Henrikh Mkhitaryan has sent a message to Manchester United fans following their side’s 1-1 draw with FC Rostov in the Europa League, making note of his crucial away goal heading into the second leg next Thursday.
The Armenian marked his return to action with a well taken goal in the 35th minute following a rare moment of crisp interplay between Marouane Fellaini and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Jose Mourinho’s men were pegged back through a well-taken Aleksandr Bukharov goal soon after half time but will enter the second leg as clear favourites.
Mkhitaryan took to social media after the game to express his delight at returning to the scoresheet and thanked Man United’s travelling supporters.
— Henrikh Mkhitaryan (@HenrikhMkh) March 9, 2017
This was not football as United knew it; this was not the type of football intended for an audience seeking enjoyment or thrills. It’s hard to exactly pin down what this was. European football, at least to the neutral observer, comes in the form of what the watching world witnessed on Wednesday between Barcelona and Paris Saint Germain: a pristine surface, an enthralling, aesthetically pleasing match-up between two superpowers under the lights of an enormous, historical ground.
The trip to Rostov, in this sense, should be regarded as something of a spectacular phenomenon. Not for its quality, of course, but for the fact that, for one night only, a European knockout game was taken back to the stone ages. Mourinho’s men perhaps deserve credit for successfully navigating such an alien environment.