Depay brace powers United

Dutchman shines as English side drub Brugge

Depay brace powers United

Memphis Depay announced himself to Old Trafford with two stylish goals as Manchester United came from behind to beat Club Brugge 3-1 in Tuesday’s Champions League play-off first leg.

Bidding to reach the group phase after a first season out of the competition in 19 years, United fell behind to an early Michael Carrick own goal, only for Depay to turn the game around before half-time with a pair of brilliant strikes.

Brandon Mechele was sent off for the visitors in the second half, but it was not until stoppage time, when substitute Marouane Fellaini converted a cross from Depay, that Louis van Gaal’s side truly took control of the tie, which concludes in Bruges next week.

It had been 504 days since Old Trafford last hosted a Champions League game and there was a tangible sense of anticipation in the air as United made a vibrant start to the game.

But it was the hordes in blue and black in the East Stand who were the first to leap from their seats as Club Brugge took a shock eighth-minute lead.

Victor Vazquez’s free-kick from deep on the left flicked off Adnan Januzaj and in attempting to clear the ball, Carrick succeeded only shinning it past his own goalkeeper, Sergio Romero, from 16 yards.

It was the first goal United had conceded this season, but they were level within five minutes as Depay opened his account for the club in style.

Picked out by Carrick’s pass, the Dutchman chested the ball up and flicked it over a defender’s head before tiptoeing into the box and arrowing a right-foot strike into the bottom-right corner.

Rooney had a volley hooked off the line by Vazquez and Depay squandered a one-on-one by trying to find Januzaj, only to overcook his pass.

The visitors’ cause was not helped by the sight of veteran skipper Timmy Simons limping off through injury, with Claudemir replacing him, and in the 43rd minute the hosts went ahead courtesy of another fine strike from Depay.

This time the 21-year-old cut inside his marker wide on the left and arced a glorious shot inside the right-hand post from the corner of the box.

In the later half, Mechele saw red in the 80th minute after receiving a second yellow card for a foul on substitute Javier Hernandez and United finally made their dominance count when Fellaini headed home in the 94th minute. 

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