When Manchester United travelled to Turkish side Fenerbahce on Thursday for their Europa league fixture, Paul Pogba became the first casualty midway through the first half, as he limped out of the game. This came about after the Frenchman tried to receive the ball and find space to make a shot towards the opponents’ goal, but his right foot caught up in the scuffle, as he instantly gestured he had hurt himself. As soon as he left the pitch for striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic to replace him, sportsbetting odds slightly shifted in favor of Fenerbahce.
At the time, Fenerbahce has already scored an early goal courtesy of forward Moussa Sow gave within 65 seconds with an incredibly superb bicycle shot, which left United’s goalkeeper David de Gea helpless as the ball sailed over him.
Paul Pogba’s absence throughout the match was felt not only by the fans, but also by the players because the midfield became shaky almost immediately, as the Red Devils tried to find space to score in vain. His substitution for Ibrahimovic showed that United’s manager Jose Mourinho tried to shift play in order to pressurize Fenerbahce’s defense in a bid to level the score. However, their opponents seemed to be a hard nut to crack, as the referee blew the half time whistle before United could register on the scoreboard.
Paul Pogba currently remains a major doubt for his side, as Manchester United wait to clash with Wales side Swansea City on Sunday, a game they have to win to bring back their winning ways and to show the fans that they are still in the title race. The former Juventus midfielder showed how much he was straining before limping out of their Europa League game on Thursday, as fans and other players watched in disbelief.
The second half did not bear any fruit for the Red Devils, as the Turkish side continued with their surprise counter attacks and pressing the play forward to frustrate their opponents. Jeremain Lens brilliantly bent a 59th minute free kick, which also left de Gea watching the left side of the net shaking. The two stunning goals lefts Manchester United and their Portuguese boss trailing even though they dominated possession, which led to a too-little-too-late consolation goal from 25 yards in the dying minutes courtesy of Captain Wayne Rooney.
The defeat leaves Jose Mourinho’s side at risk of being eliminated from the Europa League because they are currently ranked second last in Group A, just a single point behind leaders Feyenoord and their rivals Fenerbahce. Only two games remain in the group stages and Mourinho has to go back to the drawing board to strategize on winning over the Dutch side at Old Trafford and Ukraine’s Zorya Luhansk on the road. In a deeper perspective, United’s fate to qualify for the next round lies in their own hands.
Pogba tried to stretch his legs after the injury scare, but the 89million man had to give way for Zlatan Ibrahimovic before the half-hour mark. Without a league win in the last four games, the Frenchman’s injury comes with a huge blow for the team, as they have struggled in the past one month to pick up maximum points. United last won a game in the EPL in September against Leicester and Mourinho is currently under pressure to deliver the same against Swansea on Sunday without Pogba.