Manchester United scored three goals in a football match?! That really doesn’t happen very often.
It’s just a shame that it came in the Europa League against Partizan, a side currently sitting in fourth place in the Serbian League.
Still, the result confirmed United’s progression to the next stage of the competition and with their league form continuing to disappoint, lifting the trophy may provide the Red Devils with their best chance of bringing Champions League football back to Old Trafford next season.
Manchester United have qualified for the UEFA Europa League round of 32 after beating Partizan Belgrade 3-0 in Group L at Old Trafford
— Sky News Breaking (@SkyNewsBreak) November 7, 2019
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer surprised a few people with his strong team selection in a game that many viewed to be unimportant compared to United’s upcoming Premier League fixtures.
Youth academy graduates James Garner and Brandon Williams were only afforded a place on the bench, much to a number of fans’ dismay.
Brandon Williams has easily been our best LB this season. Should have started with Garner. #mufc
— ManUnitedZone (@ManUnitedZone_) November 7, 2019
I can’t believe we’re playing such a strong team. Surely Garner, Williams can start this game? 路♂️ & id Maguire or AWB get injured this match 臘♂️. Anyway no excuses for not scoring more than a couple goals then 廊廊
— FlexUTD (@FlexUTD) November 7, 2019
Team selection issues aside, the game started with a bang. Both sides had the ball in the back of the net inside five minutes, but both Anthony Martial’s strike and a potential Harry Maguire on goal were ruled out for offside – all without the aid of VAR.
Minutes later Marcus Rashford had two good chances to score and failed to convert either one. The first was created from an Aaron Wan-Bissaka cross and the second was an even easier opportunity from point-blank range. Twitter was not best pleased, to say the least.
United should be two goals ahead. Martial with the reverse pass to Mata, who finds Rashford, but the forward is wasteful again. #MUFC
— Tom McDermott (@MrTomMcDermott) November 7, 2019
And this is why I feel Rashford will always be a scorer of great goals but never a great goal scorer.
— Keith Russell (@Keith_Russell) November 7, 2019
Public enemy number one Rashford somewhat redeemed himself for his sloppy finishing in the 22nd minute when he provided the assist for a fine Mason Greenwood goal. However, there was some debate over whether the through ball was actually intended for Juan Mata.
Regardless, it was a fine finish from Greenwood who is now seriously knocking on the door for more playing time in the Premier League.
Yessss young Mason!! Accidental assist from Rashford turned out to be a good one!
— Al Foran (@ImpressionistAL) November 7, 2019
Brilliant driving run from Rashford for the goal. Cool from Greenwood to take his time instead of snatching at it first time.
— Rob Dawson (@RobDawsonESPN) November 7, 2019
The goal galvanised the United attack, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side soon doubled their lead thanks to an incredible goal from Anthony Martial.
The Frenchman jinked past three Partizan defenders before slipping the ball into the back of the net.
A timely reminder of what this man can produce when he’s on form.
Anthony Martial that is utterly sensational. What a goal! #MUFC
— United Xtra (@utdxtra) November 7, 2019
#mufc 2-0 Partizan. Five touches of pure class from Martial (I’m counting the knee) for a goal to drool over
— Laurie Whitwell (@lauriewhitwell) November 7, 2019
Rashford eventually joined the scoring party just after half time, when he smashed in United’s third goal.
The strike was a long time coming and fans expressed their joy at the 22-year-old’s fifth goal in as many games on social media.
It was a shame that his celebration did not go as well as his finish…
Someone send me that Marcus Rashford celebration. That was a physical representation of my life.
— Jarrod Govender (@JarrodGovender) November 7, 2019
United cruised through the second half and never looked in danger of conceding.
The result represented a much improved performance for the Red Devils, who lost to Bournemouth in the league on Saturday, and will give Solskjaer’s side confidence going into their next fixture against Brighton at the weekend.