Match ends, Manchester United 4, Bayer 04 Leverkusen 2.
David Moyes began his Champions League campaign as Manchester United manager with victory against Bayer Leverkusen on a night Wayne Rooney scored his 200th goal for the club.
Rooney has emerged as United's outstanding performer so far this season after a summer of transfer speculation and he was the inspiration once more as Bayer Leverkusen were comfortably beaten.
The striker - still wearing protection on the head wound that sidelined him for the defeat at Liverpool and England's draw in Ukraine - put the hosts ahead in contentious fashion as the German side appealed furiously for offside.
And United had to survive a minor scare when Leverkusen captain Simon Rolfes equalised early in the second half before Moyes' side fashioned the emphatic victory their superiority deserved.
Robin van Persie's acrobatic volley put United back in front before Rooney turned on the style once more by scoring United's third and setting up another for Antonio Valencia with a pass weighted to perfection.
Omer Toprak's scrappy late second for Bayer could not take the gloss off a highly satisfactory night for Moyes on his first European adventure with United.
Rooney produced a body of evidence that only emphasised why Moyes and United were so steadfast in their refusal to consider his sale, despite the player's discontent and offers from Premier League rivals Chelsea.
Rooney's rehabilitation has been impressive and he was easily United's most dangerous performer as the Premier League champions got the three points they needed to start this Group A campaign.
He proved too powerful for the Bundesliga side to control and it would have been a familiar sight to their coach Sami Hyypia after his 10-year career at Liverpool.
Son Heung-Min was unfortunate to be shown a yellow card for a tussle with Rooney - but Leverkusen's pain was even more acute when he put United ahead in controversial fashion after 22 minutes.
Leverkusen thought Van Persie was offside in the build up but they were even more aggrieved when the referee's assistant - standing almost on top of the incident - failed to spot Valencia standing in a clearly offside position alongside keeper Bernd Leno as Rooney swept in Patrice Evra's cross.
Leverkusen showed signs of life after Rooney's goal but it was United, with Marouane Fellaini patrolling midfield effectively on his full debut, who were dictating terms and creating the better chances, with Rooney just off target with a free-kick and Shinji Kagawa's shot deflected just wide.
Rooney should have doubled United's lead, or at least given Van Persie the opportunity to do so, in a remarkable passage of play early in the second half.
Toprak's slip left Rooney clear as he rounded Leno but he decided to shoot rather than play the simplest of passes to Van Persie in front of an open net and fired his effort across the face of goal.
It was real reprieve for Leverkusen and they took full advantage seconds later as captain Rolfes swept a precise finish past motionless United keeper David de Gea, with the help of the slightest glance off Michael Carrick, after 54 minutes.
Leverkusen were only on terms for five minutes before Van Persie restored United's advantage with a typically athletic volley from Antonio Valencia's cross - although he was aided by a dubious attempt to save from Leno, who flapped limply at the shot as it went past him.
It effectively settled the contest and Rooney wrapped it up with a clever finish past Leno at the near post for a 200th United goal since his move from Everton in 2004.
And there was a touch of the old United flourishes when they went further in front with 12 minutes left. Rooney was instrumental once more as they broke at pace, bursting clear before providing an inviting pass for Valencia to take in his stride and drill past Leno.
Toprak scrambled in Leverkusen's second after 87 minutes - but it hardly qualified as consolation and Van Persie should have scored another only to somehow turn his effort across the face of an open goal when it seems more difficult to miss.
- 1De Gea
- 31FellainiSubstituted forCleverleyat 80'minutes
- 25A Valencia
- 10RooneySubstituted forHernándezat 84'minutes
- 26KagawaSubstituted forYoungat 71'minutes
- 20van PersieBooked at 39mins
- 8de Abreu Oliveira
- 22da Silva
- 3ReinartzBooked at 19mins
- 18SamSubstituted forKruseat 78'minutes
- 11KießlingSubstituted forDerdiyokat 78'minutes
- 7Son Heung-MinBooked at 14minsSubstituted forBenderat 64'minutes
- Damir Skomina
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Manchester United 4, Bayer 04 Leverkusen 2.
Attempt missed. Emre Can (Bayer 04 Leverkusen) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Stefan Reinartz.
Attempt missed. Robin van Persie (Manchester United) left footed shot from very close range is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Antonio Valencia with a cross.
Goal! Manchester United 4, Bayer 04 Leverkusen 2. Ömer Toprak (Bayer 04 Leverkusen) left footed shot from very close range to the high centre of the goal following a corner.
Stefan Reinartz (Bayer 04 Leverkusen) hits the bar with a header from very close range. Assisted by Emre Can with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Bayer 04 Leverkusen. Conceded by Rio Ferdinand.
Foul by Chris Smalling (Manchester United).
Emre Can (Bayer 04 Leverkusen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Manchester United. Javier Hernández replaces Wayne Rooney.
Tom Cleverley (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Lars Bender (Bayer 04 Leverkusen).
Attempt saved. Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) header from the left side of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Patrice Evra with a headed pass.
Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Lars Bender.
Attempt blocked. Antonio Valencia (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Emir Spahic.
Substitution, Manchester United. Tom Cleverley replaces Marouane Fellaini.
Goal! Manchester United 4, Bayer 04 Leverkusen 1. Antonio Valencia (Manchester United) right footed shot from the right side of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Wayne Rooney following a fast break.
Substitution, Bayer 04 Leverkusen. Eren Derdiyok replaces Stefan Kießling.
Substitution, Bayer 04 Leverkusen. Robbie Kruse replaces Sidney Sam.