Martial penalty saves Man United from loss
Solskjaer says his side needs to try to build momentum after Anthony Martial penalty secured their first away win since March at Partizan Belgrade.
The penalty kick ensured United moved top of their Europa League group and will qualify for the knockout stages. This they will if they beat Partizan in the reverse fixture at Old Trafford on November 7.
Martial making his first start since August sent Vladimir Stojkovic the wrong way from 12 yards. This after United’s 19-year-old defender Brandon Williams won the spot-kick.
Williams’ burst forward to draw a foul from Nemanja Miletic was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise uninspiring United display.
It helped Solskjaer’s team to their first win away from home in 11 attempts with their only shot on target.
Williams and James Garner were among seven changes made by United’s Norwegian boss. From the side that started in the Premier League against Liverpool on Sunday.
Initially, United controlled possession. The match had Scott McTominay wastefully heading Juan Mata’s free-kick wide and Jesse Lingard’s curling effort striking the right-hand post.
However, the hosts carved out chances of their own. On-loan, Roma forward Umar Sadiq bended a 20-yard strike against the post.
United keeper, Sergio Romero superbly preserved the visitors’ lead. This he did by parrying Seydouba Soumah’s drive after the midfielder cut past Harry Maguire as Solskjaer’s side hung on to record their first win on their travels since their Champions League victory over Paris St-Germain.
Partizan pushes United
While Partizan trooped off the pitch defeated, applause nevertheless rang around the FK Partizan Stadium in appreciation of their efforts.
It was certainly a marked contrast to the side’s last two European home games, which were played behind closed doors after racist abuse by supporters.
“The crowd was unbelievable.” Said Solskjaer. “I think the crowd should be very proud of their team. And the team should be very proud of their crowed because it was an excellent atmosphere.”
“You know what we talked about before the game. The fans were great.”
At the poignant venue for United, it was here that the Busby Babes lined up for the final time before the Munich air disaster in 1958 Savo Milosevic’s team initially appeared in awe of the visitors.
However, as the game wore on and with Solskjaer’s team increasingly giving possession away cheaply, Partizan pressed forward.
Sadiq caused Phil Jones and Maguire problems, while midfielder Bibras Natkho’s influence grew with Takuma Asano also seeing his late header saved by Romero.