Champions League
Man UtdManchester United3FC BaselFC Basel0

Manchester United 3-0 FC Basel

By Phil DawkesBBC Sport
Marouane Fellaini heads in for Manchester United
Marouane Fellaini scored his second goal of the season for Manchester United

Manchester United made a winning return to the Champions League with a deserved home victory over Swiss side Basel.

Marouane Fellaini, who came on for the injured Paul Pogba in the first half, rose highest to head United ahead from an Ashley Young cross with 10 minutes to go to the break.

Romelu Lukaku strengthened their grip on the encounter by converting from among a group of players in the box from a Daley Blind cross following a short corner.

Marcus Rashford fired in his side's third from a Fellaini low cross seven minutes after coming on. The striker has now scored in his first appearance in the Champions League, Premier League, Europa League, FA Cup, League Cup and for England.

The scoreline could have been even greater for Jose Mourinho's dominant side, making their first appearance in Europe's premier club competition since 2015, having qualified by winning the Europa League in May.

They created numerous clear-cut chances, the best of which Henrikh Mkhitaryan side-footed against the post from close range after being found by a Lukaku cut-back.

Basel were pinned back in their own half for much of the game but could have forced a different outcome had Luca Zuffi not fired wide from an unmarked position in the box just before Fellaini's opener.

Mohamed Elyounoussi also forced David De Gea into a fine save with a rising shot from inside the box as the visitors became more ambitious in the final quarter of the match.

In the other game in Group A, CSKA Moscow beat Benfica 2-1 in Portugal.

Fellaini proves his worth again

Champions League group A

Before the game, United boss Jose Mourinho told reporters that he felt "weaker" without Fellaini in his squad.

The manager would rather not have had to call on him quite so early, with the Belgium midfielder coming on just 19 minutes in after Pogba suffered a hamstring injury.

It is a testament to Fellaini's display that United did not break stride following the loss of the in-form France international.

Fellaini was strong and accurate in the tackle, neat with his passing and once again illustrated his aerial prowess with the opener.

After starting the ball rolling for his side, he turned provider late on with an incisive pull-back to set Rashford up for the third goal.

Depending on the severity of Pogba's injury, United may need Fellaini now more than ever.

Another first for Rashford

Average player positions
The average positions of the players during Tuesday's game give an indication of the home side's dominance. Basel (right) have just two players in Manchester United's half

Rashford is making it impossible for Mourinho to leave him out of the United side.

Having started three of his side's four Premier League matches to date this season, the England forward was left out to allow Anthony Martial a turn from the start.

Shortly after being introduced, he once again demonstrated his awareness of an impending opportunity and ability to locate space in which to capitalise, darting into the box to dispatch Fellaini's cross.

His connection wasn't the truest, but it was enough to carry the ball past Tomas Vaclik.

It was his third goal of the campaign, the third game in succession in which he has scored and another debut goal to further underline his status as one of the most natural finishers in the English game.

Man of the match - Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United)

Marouane Fellaini
He didn't start the game but he had the biggest impact on it, scoring one and making another

United unbeaten at home in a year - the key stats

  • Manchester United are unbeaten in 32 successive home games in all competitions (W21 D11 L0) and have not lost at Old Trafford for a year, since 10 September 2016. This is their best unbeaten home run since October 2011 (37 games).
  • Marouane Fellaini's goal was the 100th scored by a Belgian player in the Champions League (excluding own goals).
  • His strike was also his 50th in English club football (33 for Everton, 17 for Man Utd).
  • Fellaini's goal was the earliest by a substitute for Manchester United in the Champions League since Ryan Giggs on 25 February 2003 against Juventus, which came after 15 minutes.
  • Romelu Lukaku became the 13th player to score on their Champions League debut for Manchester United.
  • This was the first time that two Belgians have scored for the same team in a Champions League game since 23 October 2002 (Club Brugge v Galatasaray).
  • Marcus Rashford is the fourth English teenager to score a Champions League goal for Manchester United after David Beckham, Wayne Rooney and Phil Jones.

Line-ups

Man Utd

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1de Gea
  • 18YoungBooked at 38mins
  • 2Lindelöf
  • 12Smalling
  • 17BlindBooked at 58mins
  • 6PogbaSubstituted forFellainiat 19'minutes
  • 31Matic
  • 8MataSubstituted forRashfordat 77'minutes
  • 22Mkhitaryan
  • 11MartialSubstituted forLingardat 69'minutes
  • 9Lukaku

Substitutes

  • 14Lingard
  • 16Carrick
  • 19Rashford
  • 20Romero
  • 25A Valencia
  • 27Fellaini
  • 36Darmian

FC Basel

Formation 3-4-3

  • 1Vaclik
  • 36Akanji
  • 17Suchy
  • 23BalantaBooked at 28mins
  • 5LangBooked at 61mins
  • 34XhakaBooked at 82mins
  • 7Zuffi
  • 25Riveros GaleanoSubstituted forOberlinat 77'minutes
  • 11Steffen
  • 9van WolfswinkelSubstituted forBuaat 66'minutes
  • 24Elyounoussi

Substitutes

  • 4Gaber
  • 13Salvi
  • 15Fransson
  • 19Oberlin
  • 31Schmid
  • 33Bua
  • 39Callà
Referee:
Ruddy Buquet
Attendance:
73,854

Match Stats

Home TeamMan UtdAway TeamFC Basel
Possession
Home61%
Away39%
Shots
Home18
Away8
Shots on Target
Home8
Away2
Corners
Home7
Away3
Fouls
Home12
Away14

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Manchester United 3, Basel 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Manchester United 3, Basel 0.

  3. Post update

    Offside, Manchester United. Romelu Lukaku tries a through ball, but Henrikh Mkhitaryan is caught offside.

  4. Post update

    Attempt missed. Mohamed Elyounoussi (Basel) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Éder Balanta.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Victor Lindelöf (Manchester United).

  6. Post update

    Dimitri Oberlin (Basel) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  7. Post update

    Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Marek Suchy.

  8. Post update

    Offside, Basel. Mohamed Elyounoussi tries a through ball, but Dimitri Oberlin is caught offside.

  9. Post update

    Foul by Jesse Lingard (Manchester United).

  10. Post update

    Manuel Akanji (Basel) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  11. Goal!

    Goal! Manchester United 3, Basel 0. Marcus Rashford (Manchester United) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the high centre of the goal.

  12. Post update

    Jesse Lingard (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  13. Post update

    Foul by Manuel Akanji (Basel).

  14. Booking

    Taulant Xhaka (Basel) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  15. Post update

    Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  16. Post update

    Foul by Taulant Xhaka (Basel).

  17. Post update

    Foul by Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Manchester United).

  18. Post update

    Taulant Xhaka (Basel) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  19. Post update

    Attempt missed. Marcus Rashford (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right from a direct free kick.

  20. Post update

    Marcus Rashford (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

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A

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