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Nigeria’s Dennis torments Manchester United in Europa League draw

Club Brugge’s forward Emmanuel Dennis was in his best form as he helped his club to a 1-1 draw against Manchester United in their Europa…

Club Brugge’s forward Emmanuel Dennis was in his best form as he helped his club to a 1-1 draw against Manchester United in their Europa League last 32 first leg match on Thursday.

Club Brugge looked well placed to secure the “miracle” win their head coach Philippe Clement spoke of in the build-up when Dennis caught Sergio Romero in no man’s land to slot home.

Anthony Martial however, saved Manchester United’s blushes just before the interval.

After Monday’s impressive, and much-needed, Premier League win at top-four rivals Chelsea, Solskjaer made six changes in Belgium for the first leg of this round of 32 tie.

United and Club Brugge will resume battle at Old Trafford with the score poised at 1-1 after Martial raced through to level.

The normally dependable Argentina international’s poor positioning from former Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet’s goal-kick in the 15th minute summed up a largely poor first-half performance by the visitors.

From a throw-in , Brandon Mechele let the ball bounce and it was gathered by Martial who darted through to level coolly.

The France international, who opened the scoring at Stamford Bridge on Monday, also hit the post as United attempted to end a shocking first half with an undeserved lead.

The second period was a more even affair at the tired Jan Breydelstadion, with both sides having chances to take a lead into next week’s second leg in Manchester.

Solskjaer will be relieved to have emerged with an away goal and draw given how Club Brugge, unbeaten in two months, threatened from the outset.

Dennis was quick to cause problems and Victor Lindelof had to put his head where it hurts before Nemanja Matic helped clear in the opening minutes.

United were struggling to pass, never mind create a clear-cut chance, epitomised by Maguire’s incredibly poor five-yard attempt that found the advertising hoarding rather than team-mate Lindelof just inside his own half.

However, the leveller gave United renewed energy and Martial somehow made enough room to get away a shot from just outside the box that rattled the near post as half-time approached.

Solskjaer’s side continued in the ascendancy immediately after the break and Diogo Dalot’s cross was nearly directed home by Jesse Lingard, while Martial’s surprise attempt to lay off to Juan Mata rather than shoot then let off Club Brugge.

The home side settled after that frantic start and Romero denied Dennis at his near post.

Pereira and Ruud Vormer had attempts at either end as play became stretched, with Odion Ighalo introduced in a bid to snatch a late winner.