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Man United recover to break Omonia hearts in Nicosia

europa league group e omonia v manchester united
Substitute Marcus Rashford (left) earned Man United a nervy 3-2 Europa League win at the GSP stadium in Nicosia

Substitute Marcus Rashford scored twice as Manchester United fought back from a goal down to beat Omonia Nicosia 3-2 in Europa League Group E on Thursday night.

Real Sociedad stayed top of the group standings thanks to a 2-0 win at Sheriff Tiraspol secured by goals from David Silva and Aritz Elustondo.

United, thrashed 6-3 by Manchester City on Sunday, dominated the opening stages but were stunned in the 35th minute when their Cypriot hosts scored through Karim Ansarifard following a counter-attack.

As the teams went into the break, boos and whistles rained down from the stands from the United supporters.

Rashford emerged after half-time and needed only eight minutes to equalise with a well-placed shot from just outside the box into the far corner.

The England forward then produced a clever backheel to set up fellow substitute Antony Martial who put United ahead.

Rashford struck again six minutes from time, tapping in Cristiano Ronaldo’s pass, but Nikolas Panayiotou pulled one back for Omonia a minute later to ensure a tense finale.

United moved on to six points in the group standings, three behind leaders Sociedad.

Speaking to BT Sport after the final whistle, Omonia manager Neil Lennon said: “To score two goals against them is more than I could have imagined. Their third goal killed us.”

Asked for his thoughts on next week’s return leg in Manchester, the Northern Irishman added: “We’ve seen them up close now and how good they are. We saw weaknesses too. Some of our players stood up really well in the game.

“The gulf between the two teams is great but we made a good go of it.”

europa league group e omonia v manchester united
Nikolas Panayiotou set up a tense finish with Omonia’s second goal five minutes from the end

Lazio, looking to bounce back from an embarrassing 5-1 loss at Midtjylland, could only manage a 0-0 draw at Sturm Graz in Group F.

In Group C, Ludogorets and Finnish champions HJK Helsinki fought out a 1-1 draw in Helsinki.

PSV Eindhoven’s Yorbe Vertessen scored twice in a 5-1 rout of their hosts FC Zurich in Group A.

In Belgrade, Red Star crushed Hungary’s Ferencvaros 4-1 to give the 1991 European Cup winners hope of advancing from Group H and Wissam Ben Yedder was the hero for AS Monaco, scoring twice in a 3-1 home win over Turkish side Trabzonspor.

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