Manchester United 4-0 Feyenoord- UEFA Europa League. [Video Highlight]

Rooney Celebrates His Goal
Rooney Celebrates His Goal Against Feyenoord Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images
On the sports news headline today, Wayne Rooney scored goal No248 for Manchester United as José Mourinho’s side moved to within a point of the Europa League knockout stage and the captain himself to just one more strike from equalling Sir Bobby Charlton’s all-time record for the club. United need only draw at Zorya in the final group match after a satisfying night was completed by Zlatan Ibrahimovic forcing a late own goal from Brad Jones, the goalkeeper deflecting his cross in, before Jesse Lingard scored in added time. Rooney can be especially pleased with his display as he also created Juan Mata’s second and gave what was his best display in a United shirt for a while.
Rooney's Goal Against Feyenoord
Rooney Scores The First Goal Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

The XI Mourinho sent out had six changes. In came Daley Blind, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Luke Shaw, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Rooney and Sergio Romero from the 1-1 draw with Arsenal on Saturday. A question was where Pogba and Rooney might operate given the selection of Mkhitaryan for what was only a second start of his United career. The answer was the captain at No10 and Pogba in central midfield, with Mkhitaryan along the left.

All three were involved in a bright start as Rooney pinged over a cross towards Ibrahimovic, then Pogba blazed at Brad Jones’s goal from a Mkhitaryan header.

Mata's Goal Against Feyenoord
Juan Mata Score The Second Goal Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

About 8,000 Feyenoord fans had made the trip, of whom 4,000 had done so without a ticket. Those who were in a packed away section sounded in hearty voice on a night when there was a markedly larger police presence inside the stadium.

As is often the case with Mourinho’s United, they struggled to maintain their rhythm. Pogba impressed with a willingness to make something happen, though. A strong run down the left may have ended with the Frenchman on his backside but at least he was having a tilt at the Dutch side. Later, Mkhitaryan fed him once more and he struck a shot at Jones that kept the goalkeeper honest.

Feyenoord's Brad Own Goal
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has his cross deflected into the goal by Brad Jones Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

In contrast to their raucous fans Feyenoord, had begun quietly. But when they awoke United had problems and came close to conceding. First up, Eljero Elia made a mug of Phil Jones on the left. The No11’s ball then found Rick Karsdorp in the area. His shot was saved well by Romero, who after springing to his feet stuck a leg out to repel Dirk Kuyt’s goal-bound effort.

United’s response was to fashion their clearest chance yet. Again, Pogba was the main man as he chipped the ball in to an onrushing Mkhitaryan, though the Armenian’s finish was weak enough for Jones to collect calmly.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan Dribbles Feyenoords'
Henrikh Mkhitaryan goes between Jens Toornstra and Wessel Dammers Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Next up it was Rooney who placed the ball on an inviting parabola – this time Pogba was the target and he might have been more physical when challenging and losing the aerial duel.

Now, though, came Rooney’s opener and this was delightful. The clock showed 35 minutes when the 31-year-old took over inside his half. From here Rooney drove along the left, peered infield, and passed to Ibrahimovic. As the Swede probed the Feyenoord rearguard Rooney continued his run and so Ibrahimovic’s clever ball back to him made the move a one-two and from close to the advancing Jones the forward lobbed the keeper for the lead.
Jesse Lingard scores a fourth goal for United Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Cue a particularly fierce celebration from Rooney, which may have been a release of emotion following his recent troubles. Goal No39 in European competition made the Liverpudlian United’s record scorer in Uefa’s tournaments and separated the sides at the interval.

United had finished strongly and continued into the second half in the same manner. So far Mkhitaryan had done far better than in his only previous start – when he was hauled off during the break of September’s Manchester derby here.

The 27-year-old was the recipient of a crafty Shaw ball as he lurked in the area and was unlucky to see his shot blocked. Moments later Mkhitaryan was obviously pulled back – obvious to all apart from Manuel Gräfe and the referee’s team of assistants, as nothing was awarded.

Mourinho was peeved, though his emotion changed to admiration when Mata went close to beating Jones with a sublime sand-wedge of an attempt with his left foot that caused the Australian to scramble before tipping over.

As was the case against Arsenal, United were the far better side yet had been unable to finish their opponents off. But though Feyenoord finally posed a first threat of the half with 25 minutes left, it was United who struck and in the end ran out convincing winners.

Rooney sealed his impressive contribution by setting up Mata to at last yield material reward for United’s supremacy with 20 minutes left. Ibrahimovic soon put the result beyond doubt at the expense of Jones, before Lingard, on for Mkhitaryan, wrapped up the scoring. Mourinho will now hope United can go on a winning sequence.

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About Chidobe Ibeji