Europa League: Ighalo scores first United goal as they cruise through last 16 - Dove Bulletin - Online News Bulletin

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Europa League: Ighalo scores first United goal as they cruise through last 16

Europa League: Ighalo scores first United goal as they cruise through last 16

Odion Ighalo scored his first goal for Manchester United as they cruised into the Europa League last 16 at the expense of Club Bruges with one of their best performances of the season.

Bruno Fernandes scored his second United penalty in a week after Simon Deli was sent off for a ludicrous handball to block Daniel James' shot.

The Portuguese, who was at the centre of everything, had a hand in the second as he lifted a pass over the top to Juan Mata, who squared for full debutant Ighalo to tap in from six yards.

And Scott McTominay, making his first start following an injury, side-footed in a third to wrap the tie up before half-time.

They were less spectacular in the second half but Fred scored a late double to add further gloss to the scoreline.

Club Bruges brought thousands of noisy fans to Old Trafford to help with a good atmosphere - but their players could not match their efforts and created nothing of note.

The draw for the last 16 takes place on Friday at 12:00 GMT - with United able to face any of the other teams left.

Ighalo helps United to perfect first half

If United were to draw up a blueprint for the perfect half, it would probably have been something like 'goals for the January signings and the hometown favourite on his full return from injury. Oh, plus a red card so we only have to play the second half against 10 men'.

That is exactly what happened.

United were excellent - although Bruges did not look as dangerous as they did in the first leg - with the Old Trafford faithful appreciating what they were watching.

The undoubted turning point of the game was when Deli dived to stop James' effort with his hand - even though goalkeeper Simon Mignolet was diving behind him.

He was sent off - a decision upheld after a long VAR delay which did not seem necessary - and Fernandes kept his composure to stroke home his penalty with a stuttered run-up, just as he did against Watford.

Boyhood United fan Ighalo, a January loan signing from Shanghai Shenhua, made his first start because of an injury to Anthony Martial and took advantage by scoring into an empty net.

The biggest cheer of the night was probably for McTominay, who guided the ball home from 20 yards following Fred's cutback. It was his first start after two months out with a knee injury.

The beauty of such a good first-half showing is you can see out the second half with a solid showing without needing to do much.

That is exactly what happened, with Fred's simple finish from Lingard's unselfish pass giving the game the convincing scoreline it deserved.
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