Man Utd 3-0 Basel: Marouane Fellaini, Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford secure opening win
By Oliver Yew
Last Updated: 13/09/17 6:59am
Manchester United opened their Champions League campaign with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Basel at Old Trafford on Tuesday evening.
United, who returned to Europe's elite club competition after a one-year absence after winning the Europa League last season, lost Paul Pogba to injury in the first half but his replacement, Marouane Fellaini, made an instant impact, opening the scoring in the 35th minute.
Romelu Lukaku extended the hosts' advantage in the 53rd minute before substitute Marcus Rashford made the points safe on what was a comfortable night for Jose Mourinho's side.
Man Utd: De Gea (7), Young (8), Smalling (7), Lindelof (6), Blind (7), Matic (7), Pogba (6), Mata (6), Mkhitaryan (7), Martial (7), Lukaku (7).
Subs: Fellaini (8), Lingard (6), Rashford (7).
Basel: Vaclik (7), Suchy (6), Balanta (7), Akanji (6), Lang (6), Zuffi (7), Riveros (6), Xhaka (7), Van Wolfswinkel (5), Steffen (6), Elyounoussi (7).
Subs: Bua (6), Oberlin (6).
Man of the match: Marouane Fellaini
Pogba was handed the captain's armband by Mourinho but his night was cut short in the 19th minute with the Frenchman picking up what looked like a hamstring injury.
Fellaini replaced him and United almost took the lead minutes later when Lukaku drove to the byline before picking out Henrikh Mkhitaryan, whose shot rebounded off the post.
United eventually took the lead in the 35th minute and it was substitute Fellaini who broke the deadlock, heading Ashley Young's inch-perfect cross past goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik from close range to score the 50th goal of his club career in England.
The hosts extended their lead straight after the break and it was another cross that caused the problems at the heart of the Basel defence. Daley Blind picked out Lukaku from the left, and the Belgium international used his strength to get on the end of it, heading the ball past a helpless Vaclik to score for the seventh European appearance in succession .
Jose Mourinho made six changes to the side that drew 2-2 at Stoke on Saturday. He named a whole new back four with Ashley Young, Chris Smalling, Victor Lindelof and Daley Blind coming in for Antonio Valencia, Eric Bailly, Phil Jones and Matteo Darmian. Ander Herrera and Marcus Rashford also dropped out with Juan Mata and Anthony Martial replacing them.
Minutes later, United almost made it three but this time Vaclik stood tall to palm Lukaku's header to safety before David De Gea pulled of a brilliant stop of his own to deny Mohamed Elyounoussi.
But it was Mourinho's side that extended their lead when Rashford, who replaced Juan Mata, converted Fellaini's cross in the 84th minute to score on his Champions League debut and complete an easy night's work for United, who went top of Group A on goal difference after CSKA Moscow's 2-1 win at Benfica.
- Manchester United are unbeaten in 32 successive home games in all competitions (W21 D11 L0) and have not lost at Old Trafford for a year (10th September 2016). This is their best unbeaten home run since October 2011 (37 games).
- Marouane Fellaini's goal was the 100th scored by a Belgian player in the Champions League (excl. OGs).
- Fellaini's strike was also his 50th in English club football (33 for Everton, 17 for Man Utd).
- Fellaini's goal was the earliest by a substitute for Manchester United in the Champions League since Ryan Giggs' on February 25th 2003 v Juventus (after 15 mins).
- Romelu Lukaku became the 13th different player to score on their Champions League debut for Manchester United.
- This was the first time that two Belgians have scored for the same team in a CL game since October 23rd 2002 (Club Brugge v Galatasaray).
- Marcus Rashford has now scored on his Premier League, Europa League, Champions League & EFL Cup debuts for Manchester United, as well as his England debut.
- Marcus Rashford is the fourth English teenager to score a Champions League goal for Manchester United after David Beckham, Wayne Rooney & Phil Jones.
Man of the Match - Marouane Fellaini
Named on the bench, Fellaini was thrust into the action in the 19th minute, replacing the injured Pogba.
The 29-year-old went on to put in a powerful display in the middle of the park and his threat in the air caused the visitors problems all night.
The Belgium international got the ball rolling for his side, heading home Young's cross in the 35th minute and he capped his display with an assist, picking out Rashford in the penalty area for United's third.
United return to Premier League action on Sunday when they face Everton, live on Sky Sports Premier League, before taking on Championship side Burton Albion in the third round of the Carabao Cup the following Wednesday (September 20) - a game that is also live on Sky Sports Football.
In the Champions League, United travel to CSKA Moscow, while Basel host Benifca with both matches on September 27.