Rooney grabs debut hat-trick
By Patrick Goss. Last Updated: 28/09/04 4:56pm
Old Trafford witnessed the birth of a new hero - as debutant Wayne Rooney scored a hat-trick against Fenerbahce to help Manchester United to a 6-2 win.
For anyone who thought Manchester United had paid over the odds for a teenager, Rooney showed just why he is the world's hottest talent with three fabulous goals on a debut that must rank amongst the most impressive ever witnessed on this historic ground.
Rooney's hat-trick, adding to a fine headed opener from Ryan Giggs, was helped by some naive defending from their Turkish opposition, but up front they looked lively and poor defending from set-pieces saw first Marcio Nobre and then Tuncay Sanli get the visitors some measure of consolation.
After some nervous moments for The Red Devils, including a save from Roy Carroll to deny Alex, Ruud van Nistelrooy finally settled the match with a well-taken fifth, before David Bellion put a gloss on the scoreline with number six.
Sir Alex Ferguson will be asking questions of his defence - but it would be churlish to focus on anything but the impact of the 18-year-old England international, who took just 17 minutes to open his account for his new club.
With Rooney and Rio Ferdinand in the starting line-up this was a Red Devils side that were a million miles from the almost apologetic team of the early season.
United took an early lead, carved out in some style by Kleberson who won the ball in midfield cantered down the left flank and laid on a perfect ball for Ryan Giggs - who headed home with aplomb.
For those that feared Rooney would fizzle like a damp firework under the pressure of the watching world - the youngster quickly underlined why United made him the most expensive teenager of all time.
After being put through by van Nistelrooy, the former Everton man looked to have drifted too wide, but cannily applied the brakes as Rustu Recber slid past him and curled narrowly over from the bye-line.
His first goal was not long in coming - van Nistelrooy playing the perfect bal through for Rooney to run onto and lash home superbly with his left foot as Recber rushed towards him.
The second was even better than first - dropping a shoulder to drift past a defender and lashing home low, hard and accurately into the bottom corner with his right foot - leaving Recber little chance.
There was still chance for Rooney to miss a hat-trick chance. A lovely move saw Gary Neville cut back for the teen - who flashed wide - before giving a rueful smile to his new team-mates.
The Old Trafford crowd must have struggled to contain their excitement through half time - but a quick goal from Fenerbahce quickly evaporated cloud nine.
Nobre had seen a goal struck off in the first half because the corner it came from had curled out of play - but he was not picked up yet again and converted with ease past Roy Carroll.
But the Rooney how rolled on, and the youngster claimed the match ball when a free-kick was floated almost gleefully over the wall and into the back of the net.
It should have been match over, but United's defence - looking confident from open play - were still dubious on who picked up who on set pieces, and it led to Fenerbahce's quick-fire second.
The ball was half cleared, but dropped to Tuncay, and although his original effort was blocked, his second found the bottom corner to give the Turks a glimmer of hope.
A more tired-looking Rooney then wasted a chance when he showed too much of the ball to Marco Aurelio after van Nistelrooy had again fed his new strike-partner.
The lead was nearly cut further when Carroll was forced to save well from Alex after the ball into the box w as again not dealt with, but van Nistelrooy finally ended his frustrations on the night by grabbing the all-important fifth.
The Dutchman was wonderfully picked out by Darren Fletcher, controlled on his chest then dropped the ball the other side of his marker before smashing home to settle nerves.
Five soon became six, when Bellion showed his pace to race onto a Rooney flick-on and slide home through Recber's legs into the back of the net.
Fenerbahce hit the post with four minutes left on the clock and will be annoyed that they did not score more on the night.
Not a perfect peformance by any means by his new team, but not far away from a ten-out-of-ten by Old Trafford's new teen sensation - and he has not even had the chance to play alongisde Cristiano Ronaldo yet.
|Man Utd||Team Statistics||Fenerbahce|
|3||1st Half Goals||0|
|8||Shots on Target||5|
|4||Shots off Target||5|
UEFA Champions League
Tue 28th Sep - Group D
Man Utd6 - 2Fenerbahce
Sp Prague1 - 2Lyon
Tue 28th Sep - Group A
Monaco2 - 0Deportivo
Olympiakos1 - 0Liverpool
Tue 28th Sep - Group C
Juventus1 - 0Mac Tel Avi
Bay Munich4 - 0Ajax
Tue 28th Sep - Group B
R Madrid4 - 2Roma
Dynamo Kiev4 - 2Leverkusen
UEFA Champions League Group A
UEFA Champions League Group B
UEFA Champions League Group C
|3||Zenit St. Petersburg||6||7|
UEFA Champions League Group D
UEFA Champions League Group E
UEFA Champions League Group F
|2||Paris St Germain||6||13|
UEFA Champions League Group G
UEFA Champions League Group H