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 Match Information 
 2015-08-26 (19:45) (ECup)  Club Brugge 0–4 Manchester United
  Venue: Jan Breydel Stadium (28773)
  Goals: Rooney3; Herrera1 
  Lineup: Romero  Darmian  Smalling  Blind  Shaw  Carrick  Herrera  Mata  Januzaj  Depay  Rooney 


Club Brugge 0-4 Manchester United
Posted by   Bill   on   2015-08-26 @ 17:41:48 -0600

Wayne Rooney ended his goal drought with a hat-trick as Manchester United beat Club Brugge to book their place in the Champions League group stages.

United led 3-1 from the first leg and Rooney added to that with a dinked shot for his first goal of the season.

The striker had a simple tap-in for his second goal after midfielder Ander Herrera's unselfish pass.

Rooney swept in a shot for his third and Herrera sidefooted in before Javier Hernandez missed a United penalty.

Hernandez also wasted a late chance as he skied a shot from four yards out.

United will now go into Thursday's group stage draw following a one-season absence.
Relief for Rooney

At last. The England captain opened his goalscoring account for the season at the fifth attempt and the relief was plain to see.

Rooney put his hands to his face before giving a prayer to the sky after his first club goal since an effort against Aston Villa in April.

He appeared to have been energised in terms of confidence after his opener, which came from Memphis Depay's through ball.

Herrera and Juan Mata set up Rooney's other goals as he finally benefitted from more midfield support in his role as the main striker.

"To be honest, if I didn't have a strong character that (the criticism) might have affected me," Rooney told BT Sport.

"I wasn't worried, if it was going on for three, four, five games more then maybe so but it's early days and I knew when the chances came I'd take them."

Herrera made his first start of the season as United manager Louis van Gaal rested Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger, and the Spaniard pushed his claims for a regular starting berth.

The diminutive playmaker started alongside the more defensive Michael Carrick and, despite some early rustiness, his vision and creative instincts benefitted Rooney and United in attack.

Van Gaal's players have been accused of not helping Rooney by failing to run beyond him to help create space.

Herrera, though, was keen to push on, scoring a goal of his own as the Belgians capitulated.

Schweinsteiger and winger Ashley Young were introduced in the second half, adding to the competition for midfield places at United.

Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal speaking to BT Sport:

"I think we were very organised. We played the ball a little bit more simple than before. You can create gaps and we scored so that is also good.

"Every goal shall give confidence to every player, even Wayne. I'm very happy for him.

"He has the best mentality that you can imagine. Such players with that level will always come back."

Captain Wayne Rooney:

"I wasn't worried. If the goals don't go in I still bring a lot to my team-mates."

Club Brugge coach Michel Preud'homme:

"This team (Manchester United) has everything - technical quality, physical quality in power and endurance, and of course they have the mentality."
Pundit analysis

BBC Radio 5 live's Danny Mills: "Job done by Manchester United and delight for Wayne Rooney, but I don't think you can tell from this whether United's season will be a success or not."

The stats you need to know

Wayne Rooney scored his first European hat-trick since his Manchester United debut against Fenerbahce in 2004.
It was Rooney's first hat-trick since a treble against Bolton Wanderers in September 2011.
Memphis Depay has had a hand in four of Manchester United's goals in this Champions League qualifying campaign with two goals and two assists.

What next?

Manchester United will go into the draw for the Champions League group stages on Thursday before a trip to Swansea for a game at 16:00 BST on Sunday.

Lineup, Bookings (3) & Substitutions (6)
Club Brugge

38 Bolat
05 Castelletto
02 de Fauw
04 Duarte
28 De Bock
06 Claudemir Booked
10 Diaby (Dierckx - 63' )
25 Vormer Booked
07 Vázquez (Vanaken - 62' )
63 Bolingoli Mbombo (Cools - 77' )
09 De Sutter


16 Bruzzese
19 Meunier
20 Vanaken
21 Cools
45 Desmul
55 Dierckx
58 Oularé

Manchester United

20 Romero
36 Darmian
12 Smalling
17 Blind
23 Shaw
16 Carrick
21 Herrera Booked (Hernández - 64' )
08 Mata (Young - 62' )
11 Januzaj (Schweinsteiger - 45' )
07 Depay
10 Rooney


14 Hernández
18 Young
27 Fellaini
28 Schneiderlin
31 Schweinsteiger
33 McNair
50 Johnstone

Rooney Goal 20', 49', 57'
Herrera Goal 63'

Ref: Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz

You can’t do that
Posted by   PaulJ   on   2015-09-07 @ 8:34:45 -0600

Do the numbers lie?
He compares with the greatest,
Though we won’t have it.

Clearly, the need to qualify for the Champions League reflects the league season just gone more than the European season to come. In 2004 and 2005, when José Mourinho’s arrival in Chelsea had temporarily shunted us down the pecking order, we qualified against Dinamo Bucharest and Debreceni, winning both legs on each occasion. In 2002 when the rules were tighter we lost in Hungary but qualified easily in the end against Zalaegerszeg. Yet though 2005 was our least successful Champions League campaign we reached the quarter finals in 2002 and 2004 and the first time we had to qualify was in 1998 when hard fought games against LKS Łódź proved to be our first strides towards the treble.

Club Brugge play in the Jan Breydel Stadium, named after the man who sparked the fourteenth century Flemish revolt against the French with a massacre in the city. The stadium, built in 1975, owned by the city and known before Euro 2000 as the Olympic Stadium, has 29,042 seats but on Wednesday there was a block unused to keep those travelling fans lucky enough to get tickets (there was huge oversubscription) from Breydel’s descendants. Club share the ground with Cercle and attract crowds regularly four or five times those of their city rivals. They have over ten thousand registered members in sixty two supporters’ clubs, whose reputation is for intimidating noise and the club do not assign a number twelve shirt to any player in acknowledgement of the part that their supporters play. Given that Spanish referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz took their suggestions a couple of times, the metaphor seemed appropriate. Club Brugge may have a modest away record in Europe but their home one is formidable and they had only lost once in Belgium to an English club; surprisingly, Birmingham City.

They have an injury crisis but they also have a history of recovering first leg deficits and we might have exercised caution. Instead, Wayne Rooney shot out of the blocks and thirty seconds had not passed when he forced a hasty clearance from goalkeeper Sinan Bolat. At the other end Laurens De Bock’s dangerous cross was spoilt by Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo’s handball. The combination of Abdoulay Diaby and De Bock on the left looked threatening and Luke Shaw did well to block a fierce volley by Tom De Sutter, a player with his bags packed already for Bursaspor. Fears of a siege proved groundless, however, and Shaw featured strongly in a measured United performance with which we took control of the match for a half hour.

Ander Herrera was given his first start this season in a restructured midfield without either of our summer signings and he made mistakes and got himself booked for a messy challenge on Victor Vázquez before warming to his task. Although Rooney spearheaded a move up the right which fizzled out as Juan Mata tried to pick his way through a crowded area, he too took a while to impose himself; a shot over the bar and the loss of an opportunity when the ball got tangled in his legs after a run by Matteo Darmian. When Daley Blind picked a pass to Memphis Depay defenders were drawn to the winger, terrified lest he would shoot as he cut inside. Instead he accelerated past three of them and slipped the ball to Rooney who turned away from Davy De Fauw and flicked it over the ‘keeper with a neatly judged right foot dink; 20 minutes 1-0.

Another goal would finish the tie but Herrera was surprised by the weight of Mata’s pass and shot over the bar, Rooney provided a great pass but the goalkeeper came bravely out to Memphis. Our best opportunity before half time came when Shaw intercepted a clearance and headed Memphis clean through but Óscar Duarte raced back as the Dutchman dithered over how to beat the goalkeeper. Brugge, who once came back from three down to beat a good Ipswich side, had not yet given up. When Shaw gave the ball away De Sutter put in a cross which lacked only someone to convert it. We were lax, too, when Vázquez found an unmarked Claudemir de Souza, whose header was badly off target. Indeed, we were losing control. Diaby slipped the ball through to De Sutter who blasted it; Sergio Romero parried. Blind nearly headed Vázquez’ cross into our own net and the corner was flicked by De Fauw across the face of our goal. Vázquez’ through ball to Diaby was superb but Romero was brilliant scrabbling at his feet, twice, three times using his hands to prevent the shot without risking a penalty. The place was a cauldron of noise, the half time whistle a relief.

What looked as if it might be a tricky second half, however, turned out to be something of a revelation. Louis van Gaal brought on Bastian Schweinsteiger to take the central role that Herrera had been playing, withdrew Adnan Januzaj and moved Herrera forward in support of Rooney. Straight away Schweinsteiger won the ball and put Rooney through; Duarte’s tackle made no contact with the ball but you could see why the referee gave no penalty. It mattered not. Shaw robbed Jean-Charles Castelletto, Memphis passed to Herrera on the right who slipped it first touch left for Rooney to pass first touch into the net, the smoothest thing seen since Cristiano Ronaldo ran his fingers through his hair; 48 minutes 2-0.

The Belgians fell apart. We broke swiftly the length of the field only for Memphis to be taken down by De Bock; that should have been a penalty. Herrera was pivotal; he must have passed the ball half a dozen times in the move before he found Mata, who fed it through to Rooney, who turned away from De Bock and slotted it home; 56 minutes 3-0.

When the same combination worked the same trick only from a different angle a minute later, Bolat got a hand to Rooney’s chip for a fine save. Then from the half way line Schweinsteiger delivered a long pass forward, Duarte slipped trying to intercept and Herrera was in the clear to slide it into the net without fuss; 63 minutes 4-0.

The time had come to save ourselves for Swansea on Sunday. Herrera was withdrawn in the very act of celebrating his goal and replaced by Javier Hernández, Ashley Young had already come on for Mata. From a throw-in at the other end substitute Hans Vanaken went for glory from twenty yards with a rocket of a shot that smacked the underside of Romero’s bar but this was but a gesture of defiance and for Brugge the night could not end soon enough. Even when Romero carelessly gave it to substitute Dierckx they messed it up. By the end Dierckx had badly twisted an ankle and they finished with ten men.

Sadly, though, it was Hernández for whom the endgame became a nightmare. When Memphis put a free kick into the defensive wall Darmian took the rebound and crossed and his involuntary header went over the bar from close range. It got worse, much worse for the popular Mexican. Rooney crossed and the referee gave a penalty against Duarte for handball. They gave the ball to Hernández to take it but he slipped as he shot and fizzed it wide of the post. The look van Gaal and Ryan Giggs exchanged on the bench spoke of an impending transfer to Milton Keynes or demotion to the boot room. Deep into added time Young produced a wonderful cross which Hernández contrived to miss in front of an open goal from virtually under the bar. He looked close to tears.

Away victories in Europe by four goals or more are rare; we have now had six in sixty years. 6-0 against Shamrock Rovers in 1957 was probably Liam Whelan’s night. An astounding 6-1 at Borussia Dortmund in 1964 was certainly Bobby Charlton’s. 5-0 at Racing Strasbourg in 1965 might have been Denis Law’s. 5-0 at Bayer Leverkusen in 2013 was Ryan Giggs’, even if he did not score. The greatest night of them all of course was when Georgie Best became “El Beatle” in Lisbon, juggling the ball from knee to head and back as he impudently carved Benfica apart; 5-1 in 1966. This was Rooney’s night in Bruges. It puts him in impressive company.

Paul Andrew James


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