Memphis Depay scored a delightful double as Manchester United overcame a brief scare to beat Club Brugge 3-1 in the first leg of their Champions League play-off at Old Trafford.
The Dutchman bagged his first goals since joining the Red Devils this summer to cancel out a Michael Carrick own goal, and substitute Marouane Fellaini added a vital third deep into stoppage time.
Brugge would have been content with their away goal and one-goal deficit, but Fellaini’s 94th-minute header gives United what should be a comfortable cushion to take to Belgium next week.
The underdogs made a dream start as Carrick diverted an eighth-minute free-kick past Sergio Romero and into his own net. The midfielder poked out a leg and Romero could not react quickly enough.
The visitors were ahead for only five minutes as Depay opened his United account in style. The 21-year-old skilfully controlled a Carrick pass and flicked it over the head of a Brugge defender, before dancing through a couple of black and blue shirts to fire a shot into the bottom corner.
Wayne Rooney had a couple of decent chances to score his first goal of the season, but the night belonged to Depay and it was he who gave Louis van Gaal’s side the lead two minutes before the break.
It was another superb goal from the winger, who cost United £25m from PSV Eindhoven according to the Telegraph. He cut inside and curled an unstoppable shot from the left side of the box inside the far post.
He went close again with two long-range strikes in the early stages of the second period, but his best hat-trick opportunity came when he blazed over the crossbar from 15 yards after a sublime Rooney flick.
Brugge were coming under the cosh and their hopes of surviving until the final whistle with no further damage were dented when Brandon Mechele was handed a second yellow card on 80 minutes.
And United put one foot into the group stage when Depay whipped an inch-perfect cross into the area for Fellaini to glance into the bottom corner, after the three minutes of added time had elapsed.
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