BELGRADE – Manchester United ground out a 1-0 win at Partizan Belgrade in a tense Europa League Group L clash on Thursday as Anthony Martial's 43rd-minute penalty put his side in a commanding position to reach the knockout stages.
The match was played under tight security amid fears of crowd trouble but it produced a cracking atmosphere as Partizan coach Savo Milosevic's appeals to home fans to refrain from offensive chants proved successful.
United top of the group on seven points from three games, two ahead of Dutch side AZ Alkmaar who thrashed Kazakhstan's Astana 6-0 at home. Partizan have four points and Astana none.
The first two chances fell to United as left back Brandon Williams glanced a close-range header wide at the far post after Juan Mata floated in a free kick before Jesse Lingard hit the post as he picked up a loose ball on the edge of the area.
Partizan striker Umar Sadiq rattled the woodwork with a fierce shot from 25 metres and Japanese winger Takuma Asano fired just wide as the home side came to life, only to fall behind just before halftime.