Franck Kessie was the benchmark . . . Until Paul Pogba stepped on that pitch

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Paul Pogba

Manchester United’s meeting with AC Milan in their UEFA Europa League Round of 16 tie last night ended 1-0 to the English outfit. After the first leg ended 1-1 at Old Trafford, Milan only needed a draw to qualify to the quarter-finals of this season’s edition of the competition.

A goalless first half was dominated by the Italian outfit, but they lacked the finishing touch to add to their advantage. Franck Kessie was the stand-out performer in midfield for AC Milan, as the Ivorian destroyer broke down most of United’s attacks – and helped his team dominate the battle in midfield against a United team consisting of the likes of Fred, Scott McTominay and Bruno Fernandes.

Milan seemed well on their way to secure their qualification to the quarter-finals on away goals before the game was turned on its head by a substitution made at half time.

Paul Pogba was sent onto the pitch at the start of the second half to replace Marcus Rashford after the Englishman had an anonymous first half. The World Cup-winning midfielder made an immediate impact off the bench as he soon scored United’s only goal on the night.

Milan were unable to clear their lines as a strike from Daniel James caused havoc in their penalty area. Fred held his composure to roll the ball to the Frenchman but Pogba still had a lot of work to do as he slotted his effort past Gigi Donnarumma from a tight angle.

Pogba’s 49th-minute goal made the decisive impact needed for United on the night, as the match ended 1-0 in their favour – helping Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side progress into the quarter-finals of the competition.

Kessie’s first-half heroics were cancelled out by Pogba’s strike of precision and perfection, as the Ivorian was rendered ineffective as soon as the Frenchman stamped his authority on the game – being the best player on the pitch last night.

ESPN’s analysis of Paul Pogba’s performance against AC Milan
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By Surjit Patowary

Extremely passionate, detail-oriented when it comes to football. Obsessed with the news. Fact-checking is life!

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