CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Man Utd 4-2 Leverkusen


GROUP A – Tuesday 17th September 2013


Rooney helps Moyes to memorable stage debut

David Moyes clinched his first win in the Champions League after United brilliantly dispatched Bayer Leverkusen at Old Trafford almost without breaking a sweat. Rooney scored twice, and set op Valencia, who also set up Van Persie for a comfortable win despite goals from Rolfes and Toprak for a Bayer side that hardly disturbed De Gea.

The game started in a manner that would lead most to think that it was going to be end to end stuff, but in the end United dominated most of the proceedings. The first real sign of danger came when some good play from Evra and Kagawa set Rooney up in the seventh minute, but the shot was blocked by two defenders. United started turning the heat up more and the next chance fell to Van Persie whose shot was dragged wide from 20 yards. Soon it became apparent that United’s left was their best avenue to penetrate and a bit of a weakness as Kagawa’s drifting left Evra alone. Lever looked to exploit this.

On the 18th minute, Rennart was booked for a studs up challenge on Carrick, the eventual free-kick from Van Persie was headed over by Smalling. United were knocking on the door, and it didn’t take long for the deadlock to be broken. Van Persie passed the ball back to Carrick from the left who finds Evra through a lofted ball and flick by Kagawa. Evra’s cross was volleyed in by Rooney to open United’s account in the CL. There was a hint of controversy about the goal as Valencia (who was offside) impeded Leno from making a save, but it stood. Bayer responded to the goal by having their best spell of the game, but they still couldn’t force De Gea to make a save. Nothing much happened in the half, a couple of half chances, and a Kagawa volley was blocked by Toprak to end the half.

The second half started with Bayer being a bit more dangerous and Sam capitalized on a Ferdinand error to force De Gea into the first save of the night. The next chance came to Rooney after a Toprak slip that put him through but the English man played the ball wide of the far post after getting past Leno with Van Persie all alone in the 6 yard box. United were made to regret that immediately as Son, after running at United’s defenders cut the ball back for Rolfes who curled the ball into the net with a little help from a Carrick deflection on the 54th minute. It didn’t take long though for United to get their selves back in front and it brilliant. Valencia’s cross was met by a brilliant overhead volley from the Dutchman on the 59th minute. On the 69th minute Lars Bender who came on for Heung-Min Son shot straight at De Gea who kicks the ball down the pitch and a Toprak error let’s Rooney in, this time he makes no mistake, slotting in his 2nd of the night into Leno’s near post.

By this time, Bayer had made the remaining of their changes with Sam and Keissling off for Kruse and Derdiok, with the changes came a new found desire to desperately commit bodies forward. United duly punished them in the 79th minute when a break away found Young, Kagawa’s substitute, on the left Young then passed it on to Rooney in the middle and he put in a perfect through ball for Valencia to finish off with a low shot. The goal was met with the end of Fellaini’s solid if not spectacular debut and he was replaced by Tom Cleverly.

Hernandez, a few minutes Later was brought on for Rooney who got a standing ovation for his brilliant performance. There was still time for a goal for Bayer though, as Bender’s header from a corner rattled the bar and was turned in by Omer Toprak. Not much happened in the game till the end except for Van Persie missing a sitter from about 2 yards out after being set up by Valencia. And that was how the game ended. 4-2 to United an encouraging performance for David Moyes on his Champions league debut.

Abubakar Ismail

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