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Wednesday, 13 September, 2000, 22:10 GMT 23:10 UK
Cole smashes stunning treble
Man Utd 5-1 Anderlecht
Andy Cole bagged a wonderful hat-trick as Manchester United kicked off their Champions League campaign with a comprehensive victory over Belgian side Anderlecht.
United's European adventure was just fifteen minutes old when Cole steered home Ryan Giggs' wonderfully flighted cross to give the hosts a deserved lead.
Denis Irwin then converted a penalty which was awarded after Giggs was brought down in the area after a trademark run and there were shades of United's spectacular 10-0 thumping of the Belgians in 1956 when Teddy Sheringham crashed home the third four minutes before the break.
United seemed to have plenty left in the tank in the second half as Cole flicked home his second of the game after a defensive mix-up before Anderlecht grabbed a consolation as Fabien Barthez's enthusiasm got the better of him, allowing Jan Koller to score.
And Andy Cole rounded off a five-star display by completing his hat-trick in the 71st minute with a looping header from David Beckham's cross.
The first shock of the night was the curious omission of key centre-half Jaap Stam, leaving Frenchman Mickael Silvestre to partner Ronny Johnsen, with Irwin chosen at left-back.
Once United had readjusted themselves to the European football climate, Cole was already forcing the Old Trafford historian to redraft the history books as he surpassed Dennis Laws' record of fifteen goals in the European Cup by converting Giggs' cross.
Cole's goal got the crowd in the mood and they were soon treated to a vintage United performance which alternated between the breathtaking and the hyperventilating as the host's looked to pounce on every Belgian fraility.
Anderlecht threatened to equalise when Tomasx Radziniski escaped the clutches of Silvestre but the lively striker could only stab the ball wide.
On the half hour mark came one of those magical European moments which every United fan craves. Giggs' picked up the ball in his own half before setting off on one of his spellbinding missions down the left flank.
After leaving four defenders in his wake, the Welsh star raced into the box before being hacked down by Patrick Van Diemen. The ever reliable Irwin squeezed home the penalty.
Giggs next venture into enemy territory gave Beckham the perfect chance to add to his already impressive season's tally but the midfielder's shot bobbled wide of the upright.
But it was Beckham's glorious centre which set-up United's third goal four minutes from half-time.
After a quick exchange of passes outside the area, the England star found Sheringham in acres of space and although he needed two attempts, the veteran striker delicately chipped the ball home to give United a three-goal cushion.
Just minutes after the restart, Cole was celebrating again.
Giggs lofted an innocuous ball forward, de Wilde appeared to come out to claim the ball only for Lorenzo Staelens to tap the ball away from him straight into the path of Cole, who could barely believe his luck as he rolled the ball into an empty net to make it 4-0.
Giggs gave way to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after an hour but there was no let up in the torrent of United attacks.
Anderlecht snatched their consolation goal through Czech striker Koller before Cole's looping header capped off a memorable night of European football for Alex Ferguson.
Man Utd: Barthez, G. Neville, Irwin, Johnsen, Silvestre, Beckham, Keane, Scholes, Giggs, Sheringham, Cole. Subs: Van Der Gouw, Stam, Butt, P. Neville, Yorke, Solskjaer, Wallwork.
Anderlecht: De Wilde, Vanderhaeghe, De Boeck, Staelens, Goor, Koller, Dheedene, W. Baseggio, W. Baseggio, Radzinski, van Dieman, Crasson. Subs: Milojevic, Ilic, Oyen, Stoica, Iachtchouk, Dindane, Youla.
Referee: Serge Hauge (Serge Hauge)
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