Positive start in the CL

The Red Devils were back in the Champions League after some disappointing previous seasons, but did not fail their entrance in the group stages, as they rather easily saw off FC Basel on a 3-0 scoreline, with Lukaku scoring his first goal in the competition. However, Mourinho was not impressed with the win, as he compared his players’ performance to playing a PlayStation game and not showing respect to FC Basel, while Pogba, who was captain for the night, lasted only 19 minutes before he limped off with what looked like a hamstring injury as he abused on his usual stretches to claim/keep the ball, but this time it backfired on him, and he may well be out for some weeks.

United started really well and could have led on the 3rd minute, but Lukaku’s attempt was blocked, and Martial failed to connect properly as chaos settled in Basel’s defense. Young started at right back in place of Valencia, and he was busy down the wing with several runs and crosses. Lukaku then tested Vaclik from 20 yards out, before Pogba picked up his injury and had to be replaced by Fellaini. Minutes later Mkhitaryan saw his shot denied by the woodwork, then the rebound blocked by a pile of bodies before Vaclik got hold of the loose ball. Just after the half-hour mark thou, Basel could have stolen the lead but Zuffi lacked composure and sliced the ball wide. United countered at the other end, and this time Young’s terrific cross was met by Fellaini’s head to open the score. Elyounoussi then headed the ball straight at De Gea following a free-kick, as Basel timidly tried to get back in the game.

Basel had a better start in the second half, as they showed more bite on and off the ball, while United were harmlessly passing it around when in possession, clearly exposing themselves to a surprise return of the opposition. However the Red Devils gave themselves some breathing space on the 53rd minute, as Blind delivered yet another terrific cross, and Lukaku headed into the top corner to open his CL account. Elyounoussi however remained a threat for United, but he again failed to convert the chance that fell to him. He however forced De Gea into a save on the 64th minute following some sloppy defending. Rashford was introduced on the 80th minute, and made his mark on the 84th minute, as he showed the instincts of a true poacher to curl in the 3rd goal to settle the game, ensuring the Red Devils claimed their first 3 points in the group as tougher oppositions await next.

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