After a whole season without a taste of Champions League action, three times champions Manchester United gave their fans a feel of it as they faced Belgian side Club Brugge in a Uefa Champions League play off on Tuesday 18th August.
United after finishing 4th in last year’s EPL had to settle for a play off before a possible return to play with the big guns in Europe and with that in mind, they beefed up their already rich squad with five experienced, skillful and reliable players; Bastian Schweinsteiger, Memphis Depay, Matteo Darmian, Morgan Schneiderlin and Sergio Romero and this seems to really produce a good reap. Coming into this match, United were undefeated in two EPL matches with clean sheets in both games hence morale was really high and certainly paid off as they ended the night as 3-1 victors. The Red devils began as the most dangerous side but unfortunately conceded the first goal only after 8 minutes as Michael Carrick turned a Club Brugge free kick into his own but this certainly served as a motivation as they bounced back with an immediate response gracefully through Memphis Depay on the 13th minute mark to the relief of the fans. They went on to control the game with simple passes all across the field and this yielded yet another goal by Depay once again with a blockbuster of a shot just outside the 18yard box into the right top corner with only 2 minutes to half time. Michael provided the passes to set up both goals to help redeem himself before being replaced by Schweinsteiger in the 2nd half. United started pressing their opponents using long through balls to Wayne Rooney and this started opening them up allowing the team also to get width. Marouane Fellaini was introduced in place of Rooney and he proved the coach right by knocking home United’s 3rd goal and his first of the year on the stroke of full time. Despite the convincing win and spectacular performance, United still needs two or more signings to balance the team if they are really going to be a threat this season. With qualification into the group stages of the Champions League almost certain, they will be partaking in a total of four tourneys with F.A Cup, Capital One Cup and the EPL and this means most of the players will tire out should they be involved in all of them.
Last night was one if the nights it felt really good to be a Mancunian with the red flag flying up high and cheers all over.
The return leg is on Wednesday 26th of August.
Man U: Sergio Romero, Matteo Darmian, Daley Blind, Chris Smalling, Luke Shaw, Michael Carrick/Bastian Schweinsteiger, Morgan Schneiderlin, Juan Mata, Adnan Januzaj/Chicarito, Memphis Depay, Wayne Rooney/Marouane Fellaini.
Unused subs: Ashley Young, Antonio Valencia, Ander Herrera, Sam Johnstone.
Club Brugge: Sebastien Bruzzese, Dion Cools, Brandon Mechele, Oscar Duarte, Laurens De Bock, Ruud Vormer, Timmy Simmons/Claudemir, Victor Vasquez/Hans Vanaken, Tuur Dierckx, Abdoulay Diaby/Obbi Oulare, Boli Bolingoli
Unused subs: Sinan Bolat, Davy De Fauw, Jean-Charles Castelletto, Tom De Sutter