Odion Ighalo’s outrageous first-half strike set Manchester United on an easy stroll past LASK as the Red Devils took firm control of their Europa League last-16 tie with a resounding first-leg win at a sparsely populated Linzer Stadion.
In his third start, Ighalo once again found the net as he had on the two previous occasions he’d led the line from the start for United.
And it was a thing of beauty too, infused with exquisite movement, mindboggling skill and silky touches with the only drawback being a lack of spectators to fully appreciate the bit of magic from the Nigerian after the Austrian government restricted the attendance in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Ighalo collected Bruno Fernandes’ angled pass and juggled the ball from right foot to left before unleashing a rasping left-footed howitzer that thundered in off the underside of the crossbar in the 28th minute.
Ighalo’s screamer vs LASK (0-1) #mufc
— United Goals ⚽️ (@UnitedGoals__) March 12, 2020
The strike brought his tally to four goals in just three starts for the club of his dreams. His other goals had come in his first start against Club Brugge in the Europa League and a brace against Derby in the FA Club in his second start.
The 30-year-old then turned provider for Daniel James to end a 32-game goal drought dating back to August to put United two goals up after 58 minutes.
Any lingering doubts about his place at United following his January move from Shanghai Shenhua have surely and firmly been buried on the strength of his performances for the Old Trafford club.
The Austrians barely laid a glove on the Red Devils and Sergio Romero wasn’t troubled for the entirety of the encounter as United opened the flood gates.
Fred’s incisive pass found Mata who found the bottom corner for United’s third before substitute Mason Greenwood who came in for Ighalo made it 4-0 in injury time.
There was still time for a fifth as Andreas Pereira’s speculative long ranger was helped into the net by Alexander Schlager’s weak gloves.
United scored a dominant victory that maintained their record of having never lost to Austrian opposition in European competition.
And the win means Ole Gunnar Solsjkaer has now equalled his longest unbeaten spell in charge matching the eleven games unbeaten run that followed his appointment.