Ratings: Nemanja Matic the player with the plaudits against Benfica

Manchester United beat Benfica 2-0 at Old Trafford in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday evening. It could have been a night which saw United enter the knockout stages of the tournament, but CSKA Moscow defeated Basel 2-1 in Switzerland, which means United need at least a point from their next two matches to earn a place in the last 16.

United won a penalty in the 14th minute of the match, Anthony Martial stepped up to take it with Mile Svilar saving it, giving himself a confidence boost after the calamitous free-kick he carried into his own net a fortnight ago. United had a few chances to find a goal after the penalty, not able to do so.

In the last minute of the first half, Nemanja Matic sent a thundering strike towards goal, hitting the post and the deflection coming off Svilar’s back and putting United 1-0 up. It would be safe to say Svilar does not like playing against United.

In the second half, United had many chances. Henrikh Mkhitaryan replaced Jesse Lingard after he received a knock in the first half, Ander Herrera then replaced Juan Mata with Marcus Rashford being the final substitution, Martial coming off.

Minutes after Rashford came on, he won a second penalty of the evening for United. Romelu Lukaku stepped up to take it, then Herrera took the lead with Daley Blind eventually pulling rank and slotting his attempt home to put United 2-0 with twelve minutes remaining.

David De Gea made a few saves against Benfica, proving just how crucial he is to United, keeping them in the game in the early stages of the match. United have now played four Champions League matches, winning all four also setting a new home record, willing the last 38 home matches in all competitions, winning 27 and drawing eleven.

United will face Chelsea, who lost 3-0 to Roma on Tuesday evening, in the Premier League at Stamford Bridge on Sunday before the final international break of 2017. United will travel to Basel in the Champions League on the 22nd November seeking to confirm their place in the Round of 16 in the competition.

Goals: Mile Svilar 45′ own goal, Daley Blind 78′

Manchester United: De Gea; Darmian, Bailly, Smalling, Blind; Matic, McTominay; Mata (Herrera 68′), Lingard (Mkhitaryan 46′), Martial (Rashford 75′); Lukaku

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Lindelof, Shaw; Young

Bookings: Eric Bailly 24′, Jesse Lingard 27′

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

The Spanish goalkeeper had a good game. Made some crucial saves, some not so crucial. Showed how good he is and how crucial he is to the Manchester United cause.


Matteo Darmian

Lacked attacking threat, as would have been provided by Valencia. Made some good interventions, but that was it from the Italian.


3 Eric Bailly

Booked early in the first half. Seemed off he pace of the game defensively. Could have conceded a debatable penalty before United won theirs. With Chelsea coming up and his lack of form, could be a problem scenario.


Chris Smalling

Had some good movement in defence but on the left he was pretty much exposed at times. Did what he needed to do to ensure the clean sheet though.


17 Daley Blind

Not sure the left-back role is one for Blind. Seems much better in midfield or central defence, maybe in a back three also. Scored the penalty to put United 2-0 and cruising into the knockout stages.


31 Nemanja Matic

Man of the Match for me. Dictated play, upped the tempo of the match when it needed to be done. Led from his midfield position. Forced Svilar to score an own gtom from his thunderous strike, which hit the post, then deflected in off the back of the keeper.


39 Scott McTominay

McTominay really did not get involved in the match, but for a plauer of his stature and the fact he has not really played many matches for his club because of injury and growth issues, he has come a long way and seems to be a player earning the trust of the manager.


8 Juan Mata

Not sure he really got a grasp on the game but seemed to have the ideas. Could be becmong surplus to requirements at this stage of his career - unless he finds some match winning form we know he is capable of.


14 Jesse Lingard

Received a knock in the first half and was booked for entering the pitch without permission, but played until the break. Did not have the best of performances, but helped United take control, despite seeking a goal for the entire first half, getting luck with Svilar's own goal.


9 Anthony Martial

Had the run of Benfica and got plenty of chances to put United ahead. Missed from the spot in the 15th minute of the match but had a good performance other than that. Was replaced by Rashford.


Romelu Lukaku

Played an unselfish game against Benfica. Had the chance to score but failed to do so. Had not scored for United in their last six mates, last scoring for Belgium during the last international break.



22 Henrikh Mkhitaryan

Replaced Lingard. Played well but did not really get himself into the game much. Lingard received a knock in the first half and the Armenian had to be called upon.


21 Ander Herrera

Replaced Mata. Did what he needed to do. Tried to take the penalty from Lukaku, but saw it go to Blind.


10 Marcus Rashford

Replaced Martial. Won a penalty for United almost as soon as he came on. Pressured Benfica's defence.


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