(Reuters) – Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo gave timely reminders of their value with both on target as Manchester United got their Europa League campaign back on track with a 2-0 victory at Moldovan side Sheriff Tiraspol on Thursday.
Dutch club Feyenoord also registered their first points in emphatic fashion, crushing Sturm Graz 6-0 in Group F where Lazio were hammered 5-1 away to Danish side Midtjylland.
Former Champions League regulars Olympiakos’s hopes of progressing from Group G already look slim, however, as they went down 3-0 at Bundesliga side Freiburg for whom Michael Gregoritsch grabbed a brace as they moved top.
United’s Premier League resurgence was interrupted by a lacklustre home defeat against Real Sociedad last week but they responded with a businesslike win in Chisinau where the match was played because of security concerns.
Sancho, surprisingly left out of England’s squad earlier on Thursday, slotted in United’s opener in the 17th minute after a neat turn in the penalty area.
Veteran Ronaldo, given a start by manager Erik ten Hag after being consigned to the bench in the opening weeks of the Premier League season, then tucked away a 39th-minute penalty to claim his 699th club goal.
Sheriff, who downed Real Madrid in the Bernabeu in last season’s Champions League, offered an occasional threat but three-time European champions United were unruffled.
They joined Sheriff on three points in Group E with Real Sociedad, who beat United last week, topping the standings on six points after beating Omonia Nicosia 2-1.
Ander Guevara gave the Spaniards the lead but substitute Bruno levelled before Norwegian striker Alexander Sorloth struck the winner in the 80th minute.
Iranian forward Alireza Jahanbakhsh scored twice in Feyenoord’s romp against Sturm Graz to move top of their group on goal difference with each club having three points.
Lazio suffered a humiliating evening at Midtjylland for whom Paulinho opened the scoring and Sory Kaba, Evander, Gustav Isaksen and Erik Sviatchenko were all on target.
It could have been even worse for the Italians with Midtjylland also missing a penalty.
In Group H, Ferencvaros moved top on with six points thanks to a 1-0 home win over Monaco while former European champions Red Star Belgrade went down 2-1 at Trabzonspor and remain without a point after two games.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Christian Radnedge)