A string of late goals gave Manchester United a convincing first leg win in Linz, Austria. Five different goal scorers left Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with a decidedly positive trip back to Manchester.
Odion Ighalo shines against LASK
The Nigerian forward continued his goal scoring form with his best yet for the club. United had played fine in the opening stages in the odd situation created by the lack of fans in the ground. But Ighalo’s goal was a moment of real quality.
He brought in a pass from Bruno Fernandes, kept in the air with two more fantastic touches, let it drop and struck it with venom and in off the crossbar. It’s the kind of goal that, perhaps, most United fans weren’t expecting him to score.
Aside from that, he showed his varied qualities. His hold-up play, as we all knew, was fantastic. He finishes with both feet, has a good first touch and his link-up play has been an additional positive.
Bruno Fernandes continues to excel for United
The Portuguese created four chances in the opening 29 minutes and got the assist for Fernandes’ goal. He’s now hit 30 goal contributions (16 goals, 14 assists) in all competitions for the season, including his time at Sporting. He’s only played 31 games.
In addition that, he made nine recoveries, more than anyone else on the pitch. He probably didn’t need to pay quite as long as he did as United raced into the lead, but his partnership with Fred is building wonderfully.
With his first goal in 32 games, United fans saw a Dan James smile again. He’s clearly a confidence player and a limited one, but it was a good run and finish. This goal comes after a good showing against Man City where he proved why he deserved to start the game.
“When he does finishing in training, his technique is top drawer,” James said about Solskjaer.
“It’s great to learn from a gaffer like that is great.”
James’ decision-making has a long way to go. Against City, that was on show on at least two occasions. Even in a good game against LASK, he missed an opportunity to pull it back once and shot way over the crossbar instead. He’ll get there eventually, though.
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