4-0 and therefore could play more relax in the second leg in Prague, where they verified their place in the round of 16 with a draw 1-1. Now, ahead of them is far more difficult task against very good English. However, Rostov is in great shape ahead of this match with Manchester United, which is best confirmed last weekend when it steamrolled Tomsk away by even 6-0 and now just one point separates it from positions that lead to Europe. Let’s add that at the moment out of action are only injured goalkeeper Dzhanaev, while it is questionable will recently recovered forward Poloz be ready for this match against the United.
Probable lineups FK Rostov: Medvedev – Mevlja, Navas, Granat – Kalachev, Erokhin, Gatcan, Noboa, Kudryashov – Azmoun, Bukharov
Fans of the team that won the most titles in England would far more prefer if this is a match of the Champions League than of Europa League, but on the other hand experienced coach Mourinho has stress that he doesn’t underestimate at all this competition and will try in all manners to win the title in it. On top of it, the United’s probably the strongest competitor Tottenham was eliminated while the Red Devils have on the other hand routinely did the job against French St. Etienne as they firstly defeated them at home 3-0 and then away by 1-0.
In the meantime their trophy collection has grown for the one from the League Cup as they won Southampton 3-2 in the final played at Wembley. Last weekend they merely drew at home with Bournemouth 1-1, and now the United has three points fewer than fourth-placed Liverpool, although with one match fewer. We need to stress that on Monday evening Manchester United will play a very demanding match in the FA Cup against Chelsea, so they will primarily try to stay undefeated in the first leg in Rostov. Let’s add that out of action for this match are injured midfielder Mkhitaryan and suspended stopper Bailly.
Probable lineups Manchester United: de Gea – Valencia, Jones, Smalling, Blind – Carrick, Herrera – Mata, Pogba, Rashford – Ibrahimovic
FK Rostov – Manchester United PICK
Given that Rostov is regarded in Russia as predominantly home team and on the other hand the guests from Manchester goes to East of Europe tired from playing on multiple fronts, we have decided to give a small advantage to the vice-champions of Russia, although we have a backup option in a case of their minimal defeat.
Pick: Asian handicap +1 Rostov
Odds: 1.57 at betvictor (down to 1.54 can be played)
Besides, we expect defensive approach by both teams, as it is the most important for both of them to stay undefeated before the second leg in Manchester.
Pick: under 2.5 goals
Odds: 1.70 at interwetten (down to 1.65 can be played)