Europa League: Manchester United Score Four, Inter Milan Crash Out
It was a landmark night for England captain Rooney at Old Trafford as he netted his record-breaking 39th European goal that took him past Ruud van Nistelrooy's milestone of 38
Wayne Rooney. (Getty Images)
London: It was a landmark night for England captain Rooney at Old Trafford as he netted his record-breaking 39th European goal that took him past Ruud van Nistelrooy's milestone of 38 and left his side well-placed to progress to the last 32 from Group A.
It has been a difficult period for Rooney, who had apologised for being pictured late at night at a wedding party while on international duty before then complaining that he had suffered "disgraceful" treatment from the media.
Feyenoord goalie Brad Jones then parried Zlatan Ibrahimovic's cross into his own net and Jesse Lingard completed the rout as United leapfrogged the Dutch side to take second place in the table, leaving them requiring just a point at Zorya Luhansk to guarantee progress.
Asked if his achievement felt more special after his recent dramas, Rooney told BT Sport: "All that's created by people like yourself asking questions like this. People in the media are making a big deal over nothing.
Leaders Fenerbahce had earlier put pressure on United in Group A with their 2-0 win over Ukraine's Zorya in Istanbul, Miroslav Stoch and Simon Kjaer scoring in the space of eight minutes midway through the second half.
Meanwhile Inter Milan's calamitous season hit a new low on Thursday as they squandered a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 at Israeli club Hapoel Beer-Sheva and suffer the embarrassment of an early Europa League exit.
For a while, it seemed the struggling Italian giants Inter, who had begun the night propping up Group K and had to win to survive, would be given a reprieve thanks to first-half goals from Mauro Icardi and Marcelo Brozovic.
Yet in keeping with a season in which they had already sacked manager Frank de Boer and fans had turned on captain Icardi for his comments about them in his autobiography, everything started to go wrong after the break.
Hapoel, who had caused a sensation by winning at the San Siro in their opening group match, pulled one back with a header from Lucio Maranhao before Inter keeper Samir Handanovic was shown a second yellow in conceding a penalty that Anthony Nwakaeme converted.
The latest setback left Inter down and out on three points but breathed fresh hope into Hapoel, who moved on to seven points alongside second-placed Southampton, who blew their chance of qualifying in the penultimate round with a 1-0 defeat at Sparta Prague.
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