Manchester United completed a 5-0 rout of RB Leipzig to go top of Group H in the UEFA Champions League, thanks to a second-half hattrick from Marcus Rashford.
The stage was set for the first-ever meeting between Manchester United and RB Leipzig. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer named a largely enthusiastic lineup for the fans and they were treated to something that justified the hype. United came close within the first 10 minutes, with Fred’s shot saved by Peter Gulacsi while Mason Greenwood failed to get a touch on a wonderful Anthony Martial grounded cross.
Greenwood redeemed himself soon after, getting on the end of a neat Paul Pogba pass to convert across the goalkeeper. RB Leipzig looked to switch the tempo to find the equaliser, but good saves and defending meant they ended the first half trailing to a solitary goal.
Leipzig started strong but Solskjaer’s substitutions changed the momentum. Marcus Rashford scored after being played through by Bruno Fernandes and he made no mistake in converting the 1-on-1. The MBE recipient was at it soon again, this time getting on the end of a a scuffed ball to slot it home past Peter Gulacsi.
Anthony Martial was brought down in the box and the Frenchman opened his account for the 2019/20 season through the penalty conversion. Edinson Cavani put the ball into the back of the net, only to be adjudged offside. However, Rashford had to have his hat-trick as he snapped at a neat pass from Anthony Martial to slot it home in additional time to make it 5-0 for Manchester United.
Let us now take a closer look at the individual ratings for the home side.
David de Gea – 6.5
Did not have much to do apart from a couple of routine saves but still seemed clear in communication in the box with his defensive line. Surely back to his former self.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka – 7.5
Nothing got past Wan-Bissaka and his last-ditch tackles meant Leipzig were dumbfounded in their efforts to get a scoring chance.
Victor Lindelof – 6.5
An assured performance at the back from the Iceman as his stock continues to rise this season, thanks to his performances. Came forward to nullify the threat of counters several times and tactical fouls, both in terms of committed and upon, were a key feature of the Manchester United performance.
Harry Maguire – 6.5
Did well to command the backline and was dominant in the air whenever needed.
Luke Shaw – 8
Easily the best player in the defensive line for Manchester United on Wednesday. The Englishman put in swerving crosses in the opposition box and prevented them from doing the same in defence with some ease that has been rarely seen in his performances.
Fred – 7
The engine of the team against RB Leipzig. One thing that has been a common feature in Manchester United’s turnaround after a lackadaisical start to the season has been Fred’s involvement. The Brazilian seems to bring in the much needed energy in midfield to scurry for second balls and it seems to make a huge difference against Leipzig as well.
His ability to handle the opposition press has also helped United stabilise.
Nemanja Matic – 6.5
Did his job well and made a couple of simple yet good runs to create space in midfield. The rotation scheme from Ole seems to be working for Matic, with the Serb looking fresh as ever.
Paul Pogba – 7.5
The best midfielder on the night, Paul Pogba pulled strings like no one could. His pass for Greenwood was sublime but there many other opportunities that could have resulted in a goal. He was also a constant threat when on the ball with his dribbling ability, which led to Leipzig fouling him in crucial areas in their own half.
Donny van de Beek – 6
Was a bundle of energy, but didn’t do much to influence proceedings before being substituted. Perhaps, Ole is justified in giving de Beek time to settle in as he looks to do better when coming on right now.
Mason Greenwood – 7
Became the third youngest Manchester United player to score in the Champions League or a European Cup and he seems to justify being in the company of Wayne Rooney and Brian Kidd. It’s better to let the football do the talking amidst all this rumours of his off-field antics and it is assuring to see the youngster not letting it affect his performances.
Anthony Martial – 8
Main man Martial was back in his elements against RB Leipzig, terrorising the defenders with his narrow runs from byline and technique. Converted the penalty but could have easily scored earlier in the game. Seems to be enjoying playing in a such a rewarding attacking setup and will be relieved to get off the mark for this season.
Scott McTominay – 6
Did well in midfield, but nothing too special. Was brought on to perhaps, provide some structure in midfield and a fresh pair of legs and he served his purpose.
Marcus Rashford – 10
The star of the night. Came on in the second half and scored a hat-trick with such precision, completing 3 take-ons in the process as well. Took the first two goals well but snapped at the chance in additional time. Gulacsi could have done better but he was probably switched off a bit. Rashford will take it, though, his first European hat-trick and maiden treble for Manchester United.
Can’t stop smiling, I’ve waited a long time for that. Just wish the fans were in to experience it with me ♥️https://t.co/FvvpO6JYWX#ENDCHILDFOODPOVERTY pic.twitter.com/QJGJxSzTlj
— Marcus Rashford MBE (@MarcusRashford) October 28, 2020
The kind of footballer and human Rashford is turning into is just a pleasure to watch as a bystander, a fan and an inspired individual.
Bruno Fernandes – 6.5
Had a hand in the attacking surge in the second half, coming on for van de Beek and was unlucky not to register an assist or get a goal.
Axel Tuanzebe – N/A
Was brought on to get some minutes and did just that.
Edinson Cavani – N/A
Another bright cameo as the Uruguayan put the ball into the back of the net, only to be adjudged offside by the linesman. Seems to be fully fit and will play a huge role in the coming weeks, especially with the packed festive schedule.