Manchester United kicked off their Champions League qualifier last night against Belgian side Club Brugge. United will have to overcome the side over two legs if they are to reach the last 32 of the tournament, something that they have taken a momentous leap towards after beating the side 3-1 last night.
Brugge took the lead early on courtesy of a Michael Carrick own goal. It was an early blow to United, who knew that with European football comes the away goal rule, which many say counts for two goals in some occasions. The Red Devils would’ve liked to see off Brugge in the first leg, going into the the away fixture with a comfortable lead.
Luckily for United, they had a certain No.7 at hand. Carrick made up for his earlier blunder and set-up Memphis Depay who controlled the ball via his chest past 2 players, only to make a sideways run across the penalty area and smash the ball into the net.
Just before the second half the Dutchman was at it again, a small shimmy onto his right foot soon turned into a shot – which ended in a goal.
The second half was relatively quiet going by the first half. United introduced Bastian Schweinsteiger and looked in total control. There were one or two downsides to the game for a United perspective, not only did goalkeeper Romero get caught sleeping whilst Brugge were on the attack, narrowly missing out on a goal, but also Wayne Rooney was once again hugely subdued.
The striker has been tipped for a 20+ goal season this term, but from what we’ve seen so far it doesn’t look like he’ll reach 10! Rooney desperately needs a goal to open up his campaign and give him confidence.
The game reached 80′ before Brugge defender Brandon Mechele was shown a second yellow, meaning that United had a 10 minute advantage in order to find the all important 3rd goal to put the game beyond Brugge.
As Chicharito entered the field, something United fans were crying out for, so did Marouane Fellaini – perhaps something they didn’t expect.
United immediately began swinging balls into the box in search of the Mexican, who has an eye for a last minute goal, and of course the giant Belgian.
However, United’s persistence paid off when that boy Memphis Depay picked up the ball deep into the 93rd minute for once last cross, finding Fellaini – who found the net.
There were several contenders for Man of the Match, of course, Memphis has to pick up the award. But a special notice must be given to both Luke Shaw and Chris Smalling, who were excellent.