Manchester United survive tricky test

The records will show that Manchester United won a game they were expected to win in the Stade de Suisse but manager Jose Mourinho has every right to feel more satisfaction.

His team overcame a hard, artificial turf pitch and 32,000 Young Boys fans determined to create a din on their first Champions League night since the competition was rebranded in 1992. United survived an uncomfortable first 30 minutes, but by the end of the first half were 2-0 up and a game that looked like an accident waiting to happen was under control.

There will be sterner tests in Group H — even if Juventus do turn up at Old Trafford next month without Cristiano Ronaldo — but Mourinho’s men started with a win in difficult circumstances. There was need for pre-prepared excuses in the post-match press conference, just a sense of contentment that has been missing so far this season.

However, for periods in the first half it looked like Young Boys were ready to cause a shock on their group stage debut. Inside the first 20 minutes, Guillaume Hoarau’s header flashed past the far post and David De Gea tipped over from Mohamed Ali Camera’s 20-yard drive.

Enter Paul Pogba. The French midfielder started the game having only ever scored two Champions League goals but, by half-time, had doubled his tally. The first was a beauty after 35 minutes, when he danced around two challenges before firing a left-footed shot into the roof of the net.

Nine minutes later, Pogba had two. Luke Shaw’s cross hit Kevin Mbabu’s hand in the penalty area and Pogba scored his third spot kick of the season. The run-up — trotting forward like a show pony — looked comical but the finish, high into the top right-hand corner, was anything but.

In the second half, he gave someone else a turn, carrying the ball forward to set up Anthony Martial to score a third after 66 minutes. Game over and slip-up avoided.

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