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Report: Manchester United beat Benfica 2-0 with a shocking own goal and two penalties awarded

Manchester United looked to be cruising into the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League with two games to spare after defeating Benfica 2-0 at Old Trafford on Tuesday evening. Anthony Martial missed his penalty in the 15th minute of the match but just before half time, Nemanja Matic aimed to score the first goal of the evening, striking the post with Mile Svilar diving to get the ball, the deflection coming ff the post hitting his back and United going 1-0 up.

United sealed the victory from the spot after Marcus Rashford, a later substitute, won a second penalty in the 78th minute, Romelu Lukaku stepping up to take it, Ander Herrera forcing his way to the spot, then Daley Blind taking over, the Dutchman scoring his first goal since Boxing Day, putting United into the driving seat in the victory.

Jose Mourinho made six changes to his side which faced Benfica at Old Trafford in the UEFA Champions League this evening. Matteo Darmian, Daley Blind, Scott McTominay, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial replacing Antonio Valencia, Phil Jones, Ashley Young, Ander Herrera, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Marcus Rashford.

United started the game well, quickly gaining possession and aiming to take the lead. Anthony Martial took a free-kick for United, just outside the Benfica box but his shot was well over the crossbar. United did win a penalty in the 14th minute with Martial taking it, but Mile Svilar thwarting the Frenchman, diving the right was and gaining some confidence from the horror free-kick a fortnight ago.

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In the 18th minute, Benfica had a chance of their own through Goncalves but David De Gea made a superb save to thwart the Portuguese side from taking the lead. United wanted another penalty for a challenge on Juan Mata midway through the first half, nothing was given but Eric Bailly was booked for a challenge on Alex Grimaldo seconds later by the Lithuanian referee.

Jesse Lingard was booked for entering the field of play without permission after needing treatment after a clash with a Benfica player. It seems like Benfica were getting the decisions in their favour. Daley Blind was down in the 28th minute of the match after receiving a knock to the face but he was up and playing again within a minute.

Romelu Lukaku had the chance to put United ahead in the 31st minute of the match, heading his effort narrowly over after Martial made a pin-point cross to him. Anthony Martial had a good first half with some of the runs he made. In the 38th minute, the Frenchman broke forward but was unable to keep the ball in play to cause any damage to the scoreline.

Three minutes before the end of the half Martial again had the chance to gain something for United, his shot firing high and wide from a tight angle. United won a corner in the 43rd minute of the match with Blind taking the kick, coming to nothing other than a free-kick for Benfica.

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United took the lead in the 45th minute of the match after Nemanja Matic thundered his effort towards goal, hitting the post and the ball deflecting into a diving Svilar, hitting his back and crossing the line. Unlucky for the Belgian goalkeeper. A minute or so later, Lukaku was through with the ball, seeking a goal of his own but Svilar regaining his composure and thwarting his compatriot.

United went into the break a goal to the good and in good stead to make the knockout stages of the Champions League with Basel 1-0 to the good at home to CSKA Moscow with both games at the half time stage.

At the start of the second half, Mourinho made his first change with Henrikh Mkhitaryan replacing Lingard, who took a knock in the first half. Six minutes into the second half Juan Mata had a chance to double United’s lead but his effort was over the crossbar. Benfica had an attempt five minutes later, De Gea thwarting the effort with a diving save, not that the shot threatened the Spaniard’s goal.

Goncalves had an effort on the hour, breaking past Smalling and striking towards goal. De Gea, diving to the right stopped the effort from costing him his clean sheet, this far at least. In the 64th minute fo the match, Benfica made their first change with Eliseu replacing Grimaldo.

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United nearly conceded a goal, just as CSKA Moscow scored in Switzerland, levelling the score to 1-1 against Basel, with Bailly making a defensive error but Raul Jimenez’s effort hitting the post and seeing United breathe a sigh of relief. Mourinho made his second change in the 68th minute of the match with Ander Herrera replacing Mata.

In the 74th minute, Benfica made their second change with Haris Seferovic replacing Jimenez with Mourinho making his third and final change moments later with birthday boy Marcus Rashford replacing Martial in the 75th minute. United won their asecond penalty through Rashford almost immediately after he came on. Lukaku seemed to be taking it, Herrera then pulled rank with Blind deciding to take it, scoring United’s second goal of the evening.

Benfica made their third and final change in the 79th minute with Jonas replacing Pizzi as the Portuguese side looked to get something from this game, still without a point in the group. David De Gea made another save of the evening in the 89th minute, showing why he is crucial to United’s season.

CSKA Moscow went 2-1 up in Switzerland with eleven minutes of the match remaining, eventually winning, meaning United will not qualify for the knockout stages this evening, still needing at least a point from their next two matches, next up Basel away on the 22nd November 2017. Chelsea up next for United before heading into the final international break of 2017.

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′

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