Majestic Man United cruise to victory against Fenerbahce

Date published: Thursday 20th October 2016 9:55

Paul Pogba: Scores brace for United

Paul Pogba: Scores brace for United

Paul Pogba scored twice as Manchester United defeated Fenerbahce 4-1 to move to the top of Europa League Group A.

After very little of note in the opening half an hour, Pogba and Anthony Martial netted penalties within three minutes of each other before Pogba scored a fine third in first-half injury time.

Jesse Lingard added a fourth just after half-time and the United fans were on their feet again for Fenerbahce’s consolation goal, scored late on by their popular former striker Robin van Persie.

The Red Devils leapfrog Fenerbahce to the top of the group table and have repaired the damage done by their opening loss to Feyenoord, who also have six points.

Jose Mourinho made seven changes to the side that drew with Liverpool on Monday and the incomers included captain Wayne Rooney, starting for the first time in a month.

Fenerbahce were the opponents when Rooney so thrillingly announced his arrival at United with a debut hat-trick.

But that was 12 years ago and this time the Turkish side offered the chance for Rooney to show he can offer more than just past glories.

Pogba, another man with a point to prove, kept his place while Martial and Luke Shaw started but there was no place in the squad for either Henrikh Mkhitaryan or Morgan Schneiderlin.

The Fenerbahce team featured two very familiar faces in Van Persie, who was warmly applauded throughout the match, and former Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel.

Van Persie probed without threatening during the opening stages and there not been a chance of note until Juan Mata skilfully controlled a long ball in the area.

Simon Kjaer clumsily bundled into him and, after Rooney stepped aside to let Pogba take the penalty, he kept his cool while keeper Volkan Demirel dallied to give the hosts a 31st-minute lead.

Three minutes later they were two up thanks to another penalty, this time won and converted by Martial, who ran onto a fine ball from Mata before being pushed in the back by Sener Ozbayrakli.

Fenerbahce nearly pulled one back immediately but Souza was denied by a good save from David De Gea, and with the final action of the first half United grabbed a third.

Rooney, who was playing as a striker but often dropped deep, picked up the ball on the right and sent in a cross. It was slightly behind Lingard but he laid it off for Pogba, who from 25 yards side-footed a wonderful shot into the top corner.

It was another indication of what a hugely talented midfielder the Frenchman is, and he also had a hand in United’s fourth three minutes after the break.

Pogba played the ball to Rooney on the edge of the area and this time it was Lingard collecting the lay-off before drilling a 20-yard shot into the bottom corner.

Van Persie had his first real sight of goal on the hour mark, and his curling effort from outside the box briefly looked like it might trouble De Gea before sailing harmlessly wide.

Mata should have added a fifth but was denied by Demirel when one on one, and no one in Old Trafford apart from perhaps Mourinho minded when Van Persie got away from Shaw to grab an 83rd-minute consolation.

All four sides of the ground stood to applaud the Dutchman, and he showed his appreciation in return, but the night belonged to the home side.

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