MILAN — Manchester United’s attacking problems continued as it lost to Fenerbahce 2-1 in the Europa League on Thursday, leaving it at risk of a group-stage exit.
United beat Fenerbahce 4-1 at Old Trafford a fortnight ago, but arrived in Turkey after drawing with Burnley 0-0, during which it dominated and had 37 chances.
Again, Jose Mourinho’s side failed to convert a glut of possession into goals, but this time it also struggled to create opportunities, although its attacking intent increased briefly after Zlatan Ibrahimovic replaced the injured Paul Pogba half an hour in.
United’s struggles in front of goal, however, are being reflected by Ibrahimovic, who netted five goals in as many matches to get his career with the club off to a flying start, but has managed to score just once in the last 11 matches.
United’s David De Gea was by far the busier of the two goalkeepers.
Moussa Sow put Fenerbahce in front after only 66 seconds with a stunning overhead kick from just inside the area, and Jermaine Lens doubled the Turkish side’s lead with a magnificent free kick in the 59th, much to the delight of a raucous home crowd. De Gea hardly moved for it.
Fenerbahce threatened to score a third. Emmanuel Emenike should have sealed matters but just failed to connect with Lens’ cross, at full stretch in front of an empty goal.
Wayne Rooney netted a late consolation, smashing the ball into the top corner from 30 yards to move level with Ruud van Nistelrooy on 38 European goals for United. The captain is two goals from tying Bobby Charlton’s record of 249 for United.
Fenerbahce leapfrogged United into top spot in Group A, level on points with Feyenoord, which drew at Zorya Luhansk 1-1. United slipped to third, one point off the pace.