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Picking up where they left off
The win follows last week’s impressive 2-1 win over last season’s finalists PSG.
It’s also the club’s first win at Old Trafford this season.
Going up against a team with the pace and pressure of Leipzig, the Reds showed their attacking prowess early on.
In the 6th minute off a free-kick, Harry Maguire’s header settled nicely for Fred who’s one-timer was well saved by Peter Gulacsi.
A few minutes later a great through ball from Fred released Martial down the right but his cross to Mason Greenwood was just out of reach.
In the 21st minute, the breakthrough came when Paul Pogba’s through ball found Greenwood in stride.
The 19-year-old just beat the offside trap and tucked his shot into the corner for the opening goal.
The goal seemed to be a brief wakeup call for the Bundesliga leaders who pressed hard for an equalizer.
A good long-range effort from Christopher Nkunku in the 24th minute was well saved by David de Gea.
Leipzig had most of the ball for the rest of the half but United’s defense held up nicely.
The Portuguese international found Rashford behind the Leipzig defense before the Englishman found the back of the net in the 74th minute.
The assistant-referee initially flagged the play down for offside.
However, VAR revealed that Rashford was in his own half when the ball was played through so the call was reversed and the Reds took a 2-0 advantage.
Four minutes late the pair were at it again as Rashford found his way past Dayot Upamecano to make it 3-0.
United was far from done.
Anthony Martial was brought down in the box late in the match by Marcel Sabitzer.
The Frenchman stepped up to take the kick in the 87th minute and scored his first goal of the season.
In the 92nd minute, Rashford completed his hat-trick.
A defense that’s been shaky all season had perhaps their best 90-minute outing of the season.
Leipzig played their traditional style of pushing the pace and pressuring the opposition full-backs but tonight United’s backline was up to the task.
Shaw, Maguire, Wan-Bissaka, and Lindelof allowed only two shots on target against a very well-balanced attacking side.
Wan-Bissaka made some pivotal challenges at fullback.
The omissions of Rashford and Fernandes were a big surprise.
Within 10 minutes of his introduction, Fernandes already had two assists setting up Rashford for goals in the 74th and 78th minute.
Rashford exposed some holes that few have found this season in the Leipzig defense with several grade-A chances to score.
With three goals Rashford became only the second player in club history to score a hat-trick as a substitute.
The first was Solskjaer when he scored four off the bench in a match against Nottingham Forrest in 1999.
At 22, he’s now the 2nd youngest player in Champions League history to score a hat-trick behind only Kylian Mbappe.
Needless to say, Rashford was the easy choice for Man of the Match.
This is only the second time since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson that Man United have won their first two fixtures in the Champions League.
The last one was under Jose Mourinho in 2017/18.
Leipzig conceded more goals in this game than they did in seven games combined across all competitions this season.
Heading into tonight’s match they’d only conceded three times.
This is Leipzig’s most lopsided defeat in their short history in Europe.
On the opposite side, it’s Man United’s biggest victory since November 2013 when they beat Bayer Leverkusen by the same score.
As you’d expect Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was delighted with his team’s performance.
“We had to rest a few because the season is relentless, so we used the squad. This group is coming together. The more quality and spirit you have the more you get the performance.
“Marcus Rashford came on and did well but the groundwork was there from the team, that’s what you want that from the subs. What a shift they put in. Leipzig are a high press team, the intensity, so we had to dig deep.”
What it means
The win puts Manchester United on top of Group H with 6 points.
PSG who beat Istanbul Basaksehir 2-0 is tied for second with Leipzig with 3 points.
The Turkish champions are bottom with no points in two matches.
Matchday 3 for the Reds is next Wednesday from Basaksehir Fatih Terim Stadium at 5:55 pm.
On Sunday United go for their second win at Old Trafford when they host Arsenal at 4:30 pm. (JSL)