FAMILIAR FACES BACK AT OT
We faced former Red Zlatan Ibrahimovic in our last 16 tie against AC Milan and two more winners of the Europa League with United back in 2017 were back to take us on in our last-four tie against Roma – Chris Smalling and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Smalling, 31, spent 10 years at Old Trafford, although his final season was spent on loan in Rome before he sealed a permanent switch last October. Mkhitaryan was a Red for 18 months but left in 2018 to join Arsenal before following in Smalling’s steps and joining Roma permanently after a successful loan spell.
While it was a memorable first-half for the visitors in terms of goals, it was one to forget for injuries. The Giallorossi lost three key players in the space of 32 minutes with injury problems and it will be interesting to see whether all three will be fit enough for the second leg a week tonight. After just five minutes former Aston Villa midfielder Jordan Veretout pulled up while trying to escape the attentions of Luke Shaw and was replaced by Gonzalo Villar. Goalkeeper Pau Lopez was next to leave the action, on 28 minutes, after damaging his shoulder, leading to the introduction of 37-year-old second-choice stopper Antonio Mirante. Defender Leonardo Spinazzola then made his way off after 37 minutes, with Bruno Peres coming on. After not making any more changes at the break, that was the last change the visitors could make due to the rules stating you could only make subs in three blocks, as well as at half-time.