So, thanks for your company - night.
- 2nd Half
- van WolfswinkelBua66'
- 1st Half
Manchester United - FC Basel
Champions League - 12 September 2017
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Good enough for United, who played some decent stuff in patches and were far too good for Basel. They go to Moscow next, where they'll find a far stiffer challenge.
Full-time: Manchester United 3-0 Basel
It's not been much of a half, but United will be satisfied with their evening's work. Fellaini has stood in brilliantly for Pogba, Martial and Mkhitaryan looked sharp, Lukaku and Rashford both scored on their Champions League debuts. They've also kept a clean sheet, though that's got as much to do with Basel as it does decent defending.
There shall be two added minutes.
Worth noting that last season, Zlatan scored 28 and next was Rashford with 11. Already this season, Likaku has five, Rashford has three, and Fellaini, Martial and Pogba all have two.
GOAL! Manchester United 3-0 Basel (Rashford) What a ridiculous child Marcus Rashford is. Lingard moves down the right and finds Lukaku inside him; he slips ahead for Fellaini, the best player on the pitch tonight. Fellaini hits the line(!), crosses, and the ball misses Mkhitaryan and Suchy before Rashford, opening his body, sidefoots into the ground and high into the net for yet an other debut goal.
Rashford turns a pass inside for Mkhitaryan, who skates through the centre-circle; Xhaka has no choice but to pull him down, for which he's booked.
At Celtic, a fan ran onto the pitch and tried to kick Kylian Mbappe. He missed.
Straight away, Rashford stretches his legs down the left and moves into the middle. he's got options, but can't use any because Akanji hacks him down. Free-kick, just left of centre, 30 yards out ... and Rashford skews it high and wide, Ronaldo-style.
Change apiece: Oberlin for Riveros and Rashford for Mata
Young makes ground down the right, beating Riveros and Balanta, who pulls him down. Free-kick United, close to the touchline and level with the edge of the box - Mata curls into Vaclik's arms.
Chelsea, by the way, lead Qarabag 5-0.
CSKA now lead Benfica 2-1
I do wonder why it was Martial hooked and not Mata or Mkhitaryan. Perhaps it's because he'll be starting at the weekend, because he was looking dangerous. But I doubt it.
We're chugging a bit here, so let's note that Messi has scored two beauties, just brilliant finisher's goals; Barca lead Juve 3-0.
If I were Mourinho, which I'm not, I'd get Rashford on for Mata forthwith.
Martial, who's looked good when he's had the ball, departs; Lingard replaces him, post-handshake of course.
CSKA have equalised at Benfica.
I like this account.
Excellent play from Fellaini, protecting the ball on the right of the box, keeping it from Zuffi, swivelling, and drilling a low cross for Martial, who slides in only to see the chance skim off his boot and wide.
Change for Basel: Bua replaces Van Wolfswinkel. It looks like Lingard will soon be on for United.
Basel have had far too many clear sights of goal for Mourinho to be entirely happy with how his team have played tonight.
Mkhitaryan gives the ball away in midfield and Zuffi slides a lovely pass into Elyounoussi, inside the box, left hand side. Lindelof shepherds him away from goal, but a lovely turn as Lindelof slides in sets him for a powerful shot which De Gea beats away.
Mkhitaryan with the free-kick, and he clips in a perfect cross for Lukaku at the far post, who heads down, but not powerfully enough, and Vaclik is able to save a ball he oughtn't to have smelt.
Nice from United, springing forward with Mkhitaryan, who finds Martial. All night, Martial has had the beating of Lang so makes for him again, riding the inevitable foul for which Lang is booked.
Decent ball into the box looking for Van Wolfswinkel, Smalling doing well to intercept and shepherd back to De Gea.
Steffen gets the ball with some space into which he can run, so he puts the ball there, chases it, and Blind hacks him down. He's booked.
In commentary, Darren Fletcher astutely notes that Lukaku didn't have a run on that header; he just took his preferred position in the box, and was too strong for Basel to move.
Elsewhere in the group, Benfica now lead CSKA.
It's hard to see Basel coming back from that; United, on the other hand, have the chance to lay down some minor smack.
GOAL! Manchester United 2-0 Basel (Lukaku) United take the corner short, Blind to Mata, and when Blind takes the return he stands up a cross which Lukaku, outjumping Balanta, powers home.
Lovely from Martial, making an absolute sillybilly out of Akanji on the outside, then coming inside Xkaha and driving a low shot towards the near post .. Vaclik tips wide.
Nice fro Steffen, whipping a cross over from the right, and Lindelof does well to reach it before Van Wolfswinkel. United are not at it at all.
United could do with Rashford, I'd say. Lingard might be handy too.
Good ball in from Akanji - united have started the half slowly - and Lindelof has to be careful bringing it down to clear with Van Wolfswinkel lurking close behind him.
Xhaka makes his way through a couple of challenges, finding Van Wolfswinkel on the right. He takes a touch, savours it, and whams a cross miles past the back post.
Raphaël Wicky has got himself a coat. And hopefully a change of clothes.
Van Wolfswinkel finds himself back in the centre-circle looking for a touch, but lindelof follows him and dispenses the foul.
Basel get us underway again.
Basel's official Twitter is unusually sober.
That was a reasonable enough effort from United who, met with a disciplined and organised defence, made four or five good chances and took one. They should score again in the second half, but might have to - they don't look especially secure at the back. Otherwise, they'll be hoping Pogba isn't out for long.
Manchester United 1-0 Basel
Lindelof is uncertain inside his own box, and Lang's cross passes through the United box with Elyounoussi only just unable to get his foot on it.
Raphaël Wicky is directing his players in just a syoot - a nice one which he wears well, it's true, but he is absolutely drenched.
There shall be two added minutes.
Smalling smallings a backpass to De Gea from point-blank range - De Gea manages to bump it away, but is fortunate Elyounoussi can't volley first time.
Mkhitaryan enjoys another run, this time down the right - he's having a very fine night - so megs Balanta before eventually being stopped by two other defenders.
This is a cross, right?
Back to Fellaini, he's not everyone's idea of a United midfielder, but he's an option few other teams have and has constantly made significant contributions in big games. And there he is again, pulling to the right of the box to nod down a wonderful pass from Mkhitaryan, clipped over the top from 40 yards away. But no one gambled by hitting the box, and Suchy was able to block and clear.
One might've thought that United scoring once would allow them to have their way with Basel, but it's not working out like that - Basel have come out, but to have most of the play, not leave gaps.
Great ball curled in by Xhaka, and Elyounoussi is on the end of it! But he can only send a tame header into the turf, and De Gea fields easily.
Young slides in and sticks Riveros on the end of a proper teeth-rattler. He gets the ball, but the ref gives him a yellow and Basel a free-kick, 35 yards out on the left.
GOAL! Manchester United 1-0 Basel (Fellaini) You know tha koo! Mkhitaryan drags back and switches play nicely for Young, who dips inside on his left before nudging back onto his right, sorting Lang and Akanji at the same time. He then swings over a cross and Fellaini heads home firmly. Penny for them, Zuffi old mate.
Riveros swings in a cross from the left and Van Wolfswinkel bodies it down for Zuffi who, ten yards out, lashes well wide. That was a profoundly presentable chance.
artial accelerates down the flank and finds Fellaini who finds Blind - his cross hits aSuchy's hand just outside the box, but the ref sees nothing amiss.
Basel are defending very well at the moment; United have zipped through them a few times, but it's taken high-quality play on each occasion. This, I guess, is a difference between the Champions and Premier leagues; in the latter, you can breeze through evem the best teams on occasion.
At Stamford Bridge, Chelsea lead Qarabag 2-0; Zappacosta has scored a jazzer, apparently.
Balanta throws himself at Mkhitaryan with both feet and raps him on the shin, thus earning a booking.
United have righted themselves after losing Pogba, but Mkhitaryan has missed two great chances now. The first one was bad enough, but the second was as good as you'll see.
MAGICAL MISS MKHITARYAN! Lovely again from United, Mata finding Lukaku on the right of the box, and he drags the ball down the outside of Riveros very nicely, before squaring ... all Mkhitaryan needs to do is tap home, but somehow he bumps it against the post! He has another shy from the rebound, but can only loop that into Vaclik's arms.
Elsewhere, Neymar has scored for PSG at Celtic.
Fellaini for Pogba is an amusing change, it's true, but we're only two years since Powell for Mata in Wolfsburg. Also, Fellaini will score.
Pogba is the one player United can't replace. It doesn't look a terrible one, but it's hard to foresee him playing against Everton this weekend.
It's the way I tell 'em.
Bad news for United; Pogba looks to have diddled a hamstring, and Fellaini will shortly be on to replace him.
United are coming now, Matic, just outside the box, picking a clever pass through to Lukaku who comes across his marker and drills a low shot too close to Vaclik.
Lindelof lofts a lovely ball into Lukaku who shows and controls beautifully, moving to the right then laying infield for Martial. He scoops a delicious pass over the top for Mata, whose cross picks out Mkhitaryan ... only for him to head over the bar! That was superb from United, and they should now be ahead.
Nice from United, Mkhitaryan switching the angle of an attack to find Young on the right, and he then finds Mata who's immediate low cross is good, but cleared by Suchy.
Basel are sitting deep - with their three centre-backs, I wonder if United might want two centre-forwards. Anyway, it means Lindelof has space to move into midfield, which he does very nicely to start an attack which gets nowhere.
And Lang's delivery is decent, the ball whizzing across the box with no one from either side minded to attack it.
Basel, who've not really had a kick yet, get into United's half and Young gets away with a late challenge on Elyounoussi because the ball breaks for Riveros. He wins a corner off Lindelof...
Lukaku runs the inside-right channel, moving that way from centre-forward, and Young finds him - but Balanta is across well to cover.
Or should be pricing tickets more sensibly to begin with.
Despite the hype, the empty seats at Old Trafford tell a story. United should have been round schools today, giving spares away for free.
Good ball by Lindelof, out to Young down the right, and United win another corner; this time, it's cleared to the edge, whereupon Young shanks it well wide.
The Basel fans are making a decent row, and the pitch is cloudy with flares as Lukaku wins a corner down by the right by-line. Mata floats it into the box, Pogba looks to flick on, it hits another head, and Lukaku batters a shot which Akanji does brilliantly to block.
Off we go!
Proper Manchester weather in Manchester, or United weather as my little group of matchgoers call it. Clever, eh.
The music! What a tune!
Out come the teams!
Van Nistelrooy, incidentally: 38 Champions League goals in 45 Champions League starts. Still as ridiculous now as when he doing it, and the standard Lukaku for which Lukaku needs to be aiming.
United have, of course, been tripped up by Basel before. But one of United's greatest European goals also came against them, and pretty much turned their season around in 2002-03.
"Back to normality" says Mourinho about United being back with the big dogs. He goes on to explain that as soon as he knew that Smalling and Lindelof would play together tonight, he had them play together in training. He explains that Valencia is left out after he played twice for Ecuador and then returned to play for United two days later.
"We" will rankle with anyone old enough to remember Gothenburg away.
A small matter of note: Pogba, not Smalling, captains United tonight. The only reason for Pogba not to be the permanent captain is that he's got enough other stuff to be thinking about - he's the best player in the team and on-pitch leader in any case, Valencia is none of those things, and Herrera, the only other option, won't start most games.
That United team, in theory, is one to wipe Basel off the pitch. With Jones and Bailly both out and a bunch of players making their debuts in the Champions League, Mourinho might've been tempted to be cautious, but he's been so such thing. He swaps Rashford for Martial - and how nice would it be to see them both, plus Pogba, Mkhitaryan and Lukaku on the pitch at the same time - with Mata replacing Herrera. And at full-back are two crossing options, Ashley Young returning and Daley Blind in for Matteo Darmian.
Back to that Ronaldo "debate":
There's now discussion of Romelu Lukaku, and whether he's good enough. Realistically, he was probably the best available, but it's fair to say that he's not yet in the league of the best centre-forwards United have had in recent years - Cantona, Hughes, Cole, Yorke, Solskjaer, Sheringham, Rooney, Van Nistelrooy. He'll score loads for them, but needs to make sure he scores the right ones - his miss towards the end of the Stoke game was understandable, but unfortunate.
Frank Lampard just noted that he and Rio Ferdinand didn't play against Messi and Ronaldo at their best. I'm not sure about that; I'm not sure Messi has improved since 2011 nor Ronaldo since 2008, and either way, both played against the best team of the generation, by far - Barcelona 2009-2011.
Let's have some teams, then.
Evening all! After 658 days, Manchester United are back to not win the Champions League while being in the Champions League! Wahey!