MANCHESTER, UK: 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 (Wednesday in Manila) 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 (Fellaini’s goal) makes a difference because 2-1 is a very difficult result,” said United manager Van Gaal.
“I am very happy for Memphis because a player needs that. I said it was a matter of time and hopefully he shall continue.”
Depay told BT Sport: “It is a nice feeling to score two goals at Old Trafford. We have to travel to Bruges and finish the job.”
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.