A maiden goal for Odion Ighalo helped Manchester United to a 5-0 win over Club Brugge at Old Trafford which comfortably secured their progression to the Europa League round of 16,
The game got off to a flying start with Bruno Fernandes rattling the post inside five minutes. The 25-year-old would manage to open the scoring soon after from the penalty spot after Simon Deli was sent off for a blatant handball inside the box, literally saving a Dan James shot.
The early strike filled United with confidence and the hosts doubled their lead through Ighalo from close range in the 34th minute – his first goal since arriving at the club on transfer deadline day.
Scott McTominay then toasted his return from a lengthy spell on the sidelines by making it three soon after, side-footing home from the edge of the area.
After the break United dominated possession and ten minutes from time Fred tapped home Jesse Lingard’s cutback to make it 4-0. The Brazilian then grabbed his second and United’s fifth goal, lashing home from the edge of the box with the last kick of the game
Here’s 90min‘s breakdown of the game…
Key Talking Point
With Anthony Martial ruled out with a muscle injury, all eyes were on United’s deadline day arrival Ighalo.
The transfer has been the subject of derision but the Nigerian went some way to silencing his doubters with an eye-catching performance.
Despite lacking match sharpness, Ighalo consistently found himself in dangerous positions and marked his first start at Old Trafford with a goal.
After slotting home, the forward lifted up his shirt to reveal an image of his sister – who sadly passed away recently. You would have to possess a heart of stone to not be rooting for Ighalo to succeed at United.
Starting XI: Romero (6); Wan-Bissaka (7), Maguire (7), Bailly (7), Shaw (7); McTominay (8), Fred (7), James (6), Fernandes (8*), Mata (8), Ighalo (7)
Substitutes: Chong (6), Lingard (7), Greenwood (6)
Performances like this make you realise why United pursued Bruno Fernandes for so long and why Sporting CP were so keen to keep him.
Fernandes was at the centre of everything good his side did during the hour he was on the pitch, and also slotted away his penalty in typically composed fashion.
Starting XI: Mignolet (6); Mata (5), Mechele (5), Deli (3), Ricca (5); Kossonou (5), Vanaken (5), Rits (5); Tau (5), Okereke (4), de Cuyper (5)
Substitutes: de Ketelaere (6), Diatta (5), Mitrovic (5)
United now turn their attention back to the Premier League. The Red Devils take on Everton on Sunday in a vital game in the race for Champions League qualification.
Club Brugge on the other hand travel to the Luminus Arena to take on Genk.