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Fenerbahçe 2-1 Manchester United: Pogba injury adds to insulting performance

Manchester United suffered a deserved defeat away at Fenerbahçe on Thursday.

Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Manchester United have work to do if they're to make it into the Europa League knockout stages, having suffered a 2-1 defeat in a poor performance away at Fenerbahçe on Thursday. José Mourinho's side were lucky to find themselves only two goals down before Wayne Rooney netted late on -- a goal that proved nothing more than a consolation.

United made a terrible start to the match, but bad luck more than bad defending was at fault as Fener opened the scoring in just the second minute of play. A cross from Hasan Ali Kaldırım on the left was caught sweetly on the overhead kick by Moussa Sow, whose acrobatic effort sailed over a stranded David de Gea and into the back of the net.

Misfortune proved to be the order of the first half for United, who dominated possession without reward. Wayne Rooney should've equalised after being slipped through by Anthony Martial midway through the half, though a characteristically poor touch saw the chance went awry. United's misery was compounded a few minutes later, when Paul Pogba limped off the field with an unspecified injury; Zlatan Ibrahimović, rather than Henrikh Mkhitaryan, was his chosen replacement.

Despite some probing attacking play, the closest United came to drawing level came courtesy of a low Marcus Rashford cross just past the half hour. It caused problems for Fener's veteran shot-stopper Volkan Demirel, though shot-stop he did, and the halftime whistle sounded with the hosts still in front.

The second half started no different from the first, with United continuing to dominate without an end product. Their best effort arrived just short of the hour mark, though a Juan Mata snapshot fizzed wide of Demirel's far post after a hurried clearance.

United were paid for their impotence just a couple of minutes later, when Jeremain Lens hit a spectacular free-kick past de Gea and into the back of the net. The Spaniard was left rooted to the spot by the Dutchman's curling effort, as United's difficult task got even harder. It was the catalyst for Mourinho to introduce Henrikh Mkhitaryan in place of Marcus Rashford, but one couldn't help feeling it was far too late.

Indeed, Fener should've put the game beyond all doubt on the counter with just over 20 minutes left. A Lens cross from the right found Emenike free in the area, though his poor touch allowed de Gea to smother. He went close again in similar fashion 10 minutes later, though this time Lens overhit his cross with Emenike scampering towards the back post. United were hanging on at two down.

United looked set to go down with a whimper, until captain Wayne Rooney pulled one back with a fine long-distance effort with just a couple of minutes left on the clock. His hit-and-hope effort was very sweetly struck, and flew into the top corner of Demirel's net. It was a goal of a quality far higher than United's overall performance, and, fittingly, it proved nothing more than a consolation.