Manchester United 4 Bayer Leverkusen 2 match report: Wayne Rooney 200 club with man of the match display in the Champions League

England striker scores goals 199 and 200 of his Old Trafford career to give David Moyes a winning start to the Champions League

Old Trafford

Sir Alex Ferguson appeared to be scrutinising his mobile phone at the moment Old Trafford rose to acclaim Wayne Rooney as he came off late in the game tonight. The former Manchester United manager was never one for sentimentality anyway, but Rooney's relationship with his club's fans is a good deal less complex than the one with his old boss.

Many of those in Old Trafford will have seen Rooney's first three goals for United nine years ago this month when he scored a hat-trick on his debut against Fenerbahce. Tonight they witnessed Rooney's goals No. 199 and 200 that place him 49 behind the all-time club record held by Sir Bobby Charlton. The same record that was held up by David Moyes as something Rooney should stay around to surpass during his summer of tension.

Rooney now stands alongside Charlton, Denis Law and Jack Rowley as one of only four men in United's history to score 200 goals for the club. It was not a landmark one envisaged him reaching when Ferguson landed aimed that transfer request accusation at him in May and it is fair to say that the storm that blew up that day has still not dissipated.

Yet, as United won the first Champions League game of the Moyes era, it was Rooney who was the main man, even with a superb second goal from Robin Van Persie. The Germans got themselves level at 1-1 against the run of play but once United took the lead again it was never in doubt. Somehow Leverkusen scored a second with two minutes to play and Van Persie conspired to miss an open goal from a yard out just moments later.

This was Rooney's night, and not just for the goals he scored as Moyes pointed out later. It was Rooney's pass as United swept forward with ten minutes left, that played in Antonio Valencia who scored the fourth. With that giant foam band around his forehead, Rooney might look like a man who has been separated from the critical part of his top hat. Tonight his performance was sufficiently assured that he could have played in one.

Who knows what Ferguson makes of it all. He sat on the back row of the directors' box but still seemed to be going through all the usual agonies when chances went missing. One supposes that we are about to find out when the autobiography arrives in little more than a month's time and it will be interesting to see what effect that has on the Rooney dynamic.

The striker seems to be entering one of those periods when the goals come easy for him. He scored against Crystal Palace at the weekend and tonight was sharp all around the Leverkusen area. Sami Hyypia did a much better job of dealing with Rooney at times during his career than the former Liverpool defender's back four did tonight. Rooney's form requires defenders to be on their game and Leverkusen were nowhere near.

There was a good performance elsewhere from Marouane Fellaini who tidied up effectively in front of the United back-four. There was a start for Shinji Kagawa, his first of the season, a reprieve for the player whom Moyes has chosen to ignore thus far.

It was a side that had been selected to attack the German visitors, with Valencia on the right and the Rooney and Van Persie combination in attack. Whatever the interpretation placed on Moyes' remarks about Rooney in pre-season this was evidence that he does not feel he had to choose between his two famous strikers when there are games that need to be won, and the initiative seized, at Old Trafford.

Hyypia's Leverkusen side are third in the Bundesliga after five games, the same position that they finished in last season. They have lost Andre Schurrle to Chelsea since May and tonight they looked like they were caught between hanging on for a draw, before they went behind, and seeing if they could test United's vulnerabilities. In the end they did neither and were fortunate to score twice.

United dominated the first half and broke through at almost exactly the mid-point. Rooney improvised well to score from Patrice Evra's cross from the left, hitting the ball on the volley down into the ground and past Bernd Leno in the Leverkusen goal.

Wayne Rooney scores the opening goal (EPA) Wayne Rooney scores the opening goal (EPA)  

The chance had, in part, been created by Van Persie's work out on the left to keep the ball. The Dutch striker had a strange first half. He shot wide from Fellaini's throughball on ten minutes, the most promising sight of goal he got before the break. He was also booked, finding himself nose-to-nose with the Slovenian referee Damir Skomina when neither of them prepared to back down.

It should have been over as a contest with seven minutes of the second half played. The Leverkusen defender Omer Toprak turned back towards his own goal, fell over and let Rooney in on goal. He went around Leno easily enough and, wide to the left, should have had no problem wrapping his left foot around the ball and tucking it into an empty goal.

At that point Rooney might have changed his mind and considered squaring the ball to Van Persie who was unmarked in the area. In the event he did neither, his ball across the goal was too far ahead of Van Persie for him to be able to react and wide of the far post. It was a bad one to miss and United were made to pay within two minutes.

Leverkusen scarcely deserved the equaliser, yet their captain Simon Rolfes took the chance beautifully. It was created by some good work from Son Heung-Min, the South Korea international, who hung on to possession long enough to play it back out to Rolfes. He shaped his shot well, bending it in with a flight that began outside David De Gea's right post.

It was unfortunate for United and for Moyes, with Ferguson looking down on his successor from the stand opposite the one that bears his name. The United manager was rescued by the kind of quality that United have come to rely upon down the years. Valencia's excellent run ended in a cross from the right that was fractionally behind Van Persie and was sweetly volleyed past Leno, nonetheless.

Robin van Persie scores for United on the volley (Reuters) Robin van Persie scores for United on the volley (Reuters)  

Hyypia sent on Lars Bender, not regarded as fit enough to start. Unfortunately for the Leverkusen manager his defence let him down again. This time it was Emir Spahic who misjudged a header, allowing Rooney to run on goal and tuck it inside Leno's near post for No. 200.

Valencia scored an excellent fourth from the right, after the substitute Ashley Young, and then Rooney had worked the ball over from the left. The Leverkusen defender Toprak forced in a second for his side as United's defence failed to clear in the closing stages. Before then, Rooney had come off to devoted applause.

Wayne Rooney scores his second goal against Leverkusen (Getty) Wayne Rooney scores his second goal against Leverkusen (Getty)  

With an open goal, Van Persie somehow managed to direct the ball wide from Valenicia's cross late on, proving that even the truly talented are not immune to those calamitous moments. This, however, was Rooney's night, and everyone, Ferguson included, will have known that.

Manchester United (4-4-2); De Gea; Smalling, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Valencia, Kagawa (Young 70), Carrick, Fellaini (Cleverley 80); Rooney (Hernandez 86), Van Persie.

Bayer Leverkusen (4-3-3): Leno; Donati, Spahic, Toprak, Boesnisch; Can, Reinartz, Rolfes; Sam (Kruse 78), Kiessling (Derdiyok 78), Sun (Bender 64).

Man of the match Rooney.

Match rating 7/10.

Referee D Skomina (Slvn).

Attendance 74,000.

Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
art
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features staging of a playground gun massacre
Travel
travel
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
News
i100This Instagram photo does not prove Russian army is in Ukraine
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Sport
sportVan Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Life and Style
Martha Stewart wrote an opinion column for Time magazine this week titled “Why I Love My Drone”
lifeLifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot... to take photos of her farm
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
filmReview: Sometimes the immersive experience was so good it blurred the line between fiction and reality
News
i100
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Environment
Tyred out: should fair weather cyclists have a separate slow lane?
environmentFormer Labour minister demands 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists
News
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices