Match report: United 3 Brentford 0
Manchester United put on an emphatic farewell display to the 2021/22 Old Trafford home season with a 3-0 win against Brentford.
The last first-team match at the Theatre of Dreams for this campaign saw a first half goal from Bruno Fernandes after just nine minutes that set us on our way to victory.
A Cristiano Ronaldo penalty after 61 minutes, to make it 2-0, capped an entertaining performance from the no.7 that had set the tone for the Bank Holiday finale at home.
Raphael Varane also scored his first-ever goal for the club in the 72nd minute to round off the evening.
FIRST HALF - BRUNO SCORES BUT RONALDO HAS ONE CHALKED OFF
There was no time to settle back into your seats with a fast opening. It was almost a dreadful start for United with Brentford coming close just 10 seconds into the match. From the Bees’ kick-off, the ball found Christian Eriksen and his brilliant floating pass over our defence fed Bryan Mbeumo. With the striker ready to pull the trigger, in stepped Alex Telles to block the early goal chance.
United soon conjured up our own glorious opportunity after three minutes. Diogo Dalot picked out Ronaldo’s run into the box with an ‘Eriksen’-style delivery. Our no. 7 took the ball on his chest but then slipped as he was ready to convert.
Dalot’s early deliveries were impeccable and the right-back sent a well-timed beauty to meet Anthony Elanga’s run behind the Brentford defence. The Swede’s cross was on a plate for the drive into the box of Fernandes, who finished with power from the eight-yard line to put the Reds 1-0 ahead.
Two headers, one from Mbeumo and one from Ivan Toney, meant United were not having it completely our own way. But on a surface that saw a skiddy surface due to the early fine rain that had fallen at Old Trafford, United were enjoying zipping the ball around at speed.
Ronaldo was particularly loving the quick pitch and he opened a box of tricks and flicks to entertain the crowd. He was at the centre of many United chances, firing one free-kick at the keeper, appealing for a penalty when Mads Roerslev sent him to the floor and then Cristiano’s terrific flicked pass set up Juan Mata for a chance that the Spaniard, on his first Premier League start of the season, drilled just wide.
The pair linked up again for what looked like a Ronaldo goal to make it 2-0 after 44 minutes but, after Mata’s cross found the striker, who stuck the ball home, VAR checked for offside against our leading scorer and ruled the goal out, much to his, and the crowd's frustration.
SECOND HALF - RONALDO SCORES AGAIN AND VARANE GETS A FIRST
United were back straight on the attack following the interval and Dalot clipped a shot that was deflected off keeper David Raya and hit the bar, although Ronaldo was ruled offside in the build-up.
The Stretford End was ready to acclaim goal number two when Matic dinked over a cheeky pass for Fernandes whose drilled right foot shot zipped a whisker wide of the far post. Brentford were giving as good as they got, however, and a near-40 yard Eriksen free-kick needed attention from David De Gea in the 54th minute. Seconds later, our no. 1 stuck out a leg to block a shot from Toney.
Dalot was having an impressive evening and, on the hour, he sent Ronaldo scampering down the right. He muscled past Rico Henry but the full-back caught up and bundled him unceremoniously to the ground for a blatant penalty. Ronaldo’s spot-kick was venomous as he made it 2-0.
There was a standing ovation for Matic, in the 71st minute, when the Serbian left the Old Trafford field as a United player of the last time ahead of his departure this summer. He was probably still getting hugs and handshakes from the Reds' bench when Varane volleyed in from a corner to score his first goal for United and make it 3-0.
Edinson Cavani then came on for Elanga in the 74th minute and there was another emotional exit when Mata was subbed for Phil Jones.
The Spaniard applauded all four sides of Old Trafford and was embraced by Ronaldo on the pitch and then hugged by Ralf Rangnick in what appeared to a farewell moment.
United strolled to victory as the fans said goodbye to the home campaign for this season.
United: De Gea, Dalot, Lindelof, Varane, Telles, McTominay, Matic (Fred 71), Mata (Jones 74), Fernandes (c), Elanga (Cavani 74), Ronaldo.
Subs not used: Henderson, Bailly, Fernandez, Lingard, Rashford, Garnacho.
Goals: Fernandes 9, Ronaldo 61 (pen), Varane 72.
Brentford: Raya, Henry, Norgaard (Jensen 71), Toney, Jansson (c), Mbeumo (Wissa 75), Ajer, Eriksen, Janelt (Dasilva 71), Sorensen, Roerslev.
Subs not used: Fernandez, Jeanvier, Fosu-Henry, Baptiste, Stevens, Young-Coombes.