Manchester United 4-0 AZ: Greenwood dazzles as host seals top spot

Ashley Young opened the scoring and Juan Mata converted a penalty but Mason Greenwood was the star of the show for Man United against AZ.

Manchester United players celebrate Greenwood's goal.   -  REUTERS

Mason Greenwood starred with a superb brace as Manchester United thumped AZ Alkmaar 4-0 to seal top spot in Europa League Group L.

The first half was in keeping with the fact both teams had already qualified but United sprung into life with a flurry of four goals inside 11 second-half minutes.

Teenage forward Greenwood was to the fore after Ashley Young opened the scoring, dispatching a pair of fabulous finishes either side of winning a penalty that Juan Mata converted.

AZ was left to rue a pair of missed chances from Calvin Stengs as United romped clear to be assured of a seeded spot in Monday's draw for the knockout stages.

Andreas Pereira forced AZ goalkeeper Marco Bizot into an early near-post save but the lack of jeopardy in the game was initially reflected by its entertainment levels.

Netherlands forward Stengs dragged unconvincingly wide before the interval and appeared to be caught by surprise when Owen Wijndal's low 47th-minute cross found him in the midst of a disorganised United backline, prodding too close to Sergio Romero.

Anthony Martial fired wastefully over on the half volley after some fine work from Greenwood, and United's 54th-minute opener came from a more unlikely source.

Pereira cleverly twisted out of a tight space by the left corner flag and combined with Mata and Nemanja Matic before the former cut across the six-yard box for the onrushing Young to find the roof of the net from an acute angle.

Greenwood swiftly doubled the lead with an unerring finish from the edge of the box, although AZ was aggrieved that James Garner was not punished for a foul on Fredrik Midtsjo in the build-up.

AZ continued its collapse when Jordy Clasie clumsily brought down Greenwood, and Mata dispatched his penalty beyond Bizot's dive.

There was more to come from the 18-year-old striker, who danced inside Stijn Wuytens and lashed inside the near post in the 64th minute to complete the scoring.
 

What does it mean? Solskjaer keeps revival running

Following the restorative 2-1 wins over Tottenham and Manchester City in the Premier League, United was faced with the sort of challenge it has come to dread of late – a match it entered as favourite. A torpid opening period suggested a return to familiar struggles but then it turned on the style.

Greenwood lives up to his billing

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is no stranger to unhelpful hyperbole, but Greenwood seems to relish measuring up to the tag of being "one of the best finishers I've ever seen". His opener might have come with a slice of controversy but each of his goals were dispatched with crisp precision.

Midtsjo not spared by ref reprieve

Although replays suggested he was on the receiving end of a foul from Garner, it should be asked what on earth Midtsjo was doing when he dribbled diagonally into a crowded area 25 yards from his own goal. It was exactly the sort of decision that can turn a difficult moment into a rout.

What's next?

United hosts managerless Everton at Old Trafford on Sunday, with second-placed AZ welcoming champion and leader Ajax in the Eredivisie.

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