Robin van Persie supplied a hat-trick to tear apart Olympiakos of Greece on Wednesday and also to save embattled Manchester United manager, David Moyes, from imminent sack, as the Red Devils are through to the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League.
Van Persie’s penalty put the Old Trafford side right back in the mix just before the half-hour mark.
The Dutchman was fouled after chesting down Wayne Rooney’s delightful ball over the top, and dispatched the spot-kick powerfully to the right of the Olympiakos goal to put the Red Devils 1-0 up on the night and 1-2 on aggregate.
Two goals from Robin van Persie cancelled out Olympiacos’s first-leg lead over Manchester United in the Champions League.
Wayne Rooney came within inches of breaking the deadlock, as the striker tried to head in from close range, but was denied by the post.
David de Gea had to make a double save late on to prevent the Greek champions from adding an away goal, denying a David Fuster header, before Alejandro Dominguez saw the rebound stopped too.
Van Persie and Rooney linked up one last time before the half-time whistle, setting the former up for his second goal of the night, as he calmly slotted in from his teammate’s cross to level the tie on aggregate.
The Dutch man, as the saying goes, scores when he wants … except for the majority of this miserable season for Manchester United.
The Dutch ace picked the right day to snap out of his slump, scoring a hat trick against Olympiacos in the 65th minute that sent Manchester United into the quarterfinals.
Olympiakos threatened throughout to grab the goal that would see the Greek side advance on away goals, but United defended stoically and can now look forward to a tie against one of Europe’s truly elite sides in the next round.