Swiss outfit Young Boys started their European adventure with defeat, as Manchester United comprehensively recorded a 3-0 victory to finish Match Day 1 as group leaders.
Paul Pogba bagged a classy brace – his first a rifling finish into the top corner and his second a composed penalty on the stroke of half-time. Anthony Martial added the third with a deflected finish from close range, after Pogba glided into acres of space to engineer a prosperous attacking move.
Manchester United have now won three successive fixtures in all competitions for the first time since April and are stationed at the summit of Group H ahead of Juventus on goal difference.
Young Boys offered hope in the opening exchanges by illustrating enthusiasm, energy and excitement. However, the tank eventually emptied as the first half grew older and Manchester United capitalized to take the lead.
French international Pogba retrieved the ball from Kamara, sidestepped into a promising position, and rifled an unstoppable finish into the far top corner from the edge of the penalty area. It was a cruel and bitter pill to swallow for Young Boys, after making such a fantastic start. But they were rueing their luck once more when former Newcastle United defender Kevin Mbabu was penalized for handling the ball inside the penalty area.
Luke Shaw blasted a cross towards the Swiss international and the ball struck him on the right arm. He had minimal time to react and the German referee was extremely harsh to award Manchester United a penalty kick. As boos whistled around the stadium, Paul Pogba cut a composed figure and blasted his spot-kick into the top corner.
The Red Devils were on the road to victory but Anthony Martial consolidated a professional performance with a third goal. Pogba was at the heart of the attack once again and created the attacking move by striding into acres of space through the heart of midfield. Manchester United had numerous options in the final third, but Kamara was lured inside and left Martial open at the back post. His last-ditch attempt to thwart Martial cost him further with the Frenchman’s close range finish deflecting beyond the reach of Young Boys goalkeeper David van Ballmoos.
Manchester United started in a nervous fashion and struggled to combat the intense level of pressing from Young Boys. The hosts were rampant and in the mood to cause an upset. Matic, Fred and Pogba were pickpocketed on numerous occasions and Young Boys had joy down the channels with the speed of full-backs Mbabu and Benito.
Young Boys failed to preserve their energy for the entirety of the 90 minutes and it was evident that they quickly began to tire after just 30 minutes. Paul Pogba dealt the first blow with a classy finish into the top corner and Manchester United began to take cruise control in the closing stages of the first period.
Pogba took up a far more advanced role in midfield and Fred and Matic were deployed as holding midfielders ahead of the defence. This allowed full-backs Dalot and Shaw to bomb forward and create opportunities and the attacking qualities of the full-backs contributed to the incident prior to the controversial penalty award.
The Swiss club became disillusioned once Pogba doubled Manchester United’s advantage and failed to create many opportunities in the second half. It was rather comfortable for the visitors and Manchester United remained professional to dictate possession and retain their concentration.
Young Boys clearly looked physically fragile in the closing stages and Pogba capitalized on a tired midfield to break into space and create the third for Anthony Martial. Young Boys defender Kamara was naively attracted to Paul Pogba and abandoned his responsibility of closing the space for a potential pass to Martial.
Kamara was unable to retrieve his defensive position, despite making a desperate attempt to thwart Martial, and the Frenchman’s close range finish deflected into the bottom corner.
Manchester United could’ve added more and Mourinho introduced fresh legs to see out the win. Lukaku found the net in the closing stages, but the linesman rightfully rose his offside flag to chalk off a fourth goal.
Man of the Match: Paul Pogba
Pogba was at the heart of everything good on Wednesday evening and concluded his evening with two goals and an assist. He was a powerhouse in the centre of the park and looked promising in a predominantly more attacking role in midfield. His first goal was of high class with a sensational finish and great dribbling ability to escape from a confined space. His penalty exemplified ice-cold composure and his role in the third and final goal was of supreme class with a striding run to split the Young Boys’ defence and an accurate pass to find Martial.
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