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Manchester United vs Benfica. UEFA Champions League Group A.

Old TraffordAttendance74,437.

Manchester United 2

  • M Svilar (45th minute own goal)
  • D Blind (78th minute pen)

Benfica 0

    Man Utd 2-0 Benfica: Jose Mourinho's side edge closer to Champions League last 16

    Gerard Brand

    Wednesday 1 November 2017 08:16, UK

    during the UEFA Ch
    Image: Daley Blind scored from the penalty spot to make it 2-0

    Manchester United edged closer to the Champions League last 16 with a 2-0 win over Benfica at Old Trafford on Tuesday night.

    United needed to better CSKA Moscow's result to qualify, but the Russian side's 2-1 win in Basel means Jose Mourinho's side still need a point in their last two Group A games to make the last 16.

    Mile Svilar, the 18-year-old goalkeeper criticised in the first game a fortnight ago for a mistake in United's 1-0 win, saved an Anthony Martial penalty (15) and then scored an unfortunate own goal as Nemanja Matic's effort ricocheted off the post and then off his back before crossing the line (45).

    Manchester United players celebrate after taking the lead against Benfica
    Image: Manchester United players celebrate after taking the lead against Benfica through Mile Svilar's own goal

    Player ratings

    Man Utd: De Gea (7), Darmian (6), Bailly (5), Smalling (6), Blind (6), Matic (6), McTominay (7), Mata (6), Lingard (6), Martial (8), Lukaku (6)

    Subs: Herrera (6), Mkhitaryan (6), Rashford (7)

    Benfica: Svilar (6), Douglas (5), Ruben Dias (6), Jardel (6), Grimaldo (6), Fejsa (6), Filipe Augusto (5), Pizzi (5), Salvio (6), Diogo Goncalves (6), Jimenez (6)

    Subs: Jonas (5), Seferovic (5), Eliseu (5)

    Man of the match: Antony Martial

    Benfica pushed for an equaliser in the second half, hitting the post through Raul Jimenez, but United wrapped up the win through Daley Blind's penalty (78) after Marcus Rashford had been brought down.

    United were awarded a penalty after 14 minutes as Douglas handled following a challenge with Martial, but the Frenchman's spot-kick was saved superbly by Svilar down to his right.

    At the other end, David de Gea made a fingertip save from Ruben Dias' 25-yard piledriver, before United took the lead in bizarre circumstances.

    Team news

    Jose Mourinho made six changes from the side that beat Tottenham; Darmian for Valencia, Blind for Jones, McTominay for Herrera, Mata for Young, Lingard for Mkhitaryan, Martial for Rashford. McTominay made only his second Man Utd start, and his first in the Champions League, while Luke Shaw was on the bench.

    Manchester United's English midfielder Jesse Lingard controls the ball during the UEFA Champions League Group A football match between Manchester United an
    Image: Jesse Lingard moves forward with the ball in the first half

    Matic drove forward with the ball, before seeing his low, 25-yard effort come off the post, hit young Svilar unknowingly, and then drop over the line.

    More on this story

    He then kept out Romelu Lukaku after the Belgian had raced through one-on-one, but Benfica had the better of the initial stages in the second half, hitting the post through Jimenez's poked effort after Eric Bailly's loose pass to Chris Smalling allowed him through on goal.

    Rashford's first contribution as a sub was to win a penalty from Samaris after a positive run into the Benfica area. Blind drilled the ball down the middle, but only after both Romelu Lukaku and then Ander Herrera had initially took over the ball to take the spot-kick. Lukaku has now gone six games without a United goal.

    MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 31:  Mile Svilar of Benfica looks dejected following his own goal during the UEFA Champions League group A match between Manc
    Image: Mile Svilar had another eventful night in goal for Benfica on Tuesday

    It ended 2-0, meaning United have won all eight games at home in all competitions this season, conceding just one goal, and haven't lost at Old Trafford since last September.

    Opta stats

    • Mourinho has never lost in his 12 home games against sides he's previously managed, winning the last 11 in a row.
    • United are now unbeaten in 37 home games in all competitions (W26 D11) - only once in the Premier League era have they had a longer such run (38 between December 1998 and April 2000).
    • After becoming the youngest ever keeper to save a Champions League penalty (18y 65d), Mile Svilar then became the youngest ever player to score an own goal in the competition.

    Man of the match - Anthony Martial

    The Frenchman's direct approach can go one of two ways. On Tuesday night, particularly in the first half, the 21-year-old's bursting runs at the heart of Benfica's backline were almost impossible to deal with, resulting in the penalty from which he failed to open the scoring.

    He did lose the ball several times in the second half in good positions, but if it works one time and not the other, his contribution is more than worth it for Mourinho.

    Manchester United players celebrate their second goal against Benfica
    Image: Manchester United players celebrate their second goal against Benfica

    The manager

    Jose Mourinho: "I'm paid to take decisions, good or bad. In the first half the decision was bad, because the player that I chose to take the penalty missed. In the second half I made another decision, and I don't see the drama, because there is no drama. The penalty taker for this match was Martial. He took in the first half and missed, he was not even on the pitch for the second penalty, and then I have to make a decision.

    "Romelu wants to take, has the personality to take the responsibility, Herrera the same, but my decision, based on what we did in training in the past couple of days, was Blind. The players respected my decision, and that's it, end of story."

    What's next

    United go to Chelsea on Super Sunday, live on Sky Sports Premier League at 4.30pm, and need just a point against either Basel away (November 22) or CSKA at home (December 5) to reach the last 16.

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