Manchester United defeated F.C Basel by three goals to nothing in their opening game of the 2017/18 UEFA Champions League group match played on a rainy day at Old Trafford.
This was a game in which Manchester United were evidently the better side; as typical of Jose Mourinho philosophy of the game of football, United were very dangerous from either flanks and the aerial prowess of Romelu Lukaku and Marouane Fellaini stood them in good stead as the twosome scored two out of their side’s three goals from crosses from the flanks.
Basel elected to defend in the first half of the match, an approach that allowed the home team to swarm upon them in their own half. The Swiss side look very dangerous on the few occasions they worked their way into United’s final third, but they lacked the ruthlessness needed in front of goal.
Lukaku had a chance to put United ahead in the second minute of the match, but his goal-bound shot inside the opponent’s half was deflected out of play by Basel’s defender.
A sustained United pressure in the opponent’s eighteen yard box saw Lukaku sending a low cross into Basel’s six yard box, which Henrik Mkhitaryan shot feebly towards the goalpost only for the ball to be deflected into play by the goalpost and his second shot of the rebound was saved by goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik.
Manchester United’s captain, Paul Pogba , appeared to have sustained a hamstring injury in the seventeenth minute of the game and was replaced by Fellaini.
In one of the few occasions Basel gained entry into United’s eighteen yard box, Luca Zuffi shot wide a ball that fell right in front of him inside the opponent’s eighteen yard box.
Manchester United scored their first goal in the thirty fourth minute of the game through Fellaini; the Belgian mid-fielder powered the ball from an Ashley Young’s cross into the net with a perfectly timed header.
Basel came into the second half with a clear intent of finding an equalizer; they abandoned their defensive tactic and played a passing game that enabled to gained entry into United’s eighteen yard box, but their finishing was usually very poor.
Just as it appeared that United had lost the attacking momentum, the home team scored through a powerful header by Lukaku, who profited from the well-laid cross of Daley Blind.
The Swiss side continued to play tidy passes amongst themselves, and on a number of occasions they successfully penetrated United’s final third. In one of such occasions, Mohamed Elyounoussi latched onto a pass inside United’s eighteen yard box, turned Victor Lindelof inside-out before firing the ball towards the goalpost only for David De Gea to claw the ball over the crossbar.
Anthony Martial ,who was very dangerous from the left flank,missed a sitter inside the opponent’s six yard box in the sixty sixth minute of the game. A Marouane Fellaini’s cross from the fell flank fell in front of Martial but he shot swept wide across the goalmouth.
Manchester United’s second half substitute, Marcus Rashford, sealed United’s victory with his third goal. A Lukaku’s pass to Fellaini at the right flank enabled the Belgian mid-fielder to send a reverse pass from near the byline into the opponent’s eighteen yard box, the ball was missed by few players inside the eighteen yard box until an unmarked Rashford curled it into the open net.
Manchester United’s victory sent thousands of their fans inside the stadium into mass delirium. Though it is very difficult to predict how this football season will pan out for United, but what is incontrovertible about their current team is that they have started this season on a very promising note .Considering the quality of the teams in the Champions League this term, many exciting matches will come to the turf of Old Trafford as competition progresses.