Battle of Britain


PARIS. — Manchester United take on Liverpool in the plum tie of the Europa League last 16. England’s two most decorated sides will go head-to-head over two legs in Europe’s secondary club competition next month.

Liverpool will host the first leg at Anfield with Old Trafford staging the return after both sides came through their round-of-32 ties on Thursday night.

Jurgen Klopp’s men defeated Augsburg 1-0 on aggregate, while United overturned a first-leg deficit to beat FC Midtjylland 6-3 on aggregate.

Tottenham, the third English Premier League club in the draw, have been handed a tough test against Jurgen Klopp’s old side in Borussia Dortmund, while Gary Neville’s Valencia have an all-Spanish meeting with Athletic Bilbao.

Shakhtar Donetsk will play Anderlecht, FC Basel take on Sevilla and Villarreal meet Bayer Leverkusen, Fenerbahce face Braga and Sparta Praga clash with Lazio.

Meanwhile, Manchester United came from behind to beat Midtjylland 5-1 with a brace from debut striker Marcus Rashford while Tottenham beat Fiorentina 3-0 and Liverpool squeezed past Augsburg to make the last 16 of the Europa League on Thursday.

United had been trailing 2-1 from the first leg, and went 3-1 down on aggregate to the Danish champions before an own-goal, 18-year-old Rashford’s brace, an emphatic Ander Herrera penalty and a late Memphis Depay strike saw United qualify 6-3 on aggregate.

Tottenham started their game on a calmer note having drawn the first game in Florence 1-1, and eventually eased past the Italian’s 4-1 on aggregate.

Ryan Mason curled home a peach of an opener after being brilliantly set up by England midfielder Dele Alli on 25 minutes while Argentine Erik Lamela hammered home in a goalmouth scramble to make it 2-0 just after the hour.

An own-goal from Fiorentina’s Gonzalo Rodriguez completed the Italians’ misery.

An early James Milner penalty saw nervy Liverpool beat Augsburg 1-0 as Jurgen Klopp’s men also went into the hat for the last-16 on Friday.

United’s best player on the night was undoubtedly Memphis Depay, but Rashford, a graduate from United’s youth team, stole the headlines after getting his start after Anthony Martial picked up a hamstring injury in the warm up.

He first clipped home Juan Mata’s cut back from around the penalty spot on 64 minutes and from a similar position ten minutes later then tapped home from Guillermo Varela’s cross, giving United the lead for the first time in the contest.

“We’ve seen a special debut and hopefully his career will kick off from here,” former United player Paul Scholes told BT Sport. — AFP.

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