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Rooney helps United down Leverkusen in six-goal thriller
Manchester, England (Sports Network) - Wayne Rooney played a starring role in helping Manchester United open its Champions League campaign with a victory as the Premier League side earned a 4-2 win over Bayer Leverkusen at Old Trafford on Tuesday.
Rooney scored twice in the affair to become Great Britain's all-time leading scorer in the Champions League with 29 goals. He has now scored 200 times for Manchester United across all competitions.
The win lifts United to the top of Group A along with Shakhtar Donetsk after Alex Teixeira gave the Ukrainian side a 2-0 victory over Real Sociedad at the Anoeta.
Manchester United got off the mark in 22nd minute of Tuesday's clash in slightly controversial fashion. Patrice Evra's cross to the center of the penalty area was met by Rooney, who guided his effort off the bounce and into the back of the net. Bayer Leverkusen defenders contested the goal on the basis that Antonio Valencia, who occupied an offside position when the shot occurred, interfered with goalkeeper Bernd Leno, but the goal was allowed to stand.
Rooney had a tremendous opportunity to double United's lead early in the second half following a gaffe from the Leverkusen defense. The Englishman collected the loose ball and went around Leno in the box, but he pushed it too far ahead and sent his effort wide across goal from a tough angle.
The Red Devils were made to rue that miss as Leverkusen leveled the score just moments later. Heung-Min Son regrouped from a quick counterattack and laid the ball off for Simon Rolfes to curl home a splendid shot from the top of the penalty area.
But the home side restored its lead within five minutes as Valencia's cross to the top of the six-yard box was turned in by Van Persie's acrobatic finish.
Rooney atoned for his earlier miss by making it three for United in the 70th minute. It was route one stuff from the Red Devils as David De Gea's long punt was not dealt with by the Leverkusen defense, which allowed Rooney to get one- on-one with Leno and finish with ease.
United added a fourth in the 79th minute when Ashley Young picked out Rooney's surging run down the middle of the park. Rooney attracted two Leverkusen defenders before splitting the defense with a brilliant through ball to find Valencia, who smashed home an emphatic shot on target.
Omer Toprak helped Leverkusen tack on a consolation goal from a scramble following a corner kick in the 88th minute, but it did little to ease the pain of a poor result to open its European campaign.
Real Madrid opened its Champions League campaign with a resounding 6-1 victory over Galatasaray at the Turk Telekom Arena. Isco bagged the lone goal of the first half, but it was a hat trick from Cristiano Ronaldo and a brace from Karim Benzema that overwhelmed the Turkish side, which managed to pull one back through Umut Bulut.
Carlo Ancelotti's side rises to the top of Group B after Nicolai Jorgensen and Fabio Quagliarella exchanged goals in a 1-1 draw between Juventus and Copenhagen on Tuesday.
In Group C, PSG netted three second-half goals, two of which came from Thiago Motta, to claim a 4-1 defeat of Olympiakos while Filip Djuricic and Luisao scored in Benfica's 2-0 win over Anderlecht.
And In Group D, Champions League holder Bayern Munich cruised to a 3-0 defeat of CSKA Moscow behind goals from David Alaba, Mario Mandzukic and Arjen Robben while Manchester City got off to an impressive start by getting a 3-0 victory at Viktoria Plzen thanks to goals from Edin Dzeko, Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero.
09/17 17:02:38 ET
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