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Fellaini gets ManU off the mark

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Manchester: Substitute Marouane Fellaini proved an unlikely source of inspiration as Manchester United comfortably defeated Basel 3-0 on their return to the Champions League.

Fellaini, a replacement for the injured Paul Pogba, gave United a 35th-minute lead at a drizzly Old Trafford yesterday and teed up Marcus Rashford for the hosts' third goal after Romelu Lukaku had struck early in the second period.

It was United's first Champions League game since December 2015, with Jose Mourinho's side having engineered a return to the competition by winning the Europa League last season.

Basel had previously proved a thorn in United's side, eliminating them from the Champions League in 2011-12, and they inflicted a surprise defeat upon Mourinho in the first European game of his second Chelsea stint in 2013.

While Raphael Wicky's side were pushed aside without too much fuss in this Group A opener, Pogba's premature exit with an apparent hamstring injury meant Mourinho could not reflect on an entirely satisfactory night.

With Ashley Young coming into the United XI at right-back in place of Antonio Valencia to make his first start of the season, Pogba inherited the captain's armband from the Ecuadorian.

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