Manchester United embark on their 2016/17 Europa League campaign on Thursday evening as they visit Eredivisie side Feyenoord. It’s hardly the European competition that Jose Mourinho would have wanted to partake in during his first season in charge at Old Trafford however that is the case due to his predecessor’s shortcomings last season. The Reds will be hoping to bounce back from their narrow 2-1 defeat to rivals Manchester City at the weekend while Feyenoord will be looking to maintain their 100% start to the season with five league wins out of five.
The Dutch side finished third last season in their respective league which granted them qualification to the Europa League group stage, much like United. They mean business this time round however as they have won all five of their league matches, scoring 15 goals and only conceding twice. United suffered their first defeat of the season at the weekend when they were beaten by bitter rivals City in the Manchester derby. Both sides will be looking for a good start in Group A, which also holds Fenerbahce of Turkey and Zorya Luhansk of Ukraine. United have only ever faced Feyenoord twice and boast a 100% win rate. Let’s take a look back at the two games.
Manchester United 2-1 Feyenoord, UEFA Champions League, 22nd October 1997
United and Feyenoord faced off for the very first time when they were drawn in the same group of the 1997/98 Champions League, they were also joined by Italian giants Juventus and Slovakian side FC VSS Kosice. The first of the two ties was at Old Trafford as United topped the group after two games after seeing off Kosice and Juventus.
Paul Scholes opened the scoring on the half-hour mark with a delightful finish with the outside of the boot following a lovely knockdown from Andy Cole. Teddy Sheringham was then fouled inside the area with 20 minutes remaining giving United a chance to double their lead from the spot. Denis Irwin stepped up and rifled the ball into the top left corner. Henk Vos halved the deficit with 10 minutes on the clock but the Reds hung on to make it three wins out of three in the group stages.
Feyenoord 1-3 Manchester United, UEFA Champions League, 5th November 1997
The Reds went into their second game against Feyenoord knowing if they returned back to England with three points that they would be guaranteed progression into the knockout stages of the Champions League.
Andy Cole got things underway albeit very fortuitously when the ball rebounded off the striker and looped over the keeper following a pinpoint over-the-top through ball from Gary Neville. Cole doubled his account for the evening when he started and finished a lovely passing move. It was a goal made in England as Cole headed the ball down to David Beckham. Beckham then played a neat one-two with Teddy Sheringham before laying the ball on a plate for Cole to fire past the Feyenoord keeper. Cole grabbed his hat-trick during the second half following good work from Gary Pallister and Ryan Giggs with the latter rounding the keeper before squaring to Cole for a tap in. Igor Korneev pulled one back for the Dutch side late on but the damage had already been done which meant United were guaranteed qualification from the group.