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Rooney back on form as United outclass Feyenoord to ease Europa League worries

The win means the Red Devils now only need a draw, in their final game away to Zorya Luhansk, to progress.

Juan Mata, right celebrates with Wayne Rooney.
Juan Mata, right celebrates with Wayne Rooney.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

WAYNE ROONEY BECAME Manchester United’s outright leading European goal-scorer as Jose Mourinho’s side enhanced their chances of progressing in the Europa League by sinking Feyenoord 4-0 on Thursday.

Rooney struck in the 35th minute to claim his 39th European goal, one more than Ruud van Nistelrooy, and move to within just one goal of Bobby Charlton’s all-time club scoring record of 249.

Further goals by Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard and a Brad Jones own goal completed a win that left United a point below Group A leaders Fenerbahce in second place ahead of their final game at Zorya Luhansk.

United will go into that game knowing a draw will take them into the last 32, having avenged their 1-0 match-one day defeat at Feyenoord, who slipped to third in the group.

Thursday’s win was a personal triumph for Rooney, 31, who branded the British media “disgraceful” after he was pilloried for partying late into the night while on England duty.

Charlton, now a United director, was watching on at Old Trafford and could now see Rooney equal his record against West Ham United in the Premier League on Sunday.

Mourinho made six changes to the United team held 1-1 by Arsenal last Saturday, the most notable of which saw Henrikh Mkhitaryan make his first start since September 10.

The Armenia playmaker, a 26 million pounds ($32.4 million, 30.7 million euros) signing from Borussia Dortmund, showed no signs of rustiness and was a source of menace throughout.

After a strong start, there was a scare for United midway through the first half when Eljero Elia jinked past Phil Jones and delivered a cross that was deflected into the path of Rick Karsdorp.

Source: Football Premium/YouTube

The right-back’s shot was blocked by United goalkeeper Sergio Romero and when Dirk Kuyt smashed the rebound goalwards, the Argentina international stuck out his right leg to complete a smart double save.

- Mkhitaryan goes close - 

Feyenoord had struck late to defeat United in the reverse fixture in Rotterdam, but any thoughts of a repeat were banished 10 minutes before half-time as Rooney rolled back the clock in style.

Picking up the ball on the left touchline inside his own half, he beat Karsdorp, slid a pass infield to Zlatan Ibrahimovic and cantered into the box to collect the Swede’s through ball and dink a shot over former Liverpool goalkeeper Jones.

There was a question of offside, and Renato Tapia was left on the deck after a coming-together with Rooney on the edge of the box, but German referee Manuel Graefe allowed the goal to stand.

Energised by the goal, United began to turn it on the second half.

Mkhitaryan sped past five Feyenoord players, only to be denied a free-kick after being clipped by Jens Toornstra, while Mata’s elegant chip drew a finger-tip save from the backpedalling Jones.

Mkhitaryan was soon on the scene again, exchanging passes with Ibrahimovic, stealing past Kuyt — another Liverpool old boy — and thrashing a left-foot shot into the side-netting.

A second goal seemed a matter of time and so it proved in the 69th minute as Ibrahimovic’s deft pass freed Rooney, who cleverly squared the ball for Mata to slide it home.

Jones denied Ibrahimovic after his weak kick had gone straight to Mkhitaryan, but he was more obliging moments later when he inadvertently deflected the Swede’s cross into his own goal.

Lingard, a late replacement for Mata, was twice thwarted by Jones, but prevailed at the third attempt with a curling left-foot shot.

Tonight’s Europa League results in full

Group A

Fenerbahce (TUR) 2 (Stoch 59, Kjaer 67) Zorya Luhansk (UKR) 0

Manchester United (ENG) 4 (Rooney 35, Mata 69, Jones 75-og, Lingard 90+2) Feyenoord (NED) 0

Group B

FC Astana (KAZ) 2 (Anicic 59, Despotovic 84) APOEL (CYP) 1 (Efrem 31)

Olympiakos (GRE) 1 (Fortounis 48) Young Boys (SUI) 1 (Hoarau 58)

Group C

Qabala (AZE) 1 (Ricardinho 15-pen) RSC Anderlecht (BEL) 3 (Tielemans 11, Bruno 90, Teodorczyk 90+4)

Saint-Etienne (FRA) 0 Mainz 05 (GER) 0

Group D

Dundalk (IRL) 0 AZ Alkmaar (NED) 1 (Weghorst 9)

Zenit St Petersburg (RUS) 2 (Kokorin 44, Kerzhakov 90+1) Maccabi Tel-Aviv (ISR) 0

Group E

Austria Vienna (AUT) 1 (Rotpuller 57) Astra Giurgiu (ROU) 2 (Florea 79, Budescu 88-pen)

AS Roma (ITA) 4 (Dzeko 11, 61, 88, Perotti 82) Viktoria Plzen (CZE) 1 (Zeman 18)

Group F

Athletic Bilbao (ESP) 3 (Raul Garcia 10, Aduriz 58, Inigo Lekue 79) Sassuolo (ITA) 2 (Balenziaga 2-og, Ragusa 83)

Genk (BEL) 1 (Karelis 11) Rapid Vienna (AUT) 0

Group G

Ajax (NED) 2 (Schoene 40, Tete 50) Panathinaikos (GRE) 0

Celta Vigo (ESP) 1 (Aspas 8) Standard Liege (BEL) 1 (Laifis 81)

Group H

Gent (BEL) 2 (Coulibaly 32, Milicevic 40) Sporting Braga (POR) 2 (Stoiljkovic 14, Ahmed Hassan 36)

Shaktar Donetsk (UKR) 4 (Abdulkerim Bardakci 11-og, Dentinho 36, Eduardo 66, Bernard 74) Konyaspor (TUR) 0

Group I

Schalke 04 (GER) 2 (Konoplyanka 14, Aogo 80-pen) Nice (FRA) 0

FK Krasnodar (RUS) 1 (Smolov 85) Salzburg (AUT) 1 (Dabbur 37)

Group J

Fiorentina (ITA) 2 (Bernardeschi 33, Babacar 50) PAOK (GRE) 3 (Shakhov 5, Djalma Campos 26, Rodrigues 90+3)

Slovan Liberec (CZE) 3 (Vuch 11, Komlichenko 57-pen, 63) FK Qarabag (AZE) 0

Group K

Hapoel Beer Sheva (ISR) 3 (Lucio Maranhao 58, Nwakaeme 71-pen, Sahar 90+3) Inter Milan (ITA) 2 (Icardi 13, Brozovic 25)

Sparta Prague (CZE) 1 (Costa 11) Southampton (ENG) 0

Group L

FC Zurich (SUI) 1 (Rodriguez 87-pen) Villarreal (ESP) 1 (Bruno Soriano 14)

Steaua Bucharest (ROU) 2 (Momcilovic 68, Tamas 86) Osmanlispor (TUR) 1 (Ndiaye 30)

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