Mour­inho starts with United vic­tory

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport Starts Here -

MANCH­ESTER UNITED made a bril­liant start to the Jose Mour­inho era as goals from Juan Mata, Wayne Rooney and Zla­tan Ibrahi­movic sealed a 3-1 win in their Premier League opener at Bournemouth yes­ter­day.

Mour­inho is des­per­ate to re­store his tar­nished rep­u­ta­tion af­ter be­ing sacked by Chelsea last sea­son and the United man­ager en­joyed an en­cour­ag­ing re­turn to the touch­line in his first league match since a De­cem­ber de­feat at Le­ices­ter City trig­gered his exit from Stam­ford Bridge.

In the ab­sence of Paul Pogba, their world record sign­ing, United eased to vic­tory af­ter Mata pun­ished a hor­ri­ble mis­take by Bournemouth de­fender Si­mon Fran­cis just be­fore half­time and Rooney added the sec­ond af­ter the in­ter­val.

That set the stage for the lat­est mem­o­rable mo­ment in Ibrahi­movic’s glit­ter­ing career as the Swedish for­ward net­ted with a fine strike to mark his Premier League de­but in the same goalscor­ing style he cel­e­brated his maiden ap­pear­ances in Serie A, La Liga, Ligue 1 and the Cham­pi­ons League.

Af­ter a lack­adaisi­cal first half, United moved smoothly through the gears once Mata opened the scor­ing and, although Adam Smith got one back for Bournemouth, Mour­inho will hope to build on the mo­men­tum from this re­sult as he eyes a ti­tle chal­lenge.

“I’m very happy. Bournemouth al­ways start with great in­ten­sity but we kept our con­trol,” Mour­inho said.

“We weren’t sur­prised and then we started play­ing. In the sec­ond half we had a bit more con­fi­dence.”

Bournemouth were United’s op­po­nents when they con­cluded a frus­trat­ing league cam­paign last sea­son, but whereas the staid at­mos­phere at Old Traf­ford that day re­flected the drab na­ture of Louis van Gaal’s reign, there was a whiff of rev­o­lu­tion in the air on the gen­teel south coast as Mour­inho’s reign got un­der­way.

Mour­inho has wasted lit­tle time stamp­ing his author­ity on an un­der­achiev­ing squad and, although Pogba was serv­ing a one-match ban in­curred at Ju­ven­tus last sea­son, the United boss pa­raded new sign­ings Ibrahi­movic and Eric Bailly.

Ibrahi­movic started as United’s cen­tral striker with Rooney be­hind him and the wide roles filled by An­thony Mar­tial and Mata, who fea­tured de­spite the Spa­niard’s touch­line spat with Mour­inho when he was sub­sti­tuted hav­ing only just come on in last week­end’s Com­mu­nity Shield win over Le­ices­ter.

Mour­inho’s men took 23 min­utes to muster a shot and even then Mar­tial’s ef­fort from the left side of the penalty area flew well wide of Ar­tur Boruc’s goal.

But United fi­nally pieced to­gether an in­ci­sive at­tack when An­der Her­rera picked out An­to­nio Va­len­cia and the right-back crossed to Mata, who set up Rooney for a low shot straight at Boruc.

United were gifted the break­through five min­utes be­fore half­time af­ter a dis­as­trous mis­take by Fran­cis.

Mata scam­pered af­ter Her­rera’s long pass and Fran­cis re­sponded with a pan­icked and un­der-hit back­pass that the Spa­niard seized on.

Boruc was able to save Mata’s first shot, yet United’s luck was in as the ball hit Fran­cis, re­bound­ing into Mata’s path for the winger to tap into the empty net.

Ibrahi­movic had been anony­mous in the first half, but he came to life af­ter the in­ter­val, un­furl­ing a typ­i­cally ex­trav­a­gant volleyed back­heel that sent Rooney clear for a shot saved by Boruc.

United were forc­ing the is­sue more now and Rooney de­servedly dou­bled their lead with a closerange header af­ter Va­len­cia’s cross was mis­cued into his path by Mar­tial.

Ibrahi­movic, who ar­rived on a free trans­fer from Paris Saint Ger­main in the close-sea­son, capped United’s pe­riod of dom­i­nance with the goal of the day in the 64th minute.

Af­ter scor­ing the winner in the Com­mu­nity Shield with a tow­er­ing header, Ibrahi­movic showed he can do dam­age on the ground as well as he drilled a 25-yard strike low past Boruc, prompt­ing a ju­bi­lant cel­e­bra­tion from Mour­inho on the touch­line.

Smith re­duced the deficit in the 69th minute when the right-back lashed home from in­side the area, but it was too late to spoil Mour­inho’s party.— Su­perS­port

Jose Mour­inho cel­e­brates Zla­tan Ibrahi­movic’s spec­tac­u­lar de­but goal

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