Sports / Soccer

Rooney hat trick, Man United back in Champions League

(Agencies) Updated: 2015-08-27 09:59

Rooney hat trick, Man United back in Champions League

Wayne Rooney of Manchester United celebrates scoring his goal to make the score 1-0 during the UEFA Champions League playoff second leg match between Club Brugge and Manchester United at the Jan Breydel Stadium, Bruges, Belgium, Aug 26, 2015. [Photo/IC]

BRUGES, Belgium - 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' defense was repeatedly 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 to make it 5-0 after being handed the chance by Rooney, United's usual penalty taker.

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

"It was a big disappointment last year not to challenge in (the Champions League)," Rooney said. "It was vital we went through any way we could."

Rooney's scoring form has been the biggest concern for United at the start of this season, although he insisted it was only a matter of time before he got back among the goals.

"If I didn't have a strong character, maybe it would have affected me," Rooney said.

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