Partizan Belgrade of Serbia striker, Sadiq Umar will on Thursday night be all out to cause a shock away win against Manchester United of England in the UEFA Europa League, as his side hold firm on their good form at home, megasportsarena.com gathered.
It promises to be a huge task, though, for Umar and his teammates from Belgrade, as The Red Devils will seek home comfort, especially as Ole Gonnar Solksjaer’s side also got a narrow 1-0 win during the first fixture last month.
Solksjaer, though, has been handed a fresh injury blow, as Victor Lindelof will miss the clash, with the Swedish defender joining Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba, Luke Shaw, Axel Tuanzebe, Diogo Dalot, Angel Gomes, Eric Bailly and Timothy Fosu-Mensah out with injury.
Former Liverpool star Lazar Markovic is the only major absentee for Partizan Belgrade ahead of their trip to Old Trafford, but Umar’s coach, Savo Milosevic is likely to stick with the same squad, structure and tactics that ran United so close in the reverse fixture in Belgrade.
On the other hand, Solskjaer is expected to stick to the 4-2-3-1 formation on Thursday, having fielded a three-man backline in the reverse fixture last month. Sergio Romero ought to deputise for David de Gea in the Manchester United goal, while Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo should pair in the heart of the defence, thereby according Harry Maguire some rest.
Despite having only been played three times, this fixture is one steeped in the illustrious history of both clubs. The first two meetings between the two took place in the semi-finals of the 1966 European Cup, where Partizan edged the two-legged affair 2-1 on aggregate, after winning their home leg 2-0, while their next meeting was over 50 years later when Anthony Martial’s penalty was all that could separate the sides two weeks ago.
However, despite their relatively glorious histories, both sides have struggled domestically this season, as United’s fall from grace since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson continues, and they are currently lying 10th in the English Premier League, while Partizan are also disappointing in the Serbian Super Liga, in fourth place, ten points off of leaders and local rivals, Red Star.
Umar’s coach stated: “It will be much more difficult given that they are playing at home now, as everywhere in the world the home team has the advantage and we will have to adapt to that situation as well. If we can withstand the pressure of the famous stadium and that pressure on the pitch in the first half, then maybe we have a better chance.”