Wayne Rooney played a starring role as Manchester United recorded their biggest European away win since 1964 to book themselves a place in the Champions League knockout stages with a game to spare on Wednesday.
Rooney might not have got his name on the scoresheet in the 5-0 win against Bayer Leverkusen but the 28-year-old's name was stamped all over a classy display that must rank amongst the best David Moyes has enjoyed during his short tenure so far.
Rooney collected the first four assists and was off the pitch when Nani scored United’s fifth. It was his cross that provided Antonio Valencia with a first half tap-in and Rooney who then curled over the free-kick that was headed into his own net by Emir Spahic as United took command before the break.
But the striker was not finished. His close-range shot midway through the second period was too hot for Bernd Leno to hold, allowing Jonny Evans to finish off and then he lobbed a pass to Chris Smalling.
Nani completed the rout as United became the first English side to score four in Germany in this competition and record their biggest away triumph in Europe since a 6-1 demolition of Borussia Dortmund in the old Fairs Cup.
It was a result that made a mockery of Leverkusen's status as second only to Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga, the European champions the single team to escape the Bay Arena with so much as a draw prior to this one-sided affair. Unbeaten and already through to the knockouts, Moyes could not have asked for much more.
Meanwhile, David Moyes celebrated his best day as Manchester United manager — but insisted there would be better occasions than Wednesday night’s amazing win.
“It was one of my best days as Manchester United manager but the best days are still to come,” he said. “We won well and played well, with some outstanding performances. Bayer Leverkusen have a great record here so to come here and win 5-0 puts it into perspective as well.”
“Wayne does not need a rest just now but I will be watching for any sign he does,” said Moyes. “We need people in form and fit, so I want to keep him as fresh as I can. He is one of those players who is probably better playing.”
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