UCL qualifier: Manchester United edge closer to Europe with victory over Club Brugge

Memphis Depay

By Toby Prince

Memphis Depay
Memphis Depay

Manchester United moved a step closer towards a return to the UEFA Champions League group football after recording an emphatic 3-1 victory over Club Brugge on Tuesday night at Old Trafford.

The Red Devils have summer signing, Memphis Depay, to thank as the Dutchman turned on the style scoring twice and providing an assist to lead the resurgence after Michael Carrick own goal had given the visitors a shock lead.

An unchanged United side following their win at Aston Villa on Friday welcomed Belgian giants, Club Brugge, to Manchester for a place in the 2015/16 group stage of the Champions League.

The home side began the game the brighter of the two sides mounting early pressure with Wayne Rooney coming close as early as the 46th seconds.

They continued to threaten but found themselves behind after eight minutes as Carrick diverted Vazquez’s free-kick into his own net – the first goal conceded by Louis van Gaal’s side this season.

Brugge could not hold on to their advantage, though, as Carrick – who was replaced by Bastian Schweinsteiger at half-time – made amends with a superb assist for Depay’s equaliser after 13 minutes.

Chances continued to come for the hosts and two minutes before the break Depay doubled his tally, cutting in from the left and curling a precise effort beyond Sébastien Bruzzese.

Not satisfied with two goals, Depay quickly went in search of his hat-trick after the restart and was denied a third by a fine Bruzzese save after a marauding run.

With normal time over, United got their third goal in added time, as Marouane Fellaini rose at the back post to head home a deep cross from the left, giving Van Gaal’s side breathing space heading into the second leg.

In other games, it was a night of victory for home teams in the UEFA Champions League.

BATE Borisov 1-0 Partizan Beograd

Lazio 1-0 Bayern Leverkusen

Sporting CP 2-1 CSKA Moscow

FC Astana 1-0 APOEL Nicosia