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Report: Manchester United take three points in Lisbon with spectacular Marcus Rashford goal

Manchester United beat Benfica 1-0 in the UEFA Champions League in Lisbon on Wednesday evening with a spectacular goal scored by Marcus Rashford from a free-kick, the ball crossing the line and seemingly carried by Mile Svilar, the Benfica goalkeeper. Rashford was injured minutes after the goal, which could be a big blow for Jose Mourinho’s United as the likes of Paul Pogba, Marouane Fellaini, Eric Bailly and Zlatan Ibrahimovic all sit on the sidelines.

Jose Mourinho fielded a strong side against Benfica after the 0-0 draw with Liverpool at the weekend. Victor Lindelof, Daley Blind, and Juan Mata all returned to the starting XI in Lisbon. United did not start all that well with Benfica controlling the game and getting their plan into place, winless in two Champions League matches so far this season. In the 15th minute, Salvio had the first credible chance of the match with Grimaldo setting him up, the shot wide of the target. Romelu Lukaku had a chance, heading the ball against the crossbar, but a foul on Svilar was awarded to the hosts.

In the 28th minute of the match, with Benfica still aiming to dominate, just as Liverpool did at the weekend, Diogo Goncalves hit his effort, which was deflected and comfortably gathered by David De Gea, the guy who could be the difference between a point and a victory for United in any match. In the 32nd minute, Blind put in a cross from the left, into the box to Rashford, whose effort looped over the crossbar. Thirty-six minutes into the match and Matic had an effort after a surging run which was kept out by Svilar. United seem to have lost their momentum after the international break with injuries taking their toll on the team.

In the 41st minute, United saw their first booking with Antonio Valencia shown the yellow card for a foul on Jimenez, who made a meal of the challenge. After the free-kick, United broke forward with Henrikh Mkhitaryan on the ball but his effort was poor and United were still chasing the game. A minute was added at the end of the first half, with the gale still level at 0-0. The next 45 minutes would separate the men from the boys, but both sides will have to put a lot of effort in for either to change the game. Fatigue could be setting in for United at this early stage of the season.

At the start of the second half, neither side made a change with both seeking three points in the third group stage match in the competition this season. United made the break to find a goal to separate the two sides with Rashford putting in some work and Ander Herrera having the shot from outside of the box, which did not threaten the Benfica goalkeeper. In the fiftieth minute of the match, Rashford stung the palms of Svilar with a powerful effort, breaking forward minutes later too, unable to find a teammate in the box to threaten on goal again.

Just before the hour mark, United had been building something, gaining ground and breaking forward into Benfica’s area. Nemanja Matic had a shot from outside of the box, which was off target but something United needed to do to try and break the deadlock. Benfica made a substitution after Matic’s ambitious effort with  Zivkovic replacing Pizzi. United found the back of the net in the 65th minute in spectacular circumstances. Marcus Rashford took a free-kick from the left flank, straight towards Svilar, who caught the effort but the ball had crossed the line with the referee awarding United the goal.

Benfica made a second change in the 69th minute with Jonas replacing Goncalves, the Portuguese side seemingly seeking an equaliser after going behind and now facing the prospect of losing their first three matches in the Champions League this season. Rashford looked as if he could not continue in the 74th minute of the match, sitting on the pitch and taking his shin pads off before shaking his head. United’s injury list was about to get longer. Anthony Martial replaced the teenager in the 76th minute of the match. United seemed firmly in the driving seat after the change, Rashford’s spectacular goal seemingly winning the match for the Red Devils.

Mourinho made his second change of the evening with Jesse Lingard replacing Juan Mata in the 83rd minute of the match. United did what they needed to do in Lisbon, earning three points, seeing the Red Devils top the group after three matches. Four minutes of added time was to be played at the end of the match. Scott McTominay, making his Champions League debut, replaced Mkhitaryan in the first minute of added time. United saw out the game, which will show the job was done in Portugal. Luisao was sent off for a challenge on McTominay in the third minute of added time.

Lukaku took the free-kick, hitting the Benfica wall and not getting anything for his side, other than a throw in. It was job done for United in Lisbon, nine points out of nine with the thoughts on the trip to Huddersfield Town on Saturday in the Premier League, before heading to Swansea City next Tuesday in the Carabao Cup. Lingard was booked in the final minute of the match for a challenge. United will be seeking a place in the knockout stages in a fortnight’s time with Benfica heading to Old Trafford.

Goals: Marcus Rashford 65′

Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Lindelof, Smalling, Blind; Matic, Herrera; Mata (Lingard 83′), Mkhitaryan (McTominay 90+1′), Rashford (Martial 76′); Lukaku

Substitutes: Romero; Jones, Darmian; Young

Bookings: Antonio Valencia 41′, Jesse Lingard 90+5′

Starting XI: Lukaku leads the line against Benfica

Manchester United have travelled to Lisbon, Portugal for their third UEFA Champions League group stage match this season. Jose Mourinho’s team have beaten both FC Basel and CSKA Moscow so far this season, earning six points out of six in the elite European competition. United will face the Portuguese side twice before the end of the month, taking on Huddersfield Town, Swansea City, and Tottenham Hotspur between the two matches. Mourinho’s side are fresh from their 0-0 draw in the Premier League against Liverpool on Saturday, which saw a frustrating United side take on their bitter rivals – Liverpool being the better side from that match, despite doing nothing to really pressure United into submission with David De Gea doing what he needed to do to ensure United kept a clean sheet.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Valencia, Lindelof, Smalling, Blind;

Matic, Herrera;

Mata, Mkhitaryan, Rashford;

Lukaku

Substitutes:

Romero; Jones, Darmian; Lingard, Young, McTominay; Martial

Manchester United and Benfica have faced each other nine times since the first encounter between the two sides on the 2nd February 1966, the year England won the World Cup. United have won six times, lost just once and drawn twice – the most recent matches between the two sides. It was six years ago when United last played Benfica, in the group stages of the Champions League, drawing 1-1 in Lisbon and also drawing 2-2 at Old Trafford. The only defeat came in 2005, United losing 2-1 in the final group stage match in the Champions League that season, Paul Scholes scoring in the sixth minute and both Geovanni and Gilberto Beto scoring the goals for the Portuguese side. United will be seeking a win in Lisbon again on Wednesday evening, taking their points tally to nine from three matches, seemingly aiming to do the business in the group by the end of the month, aiming to defeat Benfica at Old Trafford.

Preview: Injuries mount ahead of Benfica visit but Mourinho is confident of progressing from the group

SL Benfica -v- Manchester United

UEFA Champions League 2017/18

Estádio da Luz, Lisbon, Portugal

Wednesday 18th October 2017; KO 19:45 BST

Live on BT Sport in the United Kingdom

Manchester United have travelled to Lisbon, Portugal for their third UEFA Champions League group stage match this season. Jose Mourinho’s team have beaten both FC Basel and CSKA Moscow so far this season, earning six points out of six in the elite European competition. United will face the Portuguese side twice before the end of the month, taking on Huddersfield Town, Swansea City, and Tottenham Hotspur between the two matches. Mourinho’s side are fresh from their 0-0 draw in the Premier League against Liverpool on Saturday, which saw a frustrating United side take on their bitter rivals – Liverpool being the better side from that match, despite doing nothing to really pressure United into submission with David De Gea doing what he needed to do to ensure United kept a clean sheet.

This is an important match for United, despite the fact the Portuguese side have not won a match in the Champions League this season, their form does not matter, which is something Mourinho stated during his press conference on Tuesday afternoon. Since the 0-0 draw with Liverpool on Saturday, United have dominated in the media and social media – what a surprise! Chelsea were beaten by the worst team in the Premier League at the weekend and United are the team to talk about. This tells me that United sell newspapers and attract readers to a website. Hated, adored, never ignored. Then came the reports Mourinho was going to leave the club because he spoke about Paris Saint-Germain – the manager clarifying that he is not (yet) signing a new contract at United and is also not leaving for PSG. Mourinho, speaking in his press conference and reported by the official Manchester United website, said:

“I think you English media have the answer for that because, in one day, it says that I am going to sign a five-year contract, for £1billion per season and then, the next day, you say that I am leaving and going to Paris Saint-Germain. I think that is the answer.

“The answer is that nothing is happening. I am not signing a new five-year contract and I am not leaving for PSG. I am at Manchester United and I have a contract. And that is it.

“The only thing that I told is true and there was not a misinterpretation of my words was I am not going to end my career at Manchester United.

“I was asked how is it possible in modern football that any manager is going to last 15 to 20 years in the same club. I think Arsene Wenger is the last one at Arsenal. I think it is impossible for us with everything that surrounds the job, all of the pressures that surround the job.

“I think it is impossible to last for so long. If, in this moment, I wanted to finish my career in two, three, four or five years then I would say yes, I want to finish my career with Manchester United.

“But I think I am going to be a manager for 15 more years, minimum, in the job, and I think it is impossible to stay for 17 years in the same club. I think it is the impossible mission. Even if you want to, you can try, but I think it is impossible. Wenger is the last one. That was my answer. I don’t think I am going to end my career at Manchester United. That was my answer.

“After that, some people tried to be clever, some people tried to be malicious and they said many different things. But the reality is simple. I did not sign a new contract but I am not thinking about leaving.”

Previous Matches: Manchester United have been beaten just once by Benfica in more than 51 years since the first encounter

Manchester United and Benfica have faced each other nine times since the first encounter between the two sides on the 2nd February 1966, the year England won the World Cup. United have won six times, lost just once and drawn twice – the most recent matches between the two sides. It was six years ago when United last played Benfica, in the group stages of the Champions League, drawing 1-1 in Lisbon and also drawing 2-2 at Old Trafford. The only defeat came in 2005, United losing 2-1 in the final group stage match in the Champions League that season, Paul Scholes scoring in the sixth minute and both Geovanni and Gilberto Beto scoring the goals for the Portuguese side. United will be seeking a win in Lisbon again on Wednesday evening, taking their points tally to nine from three matches, seemingly aiming to do the business in the group by the end of the month, aiming to defeat Benfica at Old Trafford.

Form: United and Benfica share similar starts in the league this season but in Europa, Benfica are winless in two matches

Manchester United have started the season in fine fettle, taking on Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table, just two points behind the league leaders and noisy neighbours. United sit three points ahead of Tottenham Hotspur, their opposition in a week and a half at Old Trafford. United are unbeaten in the three competitions they have played in this season, winning all but two matches, both draws, dropping four points in the league this season, conceding only two goals in eight matches, both at Stoke City. Jose Mourinho will be confident of his sides displays in the Champions League this season, especially with Benfica losing both group stage matches this season. Benfica has started similar to United this season, playing eight matches in the Portuguese league, winning all but three, two draws and a defeat. The Portuguese giants sit in third place, five points behind Mourinho’s former side, FC Porto. In the Champions League, Benfica are yet to earn a single point, losing 201 to CSKA Moscow in the opening match, then devastated in a 5-0 defeat to Basel – United have beaten both teams to have beaten the Portuguese side.

Team News: Injuries restricting Jose Mourinho’s side currently, but the future is bright with long-term injuries coming to an end

Jose Mourinho has a few problems with injury to deal with ahead of the match against Benfica with Eric Bailly returning from international duty with the Ivory Coast with an injury, missing the 0-0 draw with Liverpool at the weekend, something which could keep him out of action for the foreseeable future. Marcos Rojo travelled to Lisbon with United, which is a boost to the squad by the manager confirmed that the Argentinian who suffered a knee injury in the Europa League back in April was just training with his teammates ahead of his return, which could be within the next two weeks. Mourinho, speaking to the official Manchester United website during his pre-match press conference, said:

“Rojo is not coming to play but he is coming with the team to train today with the group. Tomorrow, individually, but he’s coming [back].

“I would say, probably in two weeks, Marcos is ready to play. There is no Bailly – he was injured in the national team.”

Predicted Starting XI: Mourinho to field a strong side to earn the points in the Champions League ahead of Huddersfield Town encounter at the weekend

Match Prediction: Manchester United to romp to victory in Lisbon!

Benfica 1-2 Manchester United

copyright: JW