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UEFA Champions League
September 18, 2013
• Old Trafford, Manchester
Referee: D. Skomina
• Attendance: 73040
W. Rooney 22', 70'
R. van Persie 59'
A. Valencia 79'
S. Rolfes 54'
Ö. Toprak 88'
That's it for tonight unfortunately - we could have all done with another half-hour of action when it's that good! I've been Tom J Doyle, and thanks for joining us for all the action at Old Trafford. Bye for now.
The match had everything - great build-up play, breathless counter-attacks, fine finishes, hapless goalkeeping, and was a great advert for European football in general.
That's it! Manchester United get the three points tonight in a thrilling encounter with Bayer Leverkusen. David Moyes will be delighted to get off the mark with a convincing win - all the more so given that Wayne Rooney turned in a star performance with two strikes and an assist.
90' + 2'
Leverkusen are attacking but there's no chance to get back into this one now - they've shown heart and attacking nous, but defensive frailties have let them down badly tonight.
Three minutes of injury time now - what a fantastic game this has been.
What a miss from Van Persie! If anything this is worse than Rooney's, as Valencia fizzes in a delicious cross, but the striker contrives to side-foot the ball wide from all of three yards out. That's quite frankly astounding for any footballer to miss that, regardless of the fact that he's a world-class striker.
TWO FOR LEVERKUSEN!!! De Gea hasn't covered himself in glory these past two minutes. He tries to make amends for the corner by coming to punch, but gets nowhere near it as Reinartz heads against the bar. It's pinball in the area and Toprak fires it in off the underside of the bar. Too little too late, but it's sloppy from the hosts.
A little miscommunication between De Gea and Ferdinand now as a deflected ball bounces into the area, and the defender has to head it out for a corner with the keeper static...
Chicharito will have five minutes to try and bag a goal here. You've got to feel a little sorry for the Mexican - he's done absolutely nothing wrong, but when Rooney and Van Persie are in this kind of form, there's just no room in the team.
Rooney departs to a standing ovation from the Old Trafford faithful - it seems as though he's been forgiven for his summer dalliance with Jose Mourinho. Two goals always helps matters, mind.
Fellaini was replaced by Tom Cleverley there - the Belgian's passing wasn't always great tonight, but the presence he gives United in the centre cannot be overstated. He could well be integral to a good European campaign for Moyes' side.
United have a corner and the ball falls to Valencia 25 yards out. The crowd urge him to shoot and he obliges, but the effort is deflected. Another corner comes in and Rooney almost loops a header over Leno, but it's safe.
That really was a great all-round goal from the hosts - they've shown tonight that they can score when controlling a game and also on the break, which is a massive advantage in Europe. David Moyes looks delighted.
SUPERB GOAL FROM VALENCIA!!! That is a brilliant counter-attacking goal from United. Van Persie feeds Ashley Young on the left, and the winger sprints clear finds Rooney in the centre of the pitch. The striker rolls the ball to Valencia on the right, and he takes a touch before snapping a low effort into the bottom left-hand corner of Leno's net from 20 yards.
Ferdinand shows better concentration now by thumping a dangerous cross away with Bender lurking. He's had an scatty night, but was back to his dependable self there.
STAT ATTACK (via @OptaJoe): 13 - Robin Van Persie has bagged 13 goals in his last 13 games in all competitions for Manchester Utd. Prime.
De Gea easily collects Sam's weak free kick - the Spaniard has shown great concentration tonight with relatively little to do, and effectively got an assist for the third goal. A good night's work so far.
Van Persie gives away a free kick now in a good position for Leverkusen - the forward will have to be careful as he's on a booking, and he and the referee aren't exactly best friends...
Rooney has made amends for that earlier inexplicable miss and joins the 200 club for Manchester United. Say what you want about him not fulfilling his potential, but it's hard to argue with those kinds of stats.
STAT ATTACK (via @OptaJoe): 200 - Wayne Rooney has now hit 200 goals in competitive football for Manchester United. Legend.
TWO FOR ROONEY!!! De Gea launches a great goal kick upfield and Toprak and Spahic get themselves into all sorts of bother, with the ball falling kindly for the England striker. He's through on the left and makes no mistake this time, coolly slotting into Leno's near post.
Top stop by De Gea! Kiessling goes past Ferdinand easily and the ball falls back for a Leverkusen player to strike a fierce shot which the Spaniard does superbly to hold onto. Really fine handling there...
Van Persie and Rooney link well to feed Valencia on the wing, who drives at goal and has a fierce shot deflected wide of Leno's goal. The Ecuadorian has been in good form tonight after being out of sorts for much of last season.
23 minutes to go now, and it's been a scintillating second half of football. What else can the sides offer up?
Disappointing from Rooney as his effort is well headed away by a Leverkusen player. There was a collective sigh from the crowd as they know that was a great chance.
Van Persie wins another free kick 25 yards out - this is a perfect range for either Rooney or the Dutchman...
It's a good thing United scored when they did, as Hyypia has just thrown on Lars Bender for the visitors. He wasn't fit enough to start, but he's certainly got the talent to change a game.
Sebastian Boenisch, what are you doing?! Leverkusen get forward well and can apply some real pressure to United now, but the Polish left-back thumps an effort high and wide when well placed to cross. Mystifying.
It gets worse for young Leno every time you see the goal - the ball came straight at him but he stooped and shoved up an unconvincing hand, and in the end did nothing. You're never likely to get anything from Old Trafford if your keeper isn't in form.
GoalRobin van Persie
A STUNNER FROM VAN PERSIE!!! Valencia gets down the right really well and dinks a cute cross back for the striker, who acrobatically volleys over his shoulder with his right foot past a flapping Leno. The keeper really should have saved it, but it's still a top finish.
It's times like these that prove how difficult a competition the Champions League is. The right decision by Rooney would've put United in a commanding 2-0 lead, but now the game is on a knife edge with over half an hour to play. It goes to show decision-making at the highest level makes all the difference.
Leverkusen break once more and Kiessling feeds Sam on the edge of the area, but he can only bend an effort high and wide of De Gea's goal. The game has turned on its head.
ROLFES LEVELS IT!!! That miss from Rooney could be very costly as Leverkusen work some space in the United area, and the captain hits a curling effort which deflects wickedly off of Carrick's knee and into the corner of De Gea's net. No chance for the keeper, and we're all square.
What a miss from Rooney! This really should be 2-0 as he wins the ball from the defender and both he and Van Persie are through on goal. He should roll it to his strike partner for an open goal, but he is far too selfish and rounds the keeper before shooting across goal with Van Persie incredulous.
Rooney drives at goal from 45 yards but Cem puts in a wonderful sliding tackle to win the ball back - Leverkusen get forward and Ferdinand fails to deal with a high ball, and De Gea has to hold a low shot. They're not out of this one yet.
Rooney's running is already unsettling the visitors as he closes down Leno here, who shanks a goal kick out and United retain possession. He's just highlighted why a strong work rate is so important in European competition.
We're back underway at Old Trafford, and David Moyes is 45 minutes away from his first win in Europe with Manchester United. He'll need them in what is looking to be a tough group.
STAT ATTACK (via @OptaJoe): 18 - Man Utd are playing in the Champions League for the 18th consecutive season, the longest current run of any side. Stalwarts.
While question marks remain over the legitimacy of the strike, there's no doubt that United deserve the lead. They've shown far more attacking intent than Leverkusen, who will have to come out fighting in the second half to get anything at this rate - they look toothless in attack.
Manchester United lead Bayer Leverkusen 1-0 at half-time, and David Moyes will be pleased with his side's display so far. Wayne Rooney has another goal and has looked really sharp, though the visitors will rightly protest that the goal should never have stood.
Van Persie shapes to shoot from the edge of the area, but his effort is blocked and the ball squirms out of play - and that's half-time!
So close for Kagawa! A cross comes in from the right and the Japanese midfielder take it on his chest before curling a low effort back across goal - Can gets a touch on it to deflect it just wide of Leno's left-hand post.
Fellaini flaots a ball to nobody in particular, but wins the ball back with a strong challenge. He needs to be more careful in possession, but if you can win it back that easily, it's always easier to forgive...
Close for Rooney! He gets the ball up and over the wall, but there's just too much curve on it and it spins wide by a foot or so with Leno scrambling to his left. A great effort, but it's still 1-0.
Son plays a lovely cross-field ball here but Leverkusen can't create anything out of it. They lose the ball and Van Persie wins a free kick from 25 yards after a clumsy trip from Can. Up steps Rooney...
Yellow CardRobin van Persie
Van Persie shows major frustration now and is booked for shouting in the referee's face from inches away after he gave a free kick against the Dutchman. There have been a few question marks about the striker's attitude this season, and replays of that certainly do him no favours.
Another half-chance for United now as Van Persie has a chance to chip Leno after a fine through-ball from Kagawa, but he elects to try and pull the ball back from the edge of the six-yard box and can't find a tram mate.
STAT ATTACK (via @OptaJoe): 199 - Wayne Rooney is now just one goal away from hitting the 200 mark for Man Utd in all competitions. Devil.
Van Persie looks for Rooney in the centre with a cross from the left, but Can does well to cut the ball out. Not a great cross from the Dutch striker, but he's showing a willingness to drop off and create for the England striker, which bodes well for United.
Boenisch is getting forward well on the left and linking with Son, but the South Korean has been a little wasteful in possession. Given his yellow card as well, he looks like a substitution waiting to happen.
Leverkusen have another corner - they haven't troubled United in the air so far, but Moyes may be a tad concerned if the game carries on in this fashion. A one-goal lead is always tricky in Europe.
Smalling does well in the air to head it out for a corner with attackers lurking - and he does the same again from a cross moments later. It's no surprise he was chosen tonight ahead of Fabio given his aerial ability.
Leverkusen were angry with the goal, and it looks like they have every right to be. Antonio Valencia was right in front of the keeper in an offside position when Rooney volleyed home, and actually looked to have fouled Leno when he tried to save the ball. The officials have missed that one completely - that's poor considering one is directly stationed behind the goal as well.
Rooney wins a corner now with a delicious bit of skill, turning his marker on the flank and almost getting away from him. He may have wanted to join Chelsea in the summer, but he looks lean, fit and full of desire for United.
Evra shows better defensive discipline here as he stoops low to head back to David de Gea to prevent Sam from getting through on goal. A great couple of minutes for the full-back.
ROONEY SCORES!!! That's two in two for the United striker at Old Trafford as he calmly controls a volley into the roof of the net from eight yards from an Evra cross. Rooney side-footed the ball into the ground and the bounce evaded Leno, and Moyes has his first taste of a proper Champions League goal.
Close for Smalling! From the resulting free kick, Van Persie curls a cross in from the right and the defender gets his head on the ball from six yards. He can't get enough direction on it though, and the ball loops onto the roof of Leno's net.
Yellow CardStefan Reinartz
The yellow card is out again, and it could have been red to be honest. Stefan Reinartz is late and high on Carrick here, and catches the United midfielder on the ankle. That's a poor, poor challenge, and he's a tad lucky to still be on the field.
Kagawa shows quick feet again to find Rooney, who fashions a pass for Michael Carrick to thump from 30 yards...no, the midfielder elects to pass it out wide despite the crowds' cries to shoot. He's shown he can score from range before, and should have had a crack there.
Evra is beaten on the left and Rio Ferdinand has to bail out the left-back by getting his head to the resulting cross. There's no doubting the Frenchman's quality going forward, but he does look vulnerable against wingers of Champions League quality - perhaps that explains why Moyes was so intent on signing Leighton Baines.
Yellow CardHeung-Min Son
United break away from the corner and Rooney sprints into space down the right, but Son Heung-Min drags his shirt back to stop him getting away. The referee blows up and rightly books the South Korean.
Leverkusen have their first spell of pressure now as Evra loses possession, but Smalling does well to get the ball away with a strong interception. The ball comes back though, and the visitors have another corner...
Leverkusen have a corner now, and Kiessling is down after an apparent head injury. He's back on his feet though - Hyypia will be happy with that.
Robin van Persie unleashes a srive from 25 yards or so here, but it skids off along the turf and wide of Leno's left-hand post. The keeper was stretching, but it was never troubling him.
Rooney has a half-chance here, collecting the ball from 20 yards out after a neat pass from Kagawa on the left. He can't quite sort out his feet though, and his shot is blocked before it can trouble the goalkeeper Leno.
United are stroking it about confidently now, with Fellaini getting on the ball and Wayne Rooney dropping off into space to open up the options. It's early days, but the big Belgian seems to give United a tactical solidity that will serve them well on nights like this.
Oof! Smalling goes in hard here and loses his footing, going straight through a Leverkusen player. He escapes a booking because it's so early on, but the referee makes it clear the next one will be a yellow.
Fellaini gets his first applause of the night after nullying Sam off of the ball as the Leverkusen midfielder bears down on the United goal. That's what Moyes bought him for - United have needed a combative midfielder for years.
Kagawa has indeed started out on the left, but he'll no doubt drift infield to his preferred position with Patrice Evra overlapping to provide the width.
We're underway! Leverkusen look full of energy from the off, but it remains to be seen whether they'll sit deep and counter or take the game to United.
The teams are out, the floodlights are on and the Old Trafford crowd is in full voice - these are the kind of nights that Moyes and Fellaini left Everton for. It's up to them to prove themselves now.
"How do you get experience? You have to go somewhere and try it. Hopefully the players will help me along!" So said David Moyes to ITV moments ago. Will his lack of experience affect United's European hopes this season? Let's find out...
Leverkusen boss Sami Hyypia will be desperate to take something from Old Trafford being a former Liverpool favourite, but the task is made harder by the absence of the influential Lars Bender, whose creative talents are so integral to his side's play.
Stefan Kiessling is the main danger-man for the Bundesliga visitors tonight, with four in five league games. Leverkusen have 12 points from 15 this season, and will present a real test for the Premier League champions tonight.
It looks as if Kagawa be drifting in from the left though, so it remains to be seen where Moyes views the Japanese playmaker's long-term future in the side. Ashley Young only makes the bench after coming under fire for being booked for diving against Crystal Palace on Saturday, while Chris Smalling slots in at right-back.
The main news for the Red Devils is that £27.5 million summer signing Marouane Fellaini starts his first game in central midfield, while Shinji Kagawa is also a surprise selection given his lack of game time this season.
Leverkusen subs: Palop, Wollscheid, Hilbert, Bender, Oztunali, Kruse, Derdiyok.
United subs: Lindegaard, Fabio, Evans, Anderson, Cleverley, Young, Chicharito.
Bayer Leverkusen starting XI: Leno; Donati, Toprak, Spahic, Boenisch; Reinartz, Can, Rolfes; Sam, Kiessling, Son.
Manchester United starting XI: De Gea; Smalling, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Carrick, Fellaini, Valencia, Kagawa; Rooney, Van Persie.
Good evening and welcome to the LIVE commentary of Manchester United v Bayer Leverkusen in the first round of group games in the 2013/14 Champions League. I'm Tom J Doyle (@TomJDoyle) and I'll be guiding you through all the action in David Moyes' first European night at Old Trafford.
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