Manchester United marked their return to the Champions League with a 3-0 bashing of Swiss side, Basel.
Morouane Fellaini came off the bench to give United the lead, before goals from Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford sealed the win.
Not too many people would have expected Basel to start out the better side, and it proved true to form, as United enjoyed a larger share of possession early on, and it almost paid off in the second minute when Romelu Lukaku went close. The Belgian connected the ball off a corner, but his goal-bound shot was blocked by an opposing defender. Good start United.
The Red Devils continued asking questions of their Swiss counterparts, who had preferred to play very deep, thereby inviting pressure. This time, it was Henrikh Mkhitaryan who went close, his header, off a Juan Mata flick, went over the post. He should be doing better there, and his reaction showed it.
The Armenian then went close again, this time he struck the post, got on the rebound but the effort was blocked by a defender, before the Basel goalkeeper came to the rescue.
But they wouldn’t wait too long before they found the back of the net. Fellaini, who had come on for the injured Paul Pogba was perfectly placed to meet a fine Ashley Young cross, as he headed United into the lead.
The goal conceded appeared to have gingered Basel, as they went on the offensive and caused United a few scare, but nothing came off it before the referee sounded the half time whistle.
Unlike the first half, Basel came out of the break looking to peg United back, and while it was hardly an immediate success, they did look a different side to the one that started the first half. United, meanwhile, were looking like taking it slow, trying to kill the pace of the game.
Basel were looking more dangerous as the clock ticked, as United’s defense was beginning to look weary. But it was the Red Devils who found the back of the net again, Daley Blind launched a cross into the area, and Lukaku was a the right place at the right time to head United into a two-goal lead.
Just like the first goal did, Basel once again upped the tempo and went close to halving the deficit, with De Gea doing with an outstretched arm to save from Mohamed Elyounoussi. With a bit more finesse, Basel should have gotten a goal at least at this point, but United continued to hold sway.
The Swiss just lacked the cutting edge to put United to the sword, and the English side were all too happy to make them pay as substitute Rushford converted from a pull back to extend United’s lead.