Manchester United have been drawn against Belgian club Anderlecht, while Ajax will play German club Schalke in the quarter-finals of the Europa League.
In the round-of-16, Manchester United edged past their Russian opponent Rostov 2-1 on aggregate after Juan Mata’s second-half goal in the second leg on Thursday gave them a hard-fought win at the Old Trafford.
United, who are the only remaining English club in the competition, will now play Anderlecht in the quarter-finals. They will travel to Brussels to face them in the first leg on April 13, while they will host them in the return leg on April 20 at the Old Trafford.
This will be the seventh meeting between the two clubs in the European competitions, and Manchester United are yet to lose against the Belgian club. One of Manchester United’s most famous wins in Europe came in their first meeting against Anderlecht back in the 1957 European Cup. The Red Devils won 10-0, their biggest victory on record, against the Purple & White.
The last meeting between United and Anderlecht, who are Belgium’s most successful club, came in the 2000-01 season of the Champions League, and a hat-trick from Andy Cole helped them secure a 6-3 win on the aggregate.
Jose Mourinho’s men are the favorites to win the competition at this point and while the Europa League might not have been high on their priority list at the start of the season, their recent exit from the FA Cup at the hands of Chelsea and consistently mediocre performances in the league means they will have to shift their focus to Europe at the moment. The club is currently struggling to make their way into the top-four of the Premier League, and the Europa League seems to be their best bet of qualifying for the Champions League next season.
In the other quarter-final fixtures, Celta Vigo will host the other Belgian club in the competition K.R.C Genk, while Ajax, who knocked out FC Copenhagen 3-2 on aggregate in the last round, will play Schalke 04. Lyon, who defeated AS Roma 5-4 in a scintillating tie in the last round, will face Besiktas.
Europa League Quarter-Final Draw:
Anderlecht vs Manchester United
Celta Vigo vs Genk
Ajax vs Schalke
Lyon vs Besiktas