Manchester United FC 4-2 Bayer 04 Leverkusen
David Moyes enjoyed a debut to remember in the UEFA Champions League as Wayne Rooney scored two and set up another on a pulsating night.
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David Moyes enjoyed a winning start in the UEFA Champions League as his Manchester United FC side earned a comfortable 4-2 victory over Group A rivals Bayer 04 Leverkusen.
Wayne Rooney set the ball rolling after 22 minutes and although Simon Rolfes equalised early in the second half, United reasserted their supremacy with goals from Robin van Persie, Rooney again and Antonio Valencia. Ömer Toprak lashed in a close-range second for Leverkusen but by then Moyes was already assured a debut European victory at the club – something only two United managers before him, Sir Matt Busby and Sir Alex Ferguson, had achieved.
Moyes's first UEFA Champions League lineup featured Maroune Fellaini, making his first start for his new side. The big Belgian lined up alongside Michael Carrick in central midfield, sitting deep and impressing with his calm, unfussy distribution. One pass gave Van Persie an early sight of goal but it was Rooney who provided the breakthrough. Carrick and Shinji Kagawa combined to play in Patrice Evra on the left and the full-back crossed to the far post where Rooney volleyed the ball into the turf and up past Bernd Leno, whose view was obscured by Valencia.
The black headband Rooney is wearing to protect an injury is unlikely to join the Fellaini wig on the souvenir stalls outside Old Trafford but he departed the field late on to a standing ovation after an evening's work that included his 199th and 200th goals for United.
Despite the noisy backing of their supporters, Leverkusen were struggling to impose themselves and more chances came at the other end with Rooney flashing a free-kick narrowly wide and Kagawa's volley drawing a fingertip save from Leno.
United should have added a second goal soon after the restart when Toprak's slip let in Rooney, yet after rounding Leno he rolled the ball wide. Instead of 2-0 it was 1-1 two minutes later thanks to a fine strike by Rolfes. Collecting a lay-off from Son Heung-Min, the captain left David de Gea rooted to the spot with a curling effort that, with the help of a slight deflection off Carrick, flew just inside the post.
As it was, Leverkusen were level for as little as five minutes as Van Persie met Valencia's cross with a hooked volley that Leno could only palm into the net. Lars Bender – fit enough for just a substitute cameo – tested De Gea with a low drive, but moments later Rooney ran clear at the other end and this time made no mistake.
Rooney was not done there, releasing Valencia to bury a low shot past Leno as United registered a fourth on the counter, and there was still time for Van Persie to miss an open goal and Toprak to find the net.