Manchester United beat RB Leipzig 5-0 in the UEFA Champions League at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening. A late hat-trick for Marcus Rashford, who came off the bench will be the headline from the match but Mason Greenwood’s opener in the 21st minute of the match put United ahead early doors. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side continued to press their opposition with Rashford scoring a brace after just 15 minutes on the pitch with Anthony Martial winning and scoring a penalty to put United 4-0 up. Rashford then completed his hat-trick in added time. Arsenal will travel to Old Trafford in the Premier League on Sunday – Solskjaer cannot wait for that.
United started the match in fine fettle seeking to break through and seek that early goal, which as always was elusive despite a number of chances being created in the early stages of the half. Fred has a good opportunity in front of goal for United from a good attack, sadly not hitting the back of the net with Peter Gulácsi making the save to deny the Brazilian. Four minutes later, United were on the attack again with Fred releasing Anthony Martial with the ball not reaching Mason Greenwood and cleared before reaching Paul Pogba – Martial should have done so much more with the ball there. Leipzig threatened United at times, but needed to do better themselves.
In the 21st minute of the match, United took the lead through Mason Greenwood, scoring his second goal of the season. Pogba was at the heart of the attack, driving the ball through the Leipzig defence and sliding the ball to Greenwood. The teenager then made no mistake to continue running with the ball in the box and firing low past Gulácsi into the far corner of the net. VAR looked at the goal and gave it with Greenwood onside. Leipzig had an opportunity at the other end almost immediately with David De Gea pushing Christopher Nkunku’s powerful drive over the crossbar. Dayot Upamecano then had a chance from 30-yards which was high and wide.
United’s passing was sharp against Leipzig at this stage of the match, which was perhaps the driving force behind the fact they took the early lead through Greenwood. Leipzig had another opportunity through Angelino, who was picked out near the far post. He got a volley away but Aaron Wan-Bissaka got a crucial block in with the ball looping up into the arms of De Gea. A minute later, Nemanja Matic was booked for catching Emil Forsberg with his arm whilst in possession of the ball. The Leipzig player seemed to go down pretty easy – not surprisingly. Greenwood’s goal still separated the two sides, which was his sixth goal in major European competitions.
United started well in the second half, seeking to double their lead but Leipzig were also seeking to get themselves back into the match. Benjamin Henrichs was the first Leipzig player to be booked for pulling Pogba’s shirt in the 47th minute of the match. A minute later, Nkunku was the target for Yussuf Poulsen, who had the chance to find him at the far post. However, the cross was cut out by United. At the other end, Donny van de Beek had the chance to find himself a second goal for his club but Ibrahima Konaté made a crucial intervention. There was a cry for a penalty, which was not given by VAR – it would have been a harsh one for Leipzig.
United made a double substitution in the 63rd minute of the match with Marcus Rashford and Scott McTominay replacing Greenwood and Matic in the 63rd minute of the match. Solskjaer then made a third substitution in the 68th minute with Bruno Fernandes replacing Van de Beek, who had a good match for United. Rashford scored a goal, assisted by Fernandes which was flagged for offside but the United forward carried on running and buried the ball into the back of the net. He received the ball in United’s half and VAR allowed the goal. Two minutes later, he scored United’s third of the evening after capitalising from a defensive error by Leipzig.
Martial won a penalty for United in the 87th minute of the match. Rashford was on a hat-trick but he showed how unselfish he is and allowed Martial to take the penalty that he won, scoring his first goal of the season from the spot. United were 4-0 up at Old Trafford against Leipzig in the UEFA Champions League with many suggesting that this was probably the hardest match of the group. United were not finished there as Edinson Cavani found the back of the net, but he was offside but Rashford completing his hat-trick in the second minute of added time was the icing on the cake for United. On to Arsenal on Sunday in the Premier League.
Goals: Mason Greenwood 21′, Marcus Rashford 76′, 78′, 90+2′, Anthony Martial 87′ penalty
Assists: Paul Pogba 21′, Bruno Fernandes 76′, Anthony Martial 90+2′
Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka (Tuanzebe 81′), Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Matic (McTominay 63′); Fred, Pogba (Cavani 81′); Van de Beek (Fernandes 68′); Greenwood (Rashford 63′), Martial
Substitutes Not Used: Henderson; Fosu-Mensah, Williams, Mengi; Mata, James; Ighalo
Bookings: Nemanja Matic 34′; Benjamin Henrichs 46′, Justin Kluivert 77′, Marcel Sabitzer 86′
Written by John Walker