September 25, 2017, 1:31 am
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United blasts Basel in Champions start

MANCHESTER. – Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford both opened their Champions League accounts as Manchester United returned to the competition with a 3-0 rout of Basel in its opening Group A match at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

United, which missed last season’s Champions League but qualified this time by winning the Europa League, dominated the first half and deservedly went ahead through early substitute Marouane Fellaini’s 35th-minute header.

Belgian international striker Lukaku, a constant menace to the Swiss champions on his competition debut, doubled United’s lead with a textbook header soon after halftime.

Rashford came off the bench for his first taste of Champions League action and poached United’s third goal in the 84th minute.

“We are delighted with the win after the slip at Stoke at the weekend,” Lukaku said in reference to United’s 2-2 draw in the Premier League on Saturday, their first dropped points of the season. “The football wasn’t great but we won and that’s the most important thing.

“We are still a work in progress but we are doing well.”

Basel famously drew with and beat United in the group stages in 2011-12 to send Alex Ferguson’s side out of the competition.

The hosts were clearly determined not to let the Swiss ruin their eagerly-awaited return to a competition manager Jose Mourinho calls their “natural habitat” and the visitors were lucky to still be in touch at halftime having been pinned back

Lukaku, who now has six goals in six games for United since joining from Everton, ran riot for the hosts, having an early goal-bound shot blocked by the chest of Manuel Akanji while Henrikh Mkhitarayan wasted two glorious chances. – Reuters
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