Sunday 14 August 2016

Match report: Bournemouth 1-3 United

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored on his United debut and Eric Bailly excelled as United opened our Premier League season with an impressive victory at Bournemouth.

The visitors were without record £89 million signing Paul Pogba whilst fellow new recruit Henrikh Mkhitaryan was named on the bench with Juan Mata preferred in the line-up.

That decision proved to be something of a surprise but after reacting angrily to his substitution last week, the Spaniard was all smiles as he got Jose Mourinho's tenure up and running. 

Simon Francis cleared bravely under pressure from Ibrahimovic early on and Wayne Rooney saw a sighter well saved by Artur Boruc after neat link-up play between Mata and Ander Herrera.

The hosts failed to heed those warnings, however, and United took the lead five minutes before the break after a double defensive error from Francis.

The defender attempted to play Herrera's ball back to his keeper but underhit the pass, allowing Mata to steal in.
His initial shot was saved by Boruc but the ball rebounded off Francis into the path of the playmaker who tapped home from close range. 

Bournemouth's Polish stopper blocked well from Rooney on 51 minutes and the skipper then had a penalty appeal waved away but he did not have to wait long for Reds goal number 246 of his career.

A lovely flick from Mata picked out Antonio Valencia and his centre was mishit by Anthony Martial into the path of Rooney who headed home with ease.

Things got even better for the visitors as Mourinho's side put the result beyond any lingering doubt just beyond the hour mark. 

A minute after Boruc had saved brilliantly from Ibrahimovic, Zlatan collected the ball 25 yards out and fired low into the corner for his second goal in as many competitive games for the Reds.

The goal continued a remarkable run of debut strikes for the Swede, who has now scored on his  Premier League, Serie A, Ligue 1, La Liga and Champions League bows. 

Adam Smith cut inside to blast home with 20 minutes to play, but- a superb stoppage time save from David de Gea aside- the Reds held firm to ensure a winning start for Mourinho and his men. 

Overall team performance: 7.5/10
United Faithful Man of the Match: Eric Bailly. A solid and impressive debut. 

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