Photo: Machester United celebrate a Marcus Rashford goal as the striker came off the bench to hit a hattrick in a 5-0 rout of LP Leipzig in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday. (Getty Images)
Manchester United put Bundesliga leaders, LP Leipzig to the sword in the Champions League on Wednesday, as they spanked the Germans 5-0 at Old Trafford, to register their second win in as many games in the competition this season.
Inspired by a second half hattrick from a ruthless Marcus Rashford, Ole Gunnar Solkjaer’s men showed their class to maintain poll position in Group H.
Solksjaer had rung the changes bringing in Donny Van de Beek for his first start in a United shirt, in place of Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba ahead of Scott McTominay, and Mason Greenwood ahead of Rashford.
And while Rashford stole the headlines after coming off the bench, it was teenage sensation Greenwood who gave United a 1-0 lead when he struck in the 21st minute, beating the offside trap and scoring in the far corner. After a long look, the decision was confirmed by VAR.
Leipzig were not overawed by their more illustrious opponents and put the home team under pressure for long periods in the first half, but were kept in check by a stout United defence, led by Harry Maguire at centre back, as the hosts clung on to their slender lead at half time.
With the game still hanging in the balance, Solksjaer went to his bench, introducing Rashford and McTominay for Greenwood and Matic just past the hour mark.
But it was Leipzig who threatened, as the much maligned David de Gea was forced to pull off a fine reflex save at his near post from a Konate header.
Five minutes after the first two changes, Solksjaer inserted Fernandes for Van de Beek and it didn’t take long for the Portuguese to make his mark on the contest. It was his pass to Rashford that sprung the hattrick hero, who despite being flagged for offside, made sure to finish off the chance and then saw the assistant referee being overruled by VAR.
The goal stood and United doubled their lead as replays showed that Rashford was inside the United half when the pass was made.
Four minutes after getting his first, Rashford doubled his tally and made it 3-0 to United, when he blasted home from about 16 yards into the bottom corner.
A rash challenge from Marcel Sabitzer on Anthony Martial inside the box saw yet another penalty being awarded to United and the Frenchman picked himself up to fire home his first goal of the season, as he made it 4-0 in the 87th minute.
Then in the second minute of added time, Rashford completed his hattrick when he drilled home to cap off a brilliant night for United, who are now sole leaders of the group.
PSG who lost in Paris to United last week, registered a 2-0 win over Istanbul Basaksehir courtesy of a brace from Moise Keane for their first points of the campaign and now sit second in the group. Leipzig are third, also on three points while Basaksehir are in fourth place without a point.