Superb Marcus Rashford strike secures Manchester United Europa League quarter-final spot

Marcus Rashford of Manchester United celebrates after scoring his team's goal during the UEFA Europa League last 16 second leg match between Real Betis and Manchester United at the Estadio Benito Villamarin on March 16, 2023 in Seville, Spain.
(Image credit: Fermin Rodriguez/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

A fine strike from Marcus Rashford ensured Manchester United (opens in new tab)'s comfortable passage to the quarter-finals of the Europa League, as Erik ten Hag's side beat Real Betis 1-0 in the second leg of their last 16 tie in Seville and 5-1 on aggregate.

With a healthy 4-1 lead from the first leg, United already had one foot in the last eight, but there might have been a little cause for concern during a gripping first half at the Estadio Benito Villamarin, where Betis came out all guns blazing and spurned several decent chances to reduce the deficit.

But any lingering doubts about United's progress were firmly put to bed 11 minutes after the break as Rashford – a thorn in Betis' side until he was substituted off on the hour mark – unleashed a venomous effort from 25 yards to leave goalkeeper Rui Silva with absolutely no chance.

It continued a superb season for the 25-year-old, who had already surpassed his previous single-campaign goals total and has now found the net 27 times in all competitions this term – including 19 in 24 appearances since the World Cup.

Rashford is also currently the top scorer in the 2022/23 Europa League with six goals – the previous of which opened the scoring in the first leg of this tie.

United are through to the last quarter-finals of the Europa League for the fourth time in as many appearances – and the 28th European quarter-final in their history.

Premier League leaders Arsenal (opens in new tab) will be hoping to join United in the last eight; the Gunners host Sporting Lisbon in the second leg of their last 16 tie later on Thursday evening.

The draw for the Europa League quarter-finals (opens in new tab) takes place on Friday afternoon.

United are next in action on Sunday, when they entertain Fulham (opens in new tab) in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.

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Tom Hancock started freelancing for FourFourTwo in April 2019 and has also written for The Analyst and When Saturday Comes, among others. He supports Wycombe Wanderers and has a soft spot for Wealdstone. A self-confessed statto, he has been known to watch football with a spreadsheet (or several) open...