MANCHESTER, Sporting Alert – Memphis Depay scored twice to inspire Manchester United to a 3-1 victory over Club Brugge in their Champions League play-off first leg tie at Old Trafford on Tuesday.
The travelers also finished the game with 10 players after defender Brandon Mechele was sent off in the 80th minute after collecting two yellow cards.
The Dutchman, who was scoring his first goals for his new club in competitive action, also assisted on Man United’s third, which was scored by the returning Marouane Fellaini deep into second-half stoppage-time.
Manchester United found themselves trailing in the 8th minute after Michael Carrick deflected a free-kick past goalkeeper Sergio Romero for Club Brugge to take a 1-0 lead on the road.
However, it took Louis van Gaal’s side just five minutes to equalise after Depay brilliantly finished off a solo move in the 13th minute.
The winger picked up a lovely pass from Michael Carrick, flicked the ball over the head of a defender, before faking his way past two more markers to set up his right-footed attempt that blew past Club Brugge goalkeeper Sebastien Bruzzese.
Depay doubled the lead two minutes before the halftime break when he netted another brilliant goal, after he was found by Daley Blind, who played through a nice ball from midfield.
The 21-year-old, who struggled to impress during the first two games of the English Premier League, cut inside on his right foot from the edge and then curled home a shot past the keeper to give Manchester United the advantage heading into the interval.
But the summer recruit missed a lovely chance to score his first ever hat-trick when he blasted over the crossbar with the goal at his mercy, this after Wayne Rooney found him unmarked inside the box with a cheeky backheel flick off a Luke Shaw cross.
With 10-minutes left in the game, Club Brugge had Mechele sent off for a second bookable offence on Javier Hernandez and the Red Devils took full advantage of playing with the extra man by scoring a third.
Depay expertly delivered a splendid cross for substitute Fellaini to head home for United and gave the Premier League club a two-goal cushion heading into the second leg.
“I am happy because of the last goal,” United boss Van Gaal told BT Sport. “We have practiced that before when we need Fellaini, we put him in the penalty area because he has that quality.
“I am very happy for Memphis because a player needs that. I said it was a matter of time and hopefully he shall continue.
“He is 21 and he has only played two seasons for PSV, I have confidence in him.
“It is not a simple opponent. It is still a game but, because of that last goal, it is more confident for us.”
Manchester United finished the game with 19 shots and had 69-percentage of the ball possession.
Both sides will meet again in Belgium, next Wednesday with the winner over the two legs moving on to the group stages.