Talking Points from Manchester United 1-0 SL Benfica

Talking Points

Manchester United made it three out of three as they defeated SL Benfica in their Champions League group stage game in Lisbon. Marcus Rashford scored his side’s only goal as Rui Vitoria’s men were condemned to yet another defeat in Europe this season.

The home side began the game in stunning fashion and were too dominant for Mourinho’s men. However, the visitors took a little time before dominating both possession and chances created. But in a dour first half, neither side managed a breakthrough goal as the visitors came closest through Nemanja Matic’s strike which was well saved by Mile Svilar.

Marcus Rashford forced a save from a volley just after the break as the visitors started the second half full of energy. And it didn’t take long for Mourinho’s men to score the opener, as Svilar’s error gave away three points to the visitors. Mile Svilar, at 18 years old, became the youngest ever goalkeeper to play in the Champions League, but his inexperience was evident as he caught Rashford’s free-kick but took it beyond the goal line by mistake. Both sides had many chances but none of them led to anything. Martial forced a late save out of Svilar in the final minutes and ridiculed defenders with skilled dribbling but failed to score another for his side.

Here are the Major Talking Points from this match-

One more win needed
This was United’s third straight win in the UCL, and they are now top of their Group with a maximum of 9 points after 3 games. They lead Basel and Moscow by six and three points, respectively, and another victory in two weeks’ time over Benfica would most probably be enough for Mourinho’s men to book their place in the knockout stages. That’ll enable him to play the youngsters and focus on the league for the time being.

Benfica’s disastrous European Season
Benfica’s season has gone from bad to worse with this loss, and they now have absolutely ZERO points from their three group games. While they’ve been decent in the league, where they’re third currently, their back-to-back losses in Europe has put their chances of moving to the next round in jeopardy. And even winning all three remaining games might just not be enough for them. However, such an upturn in form looks unlikely and the best they can practically do now is to challenge CSKA Moscow to a Europa League place.

However, such an upturn in form looks unlikely and the best they can practically do now is to challenge CSKA Moscow to a Europa League place.

Svilar’s Error
Mile Svilar, who became the youngest keeper ever to play in the UCL, showed his inexperience as he took the ball past the goal line from Rashford’s free kick. But he need not worry too much. After all, it wasn’t a bad performance overall as he did manage some crucial saves from Matic, Rashford and Martial. He has a lot of

After all, it wasn’t a bad performance overall as he did manage some crucial saves from Matic, Rashford and Martial. He has a lot of potential but just needs to buckle up and get his confidence back for the remainder of the season.

Lindelof Shows his Credentials, But Mkhitaryan needs a break
Victor Lindelof has had a good couple of games in the UCL, and he was flawless tonight as well. Not only was he solid in defence, he was assured in possession and made a couple of clever through passes to the attack as well. He’s getting the groove and will hopefully be ready for the league soon enough.

However, this was yet another dismal performance from Mkhitaryan who has faded after a splendid start to the season, when he managed five assists in the first three games. He’s only managed two goals after that and that too in routs. Maybe getting dropped could rejuvenate him and motivate him to work even harder.