Manchester United beat SL Benfica 2-0 in the Champions League courtesy of an own goal from Mile Svilar and a second half Daley Blind penalty. This win means that United are now within touching distance of going through to the knockout round, and only require a single point from their two remaining matches.
Here are the major Talking Points from the match:
Lukaku’s Goal Drought
Having scored 11 goals in his first 10 games, Lukaku was on a roll. However, he’s now failed to score in the last six games in a row, and this is his first official goal drought for his new club. He had two good chances to score today, his first shot being saved at the near post while his one-on-one also parried away by Svilar. He could’ve got a confidence booster with the second penalty but Mourinho decided otherwise. It’s not totally the big Belgian’s fault and he’s been poor due to a lack of consistent service. Still, he has a great opportunity to get back to scoring ways in the weekend’s game against Chelsea. Is there a better way to break your duck than to score against your former club? Probably not.
Job Done for United?
With this win, United are now within touching distance of qualifying for the next round. Had CSKA Moscow not won at Basel, United would already have gone through. However, they still need a point now from their two remaining matches. Its obvious that United are bound to progress to the knockout stages, even if not just mathematically yet, and Mourinho can already start preparing for bridging the gap to City in the league.
Mixed night for Martial
Anthony Martial had a mixed game here. He was on fire at times, skilfully beating defenders at will and ghosting past opposition players. However, he had a great chance to cap off a brilliant game with a goal, but he saw his penalty saved by Svilar. With the form and confidence that he’s in, he should be starting week in, week out and should definitely be on the team sheet at Stamford Bridge this Sunday.
Svilar’s Bad Luck Continues
Mile Svilar had a game to forget as he gifted United with a goal last time out. However, he was out for redemption tonight and was looking unbeatable as he made superb saves from Lukaku and even made a fantastic save to deny Martial from the spot. However, all his hard work was undone by United’s first goal, as Matic’s shot ricocheted off the post and went into the net off the outstretched keeper’s back. It wasn’t really his fault, but it looked like a half-hearted and extremely slow attempt. He somehow got over the previous mistake but it’ll be interesting to see how he copes up with this howler.
Chelsea Up Next
United have a huge game up next as they travel to Stamford Bridge to take on champions Chelsea on Sunday. Antonio Conte’s men lost 3-0 to Roma in the UCL but they’ve been in brilliant form in the league. It’s always a daunting atmosphere but Mourinho will be out to hurt his former employers with a statement win. With United’s long injury list, it looks unlikely now but Mourinho will want to come back with at least a point this weekend.