Robin van Persie scored a rousing hat-trick as Manchester United booked their place in the Champions League last eight with a breathless 3-0 win over Olympiacos at Old Trafford.
David Moyes’ side had trailed 2-0 from the first leg in Athens three weeks ago, but produced a stirring comeback with Van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs and goalkeeper David de Gea returning to the levels of form that led United to the Premier League crown last season.
Van Persie slammed a penalty into the net for the opening goal on 25 minutes before he tucked a Rooney pass beyond visiting goalkeeper Roberto for the second goal a minute into added time in the first period after a lovely ball over the top by Giggs to find Rooney.
The Dutch forward added number three and the winning goal six minutes into the second half when he lifted a free-kick over the Greek side’s wall and into the net with Roberto left dismally out of position.
Olympiacos had chances to find the away goal that would have carried them through, but United clung on grimly to secure their place in Friday’s draw for the last eight. After suffering a 3-0 drubbing to bitter foes Liverpool on Sunday, this was an outstanding performance of some character by United that will relieve the pressure on Giggs.