Club Brugge 0-4 Manchester United (agg: 1-7)
Wayne Rooney scored his first European hat-trick since 2004 and clinched United's place in the group stage.
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- Wayne Rooney's hat-trick seals United's 20th group campaign
- Ander Herrera notches fourth as United end 12-month exile from competition
- Club Brugge back in UEFA Europa League after last term's quarter-final showing
- Group stage draw in Monaco on Thursday at 17.45CET
Manchester United marched impressively into the UEFA Champions League group stage after delivering a 4-0 knockout blow to Club Brugge in their play-off second leg in Belgium.
Wayne Rooney spearheaded their return to the competition they have won three times with a hat-trick as Louis van Gaal's team posted a 7-1 aggregate victory over opponents who had led for five minutes at Old Trafford eight days ago.
If Michel Preud'homme's team regretted Marouane Fellaini's 94th-minute third last week, they will have been no less rueful when Rooney made the 20th-minute breakthrough here. Memphis Depay, on target twice in the first leg, slipped in the England captain for a dinked finish over Sinan Bolat. Soon afterwards, Bolat denied Depay as Rooney almost repaid the compliment.
The earlier chances untaken by Tom De Sutter and Boli Bolingoli Mbombo now resembled lost opportunities. Depay also wasted an opening, allowing Oscar Duarte to block his shot, before Club Brugge produced a squall of late first-half pressure. De Sutter, Daley Blind – inadvertently – and Davy De fauw caused scares in United's area before Abdoulay Diaby raced clear to be repelled by Sergio Romero.
However, three minutes into the second half, Brugge's possibilities of progress flatlined. A move involving Luke Shaw, Depay and Ander Herrera resulted in a tap-in for Rooney. The visiting skipper then calmly slotted his hat-trick goal after Juan Mata slid in the No10. It was Rooney's first European treble since hitting three past Fenerbahçe in 2004.
Bastian Schweinsteiger played through Herrera to pick his spot for No4, while Romero's crossbar deprived Hans Vanaken of a spectacular consolation. The only disappointment for United was a late penalty miss by Javier Hernández. Next stop for Van Gaal's side, pot two in Thursday's group-stage draw in Monaco; a day later Club Brugge will discover their opposition in their 20th straight UEFA Europa League/UEFA Cup campaign.
Michel Preud'homme, Brugge coach
Like we said before the game, if you want to have any chance against a quality team you have take every single opportunity. And that's what they did: they scored from their first chance. We had three good ones in the first half and we didn't score. Second half my team tried to play attacking football, tried to get up the pitch, and left too much space for the opposition. With the accuracy of their passing, you can see the difference in quality between the teams.
Louis van Gaal, Manchester United manager
We have always believed. We need more victories like this. For the fourth time [this season] we kept a clean sheet and now we have created a lot of chances, because Brugge had to attack and they were very open for us, so it was relatively easy. But you have to do it and that is not so easy as everybody thinks. But I was happy.