Wayne Rooney inspires Manchester United to a comfortable win

Europa League, Old Trafford – Manchester United 4 (Rooney 35, Mata 69, Jones og 75, Lingard 90+2) Feyenoord 0

Wayne Rooney scored and provided an assist as Manchester United comprehensively beat Feyenoord to leapfrog their Dutch opponents and move into second place in Group A.

The captain struck on 35 minutes after being played through by strike partner Zlatan Ibrahimovic, a goal that makes Rooney the club’s top goal-scorer in Europe with 39.

Jose Mourinho made wholesale changes to the team that drew 1-1 with Arsenal at the weekend with Henrikh Mkhitaryan making a rare start in an attacking system. And the team responded brilliantly, taking a well deserved first-half lead with the Armenian playing a prominent role in midfield.

United continued to dominate proceedings after the restart and their superiority was rewarded as the Red Devils added three further goals to cap a productive evening.

A quick-fire double mid-way through the second-half ended the match as a contest. First, goal-scorer Rooney turned provider to set up Juan Mata on 69 minutes and just six minutes later, Ibrahimovic’s shot was turned into his own net by former Liverpool goalkeeper Brad Jones.

The rout was completed by England international and substitute Jesse Lingard who scored a fine individual goal in added time.

The win moves Man United into second place, two points above their Dutch opponents with only one game remaining. Mourinho’s charges finish the campaign with an away match with Zorya on December 8 while Feyenoord hosts leaders Fenerbache needing a win to progress.

TALKING POINT

Mkhitaryan proves a point: The Armenian playmaker rather embarrassed Mourinho with a thoroughly impressive performance, leaving fans asking the question, ‘why was he ever omitted from the team in the first place?’ United’s troubles have been well documented in recent weeks and their dysfunctional performances suggested something was missing. After tonight, we know exactly what the team was lacking – the presence of the former Dortmund man in midfield.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Wayne Rooney (Man Utd) – A toss-up between the skipper and Mkhitaryan for the award but the forward deserves recognition for a display that will silence the critics questioning his role in the team.

KEY MOMENTS

PRE-MATCH – Henrikh Mkhitaryan STARTS! The midfielder has made only one appearance since his full debut against Manchester City in September.

18’ – CHANCE! The subsequent corner is played to Carrick on the edge of the penalty area and the midfielder strikes it hard and low, forcing Jones into another save.

25’ – DOUBLE SAVE! Romero to the rescue as Feyenoord give United an almighty scare. The visitors launch a counter-attack, good work from Elia finds Jorgensen in the middle but the forward’s shot is parried and the rebound falls to Kuyt whose low effort is saved by the feet of the United goalkeeper!

35’ – GOAL! Rooney is played through by Ibrahimovic and makes no mistake, sliding the ball past Jones. It was coming.

50’ – CLOSE! Mata almost catches Jones out with a spectacular lob from the edge of the area but the Australian just about gets a fingertip to the ball.

59’ – SIDE-NETTING! Mkhitaryan picks the ball up in a central position, plays a one-two with Ibrahimovic before firing the ball at the side-netting. The Armenian is on fire at the moment.

69’ – GOAL! Goal-scorer Rooney turns provider as he plays a square pass to Mata who is left with a simple tap-in. Surely it’s game over?

75’ – GOAL! Rashford feeds Ibrahimovic in a wide area, the Swede attempts to play a pass across the face of goal but Jones somehow manages to divert the ball into his own net. Game, set and match.

90’+2 – GOAL! Lingard completes the rout with a fine strike. A great night for United.

Here’s the full Europa League round-up:

  • Fenerbahce 2-0 Zorya Luhansk
  • Manchester United 4-0 Feyenoord
  • FC Astana 2-1 Apoel Nicosia
  • Olympiakos 1-1 BSC Young Boys
  • FK Qabala 1-3 RSC Anderlecht
  • Saint-Etienne 0-0 Mainz 05
  • Zenit St Petersburg 2-0 Maccabi Tel-Aviv
  • Dundalk 0-1 AZ Alkmar
  • Austria VIenna 1-2 Astra Girugiu
  • Roma 4-1 Viktoria Plzen
  • Athletic Bilbao 3-2 Sassuolo
  • KRC Genk 1-0 Rapid Vienna
  • Ajax 2-0 Panathinaikos
  • Celta Vigo 1-1 Standard Liege
  • KAA Gent 2-2 Sporting Braga
  • Shaktar Donetsk 4-0 Konyaspor
  • FC Schalke 04 2-0 Nice
  • FK Krasnodar 1-1 FC Red Bull Salzburg
  • Fiorentina 2-3 PAOK Salonika
  • Slovan Liberec 3-0 FK Qarabag
  • Hapoel Be’er Sheva 3-2 Inter Milan
  • Sparta Prague 1-0 Southampton
  • FC Zurich 1-1 Villarreal
  • Steaua Bucharest 2-1 Osmanlispor

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