UEFA Europa League Group A
Manchester United vs. Feyenoord
Venue: Old Trafford
Date: Thursday, 24 November 2016
Kick-off: 20:05 GMT
Manchester United produced a fine 4-0 victory over Feyenoord, giving themselves a good chance of qualifying for the knockout stages of this season’s Europa League.
Wayne Rooney opened the scoring, surpassing Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record of leading scorer in European competition for the club, before assisting for Juan Mata midway through the second half.
A Brad Jones own goal sealed the win, before substitute Jesse Lingard bagged a stoppage time strike to put some gloss on proceedings.
Two chances fell Paul Pogba’s way early on, heading over from Antonio Valencia’s cross before seeing a long range drive tipped over by Jones.
The resulting corner saw Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s shot blocked, as Michael Carrick’s rebound squeezed underneath of Jones but saw captain Dirk Kuyt clear the lines.
Feyenoord grew into the game, with a fine double save from Sergio Romero denying Nicolai Jorgensen and Kuyt.
The record breaking goal was started by Rooney himself, playing a ball in-field to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who timed the return pass to perfection, allowing Rooney to dink the ball delicately over Jones in front of the Stretford End.
There was time for Tonny Vilhena, match-winner from the reverse fixture, to strike a shot into the ground which was held with ease, as half-time arrived.
Ibrahimovic and Mkhitaryan saw shots blocked after the interval, as the latter struck the side netting after Daley Blind after fired off target.
Pogba saw a shot held before the lead was doubled, as Ibrahimovic slipped in Rooney, who showed great vision and awareness to reverse a pass into the path of Mata, for the simplest of tap-ins.
The lively Mkhitaryan then threaded a pass to Ibrahimovic, who should’ve done better as his one-on-one shot was saved by Jones’ right boot.
The Swedish striker was involved in the third goal, after receiving the ball from Marcus Rashford in the left-hand channel, his attempted pull-back near the by-line struck the left boot of Jones, diverting the ball into the back of the net.
Ibrahimovic then turned provider as Rashford saw a shot held, as Jones denied Lingard twice in quick succession.
The Warrington born attacker wasn’t to be denied for a third time, as his weaker foot strike curled towards goal, and despite a fingertip from Jones, the ball struck the inside of the post for 4-0, to round off an impressive display from the hosts.
With performances picking up, the results were required to match, and the three points tonight means a draw away at Zorya Luhansk in the final group game will be enough to seal progression to the round of 32, with a chance of finishing in first place depending on the other result.
This fixture also saw a couple of players rested, fresh for Sunday’s league outing against West Ham United, in the first of a double header versus the Hammers.
The squad players will be needed again next Wednesday in the EFL Cup tie when West Ham return, but based on tonight’s showing, Jose Mourinho has enough players to trust and rotate his selection when necessary.
Manchester United: Romero; Valencia, Jones, Blind, Shaw; Carrick, Pogba; Mata (Rashford 70), Rooney (Memphis 82), Mkhitaryan (Lingard 82); Ibrahimovic.
Subs not used: De Gea, Rojo, Herrera, Fellaini.
Manager: Jose Mourinho
Feyenoord: Jones, Karsdorp, Dammers, van Heijden, Nelom; Tapia, Kuyt (Berghuis 61), Vilhena; Toornstra (Basacikoglu 78), Jorgensen (Kramer 73), Elia.
Subs not used: Hansson, Woudenberg, Nieuwkoop, Vejinovic.
Manager: Giovanni van Bronckhorst