MANCHESTER UNITED 4
ROONEY 22, 70, VAN PERSIE 59, VALENCIA 79
BAYER LEVERKUSEN 2
ROLFES 54, TOPRAK 87
TUESDAY 17 SEPTEMBER OLD TRAFFORD | ATTENDANCE: 74,000
The Reds kicked off the 2013/14 European campaign with a 4-2 victory over Bayer Leverkusen as Wayne Rooney reached the 200-goal mark for the club.
In David Moyes’ first Champions League game as boss, United secured a hard-fought win in their opening Group A game thanks to a Rooney double and a strike apiece from Robin van Persie and Antonio Valencia.
After a pretty even opening 20 minutes, Rooney broke the deadlock in the 22nd, volleying home Patrice Evra’s left-wing cross after excellent work from Robin van Persie in the build-up. Rooney and Kagawa went close to doubling the advantage in quick succession just before the break, and soon after the restart Rooney somehow failed to find the goal or van Persie when he rounded Leverkusen keeper Bernd Leno after pinching the ball from Omer Toprak.
United were made to pay seconds later when Leverkusen captain Simon Rolfes curled a 25-yard shot past David De Gea, via a wicked deflection off Michael Carrick. It wasn’t long before the Reds were back in front though with a rare strike in front of the Stretford End for van Persie, his first there since Stoke last season. It came via a cross from Valencia with van Persie hooking an excellent right-foot volley past Leno, who got a touch to it but couldn’t keep it out.
Rooney fired his landmark strike on 70 minutes, finishing with aplomb after Leverkusen failed to deal with De Gea’s long punt upfield, before he teed up Valencia to blast home the fourth. There was still time for Leverkusen to grab a second through Toprak and van Persie to miss an open goal, but the most important thing was three points for United.