Words by Ciaran Coyle

Manchester United will be looking to secure their place in the Europa League knockout stages as they prepare to host Sheriff Tiraspol at Old Trafford.

The home side currently sit in 2nd position in Group E on 9 points, with Real Sociedad occupying top spot having won all of their first four games in this season’s competition.

Erik Ten Hag’s side will confirm their passage into the next phase if they avoid defeat against the Moldovan League leaders on Thursday night.

Sheriff have picked up just 3 points from their opening group games, with a 3-0 win against Omonia on game week 1 of the campaign making them unlikely early frontrunners in the group.

The Moldovan side will be kicking off on Thursday evening without Stjepan Tomas, who resigned from his post as manager of the side on Tuesday following his sides 1-0 defeat to Petrocub at the weekend.   

It was a fairly straightforward affair the last time these two sides met in the group with Erik Ten Hag’s men running out comfortable 2-0 winners at the Zimbru Stadium, with goals from Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo helping the Red Devils bounce back from their defeat to Sociedad on match day 1.

United will look to take confidence from their stellar home record in this competition, with  Thursday’s hosts having lost only 1 of their last 20 matches at Old Trafford in the Europa League.

Ten Hag’s side are also unbeaten in their last 6 games in all competitions and another good result on Thursday evening will set up a mouth-watering end to their group stage campaign as they would travel to Spain on the last day requiring a win by 2 clear goals to top Group E.

Team News

The United manager has confirmed that Harry Maguire and Anthony Martial will not be available to play in this fixture despite making their return to first team training earlier in the week.

They will also be without Rafael Varane, who suffered a hamstring injury in their 1-1 draw against Chelsea on Saturday evening.

Though it’s still unclear who will be in the away team dugout on the night, the caretaker boss will have full squad to choose from with the exception of Armel Zohouri who was sent off in their last group game.

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