Two goals and one assist, this is the stat of Memphis Depay after the UEFA Champions League Play-Off match between Manchester United and Club Brugge at the Old Trafford on Tuesday.
Depay, who was the first signing of Manchester United in this summer transfer window, proved it to the fans that he is indeed the worthy successor to the iconic no.7 jersey of the Red Devils.
United were down by a goal in the ninth minute of the game as Michael Carrick put one into his own nets. The Red Devils came back strongly after that and Depay was instrumental in helping United gain that two goal cushion ahead of their second leg against the Belgian side Club Brugge. Carrick made up for his mistake as he provided Depay with the assist for United's first goal.
"The Fellaini goal was massive for us, we are glad we got that and now we can look forward to next week. We knew that we needed one more goal to make us feel more comfortable when it comes to the next game," Luke Shaw told reporters after the match.
Shaw also went on to laud Depay and hopes that the latter would deliver more such performances in the upcoming season.
"Of course I am really happy for him. Now he's off the mark, hopefully it can bring him many more goals. I think our relationship is starting to build up. We have played a couple of games together and I am starting to understand how he wants to play. It is great to be playing with him, he can beat a man and he likes the attacking support from me as well — which is something I like to do," Shaw added.
United had most of the possession in both the halves of the first leg of the tie on Tuesday. They had more number of shots on goal as well than Brugge.
Brugge did get a chance to equalise in the second half when a backpass from Morgan Schneiderlin went to the goalkeeper Sergio Romero and Victor Vasquez of Brugge came close to putting that ball into the net but both the players collided and the referee called for a foul on Romero. That was indeed a lucky escape for United. If that goal was given to Brugge, they would have gone back home with two away goals and that could have been crucial in this tie. But that did not happen as Depay curled one ball into the box and Marouane Fellaini made no mistake to guide that into the Brugge nets in the stoppage time.
The Red Devils would feel unlucky as they were denied a clear penalty when one of the defenders touched the ball with his hands while battling it out with Fellaini inside the penalty box. But Fellaini made up for it. United did get a late advantage in the game as Brugge defender Brandon Mechele was sent off towards the end of the third quarter of the game.
The only point of concern for United boss Louis Van Gaal would be captain Wayne Rooney's 9-match goalless streak. But Van Gaal did back Rooney ahead of the 2nd leg tie against Brugge. Van Gaal expressed his delight and praised Depay for his match-winning performance.
"I want to kiss him tonight (Tuesday), because when you score two goals and give an assist also, then normally in the world you are the hero," Van Gaal told the reporters.
Overall, it was a good game for United as they will go into the second leg of this Champions League qualifier with a two goal cushion.