Romelu Lukaku marked his Champions League bow with a goal as Manchester United cruised past Basel 3-0 on their return to the competition.
Lukaku netted his sixth goal in as many games for United, back in the competition for the first time in two years, to help them secure all three points at Old Trafford.
Jose Mourinho handed Paul Pogba the captaincy, but his time wearing the armband was shortlived as a hamstring injury forced the midfielder off in the 19th minute.
Ironically, that moment led to United’s opening goal with Pogba’s replacement, Marouane Fellaini, nodding home Ashley Young’s centre in the 35th minute.
Any hope of a Basel comeback was snuffed out 10 minutes after half-time when Lukaku powered a strong header into the corner.
A fine night’s work for Mourinho’s side was capped with seven minutes remaining as substitute Marcus Rashford curled home a third.
United flew out of the blocks and, in the second minute, Lukaku saw a goal-bound effort blocked by Manuel Akanji.
That set the tone early on as the hosts pressed forward against a team unsurprisingly keen to sit back and defend.
Mourinho’s men were dealt a blow, though, as Pogba was forced off with a hamstring issue.
They did not immediately feel his absence, their continued dominance illustrated by Henrikh Mkhitaryan rattling the woodwork after being picked out by Lukaku.
Yet United almost fell behind 11 minutes before half-time when Chris Smalling’s clearance could only find Luca Zuffi – whose powerful volley flew just wide.
That appeared to re-awaken the hosts, who finally broke the deadlock when Pogba’s replacement, Fellaini, met Young’s pin-point cross with a bullet header.
Basel offered a reminder of their own threat before the break, Mohamed Elyounoussi capitalising on some slack marking to force David De Gea into a save after meeting Taulant Xhaka’s free-kick.
United began confidently after the break, with Anthony Martial beating two players before seeing a deflected effort pushed wide by Tomas Vaclík.
A second goal came hot on the heels of that chance as Lukaku rose highest in the box to head Daley Blind’s cross into the top corner.
The Belgian nearly grabbed a second soon after, with Vaclík called into action to push another header over.
Elyounoussi then forced De Gea into a smart one-handed save at the other end, before Martial went close.
The game entered something of a lull thereafter, although Mourinho signalled his intent by sending on Rashford.
And the forward repaid his manager by wrapping up proceedings, picking out the top corner after getting on the end of Fellaini’s deflected cross.
This story originally appeared on FourFourTwo.co.za