Paul Pogba scored twice as Manchester United cruised to a comfortable 4-1 win against Fenerbahce last night. The other goals were provided by Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard before Robin Van Persie bagged himself a consolation goal as well as a standing ovation from all inside Old Trafford.
A relatively slow game was brought to life after half an hour, when Michael Carrick’s sublime pass was brought down in the box by Juan Mata, who in turn was brought down Simon Kjaer for a penalty. Pogba stepped up and, despite a rather languid run up (similar to that of Neymar versus Manchester City), lashed the ball into the bottom-left corner.
The second came only a couple of minutes later, this time Mata picked the lock with a wonderfully crafted volleyed pass into Martial’s path and before the Frenchman could pull the trigger he was bundled to the ground by Sener Ozbayrakli. Having won it, Martial ignored the crowd’s cries of “Rooney” and put the ball down himself, finding the same corner as his compatriot with equal precision.
United continued to dominate proceedings and the Turkish side offered very little in terms of an attacking threat. It was only a matter of time before the reds added another and it came through that man Pogba again in stoppage time at the end of the first half. Rooney broke away down the right and managed to find Lingard in the box who was able to turn and lay off to the onrushing Pogba. There seemed to be no doubt about the end result, a beautifully curled shot into the top left corner leaving the keeper with no hope whatsoever. This was what United fans had been waiting for.
If the visitors had any hope left it was quickly extinguished early in the first thanks to a thunderous Lingard strike, once again sparking interesting celebrations from himself and Pogba. United seemed happy to ease through the rest of the game at walking pace, perhaps with one eye on Sunday’s trip to Chelsea in the league. Both keepers remained alert to get down to a couple of low drives but in truth the game had lost it’s competitive edge. There was still time for Robin Van Persie to score on his Old Trafford return, poking home a clever Emenike cross from close range, much approved by the Manchester United faithful. The dutchman scored 58 goals in his three years with the club and this was suitably acknowledged throughout the game.
Last night’s result puts Mourinho’s side 2nd in Group A of the Europa League, Feyenoord are on top following a 1-0 home win against minnows Zorya Luhansk. The next round of matches sees the return fixture of these games, United will face a much more difficult task in the intimidating surroundings provided by the Fenerbahce fans. In the midst of a hectic couple of weeks for the reds, Jose Mourinho will have been pleased to win in such a comfortable manner, standing them in good stead for his return to Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon.