Manchester United kicked off this season’s UEFA Champions League in fine style, as they continued their spectacular form from the Premier League and beat Swiss side Basel by 3 goals to nil. Old Trafford was host to a dominant home performance, and saw goals come in from Marouane Fellaini, Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford.
The away side did create a few opportunities and knocked on the door a couple times, but were not good enough to break De Gea’s clean sheet. The second match of the group saw CSKA Moscow beat Benfica 2-1, which leaves the Red Devils on the top of the table, with things looking bright. The English side found unlikely heroes in the match, and on a rain-soaked night in Manchester, it was Mourinho’s magic that stole the show.
Here are the player ratings from the game:
1. David De Gea – 8
With not much to do, the Spaniard had an easy opening night in this year’s competition. The keeper had to make a couple smart saves and a few half stops – efforts that were enough to guarantee him another clean sheet. Bread and butter stuff for De Gea.
2. Ashley Young – 7
The player was in inspired form on his return from injury for the club. Eventually captaining the match in the end, he was also the assist provider for Fellaini’s goal with a beautiful cross from the right wing. Was a bit lucky to escape a yellow card early in the game.
3. Victor Lindelof – 6
An important match for him to get into the swing of things. Defence was not exceptionally tested, but a few good passes and decent positioning would have impressed Jose Mourinho.
4. Chris Smalling – 5
Looked like a man who needs game time and quick improvement. Seemed to be out of sorts at times, but had the pace to save himself when needed.
5. Daley Blind – 7
A solid game for the Dutchman. Good reading of the play, ball distribution, and providing the cross that allowed Lukaku to score his header.
6. Nemanja Matic – 7
Another game and another hugely impressive display by United’s summer signing. Strong on the ball, and his physical presence was seen covering major ground. Turning out to be a game changer for the Red Devils in the middle of the park.
7. Paul Pogba – NA
Was looking good and full of solid running before a hamstring injury saw him being subbed off in the first half. Did start the match as United’s captain – a night he will remember for both positive and negative reasons.
8. Anthony Martial – 6
Was a threat whenever given the ball and allowed to run at defenders. Was out of the game at times, and stuck to the wide lines more often than not. Had a few chances to enter his name on the scoresheet, but failed to do so.
9. Henrikh Mkhitaryan – 6
The player could have easily gotten himself a couple goals had it not been for some poor finishing. Great passing abilities shown, and dribbling was smooth as always. However, far from his best on the night.
10. Juan Mata – 5
Did not do much to affect the game. Quick passing and few crossing attempts, but was not a heavy influencer in the attacking third.
11. Romelu Lukaku – 8
Put in a monumental effort. Ran all over the opposition’s defence and engaged in ample amount of link-up play. Bagged in a fine headed goal, one he certainly deserved.
Marouane Fellaini – 9
Manchester United’s man of the match, the Belgian was in scintillating form after coming on early for Pogba. Top display of physicality and ball retention, which was accompanied with a goal and a key pass for Marcus Rashford’s strike.
Jesse Lingard – 5
Came on for Martial and did exactly that in terms of what the Frenchman was doing. Kept pace and freshness in the United attack until the final whistle.
Marcus Rashford – 7
The young lad came on for his Champions League debut, and did not take long to mark this gigantic occasion with a goal to his name. The 19-year-old has now scored on his Premier League, Europa League, EFL Cup, England and Champions League debuts.
1. Vaclik- 6
2. Akanji- 5
3. Suchy- 6
4. Balanta- 7
5. Lang- 6
6. Xhaka- 6
7. Zuffi- 7
8. Riveros- 5
9. Steffen- 5
10. Van Wolfswinkel- 5
11. Elyounoussi- 5
Written by Vikram Gupta
An attacker with his words, and defends each of them with pride. A love for the game which goes hand in hand with his will to forever write. A graduate in the course of advertising and a hopeful to be author. Herrera for the win.