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Man United in group stage as Rooney scores hat-trick

Wayne Rooney ended a 10-game scoring drought by grabbing a hat trick in Manchester United’s 4-0 win at Bruges that eased the English team into the Champions League group stage on Wednesday.

United won 7-1 on aggregate and returned to Europe’s premier competition after a one-year absence.

Rooney’s confidence grew after putting United ahead in Belgium in the 20th with a lobbed finish over the diving goalkeeper, his first club goal since April 4. The England captain added more goals in the 49th and 57th minutes as Bruges’ defence repeatedly was opened up.

Rooney wasted a great chance for his fourth goal before Ander Herrera wrapped up the win in the 63rd. Javier Hernandez missed a penalty in the 81st.

England will have four teams in Thursday’s group-stage draw.

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