Champions League - Group A
Man Utd2Benfica0

Manchester United 2-0 Benfica

Daley Blind
Daley Blind scored his first Manchester United goal since Boxing Day 2016

Manchester United are on the verge of reaching the Champions League knockout stage for the first time in four years after beating Benfica.

The Red Devils, who qualified by winning last season's Europa League, have won all four of their Group A matches and need just a point from their remaining two games to progress.

"We have not qualified yet? Four victories and it is still not enough? We must get that point from the two remaining matches," said manager Jose Mourinho.

"I am more than happy. We changed a lot of players, we broke the natural dynamic and routines of the team and we played a kid [Scott McTominay] from the academy.

"We scored two goals, did not concede, gained three more points, more money for the club - because every victory means money - and did not have any significant injuries."

Anthony Martial, who provided a threat from the left with his trickery and pace, earned a penalty for United when he was tripped by Douglas, but the Frenchman's spot-kick was kept out by Mile Svilar.

Svilar also twice saved well from fellow Belgian Romelu Lukaku, but after a mistake on his debut in the competition had contributed to United's narrow victory in the reverse fixture, he gave them a helping hand again here.

Former Benfica midfielder Nemanja Matic's powerful effort struck the foot of the post, but ricocheted into the net off the unfortunate Svilar, who had dived to save the shot. Full-back Daley Blind added a second from the penalty spot.

The Portuguese champions were much improved from the game in Lisbon and offered more of an attacking threat, forcing United goalkeeper David de Gea into two excellent saves in each half.

The Spaniard saved forward Diogo Goncalves' curling effort towards the top corner and low shot across goal, while he also gathered Raul Jimenez's long-range drive.

Jimenez then intercepted Eric Bailly's lazy cross-field pass, but his subsequent shot cannoned off the post.

In the group's other game, CSKA Moscow came from behind to beat Basel, leaving United six points clear but waiting to go through.

The Premier League side visit Basel next month before ending the group with a home match against CSKA in December.

They have not played in the last 16 since 2014, when David Moyes was manager.

A tale of two keepers

Mile Svilar
Svilar is the youngest goalkeeper to save a penalty in the Champions League, but also the youngest player to score an own goal

The night was going well for Svilar when he dived low to his right to palm away Martial's penalty after 15 minutes, becoming the youngest goalkeeper to save a spot-kick in a Champions League match.

But his unlucky moment on the stroke of half-time meant he became the youngest player to score an own goal in the competition.

He thwarted Lukaku by stretching to his near post and standing tall when the striker closed in one-on-one, leaving the former Everton striker on a run of six games without a goal after netting 11 in his first 10 for the club.

Lukaku could have broken his barren run when he placed the ball on the spot for the second penalty, but was overruled by Ander Herrera, only for Mourinho to instruct Blind to take the kick.

Mourinho said: "Anthony Martial was the player to take penalties. He took it and missed, he was not on the pitch for the second one.

"The players were happy to take the responsibility, Romelu Lukaku and Ander Herrera, but my choice was Daley Blind. That is my decision."

At the other end, Benfica could not find a way past De Gea, who has kept 11 clean sheets in 15 games this season.

United's number one made a total of five saves in the match, the best of which came from Goncalves' rising strike in the first half, springing high to his left to tip the ball to safety.

Old Trafford
An eerie mist descended on Old Trafford midway through the first half on Halloween night. It came courtesy of a flare lit by the travelling Benfica supporters

3,883 games and counting

United have now named an academy product in the first-team squad for 3,883 consecutive games - a run that stretches back to October 1937.

Mourinho gave a first start in the competition to midfielder Scott McTominay, while Jesse Lingard also started. Marcus Rashford, on his 20th birthday, came off the bench to earn the second penalty.

McTominay, handed his opportunity following injuries to Paul Pogba, Marouane Fellaini and Michael Carrick, impressed in the middle of the park alongside Matic.

The 20-year-old made three tackles, three interceptions and won the ball back nine times - more than any other player.

He said afterwards: "As a young boy growing up, you dream of playing in the Champions League for Manchester United.

"All those years growing up in the academy, watching the first-team players... I am made up."

Man of the match - Nemanja Matic (Manchester United)

Nemanja Matic
Cost £40m from Chelsea in the summer, but looks a steal, especially with the absence of Pogba. The Serbian patrolled the centre of the park once again and attempted more passes (84) than any other player.

Matic said: "It was good to keep winning and a very important three points for us. Benfica played well tonight but we showed character. I hope the supporters enjoyed it.

"Benfica did not surprise me, they are a talented team and I knew they would come here to play good football. I was there two-and-a-half years and they do not deserve not to have any points."

What next?

A big one. United travel to Mourinho's former club Chelsea in the Premier League on Sunday (kick-off 16:30 GMT).

Fortress Old Trafford - the stats

  • Jose Mourinho has not lost in his 12 home games against sides he has previously managed, winning the last 11 in a row.
  • The Red Devils are now unbeaten in 37 home games in all competitions (won 26, drawn 11) - only once in the Premier League era have they had a longer such run (38 between December 1998 and April 2000).
  • The Red Devils have now kept 87 clean sheets in the Champions League - one more than Real Madrid and second only to Barcelona (91).
  • This is the ninth time an English club has won their opening four Champions League group stage games (including second group stages), with Manchester United responsible for six of those.
  • Daley Blind scored his first Champions League goal in his 24th appearance in the competition (14 with Ajax, 10 with Manchester United).


Man Utd

  • 1de Gea
  • 36Darmian
  • 3BaillyBooked at 24mins
  • 12Smalling
  • 17Blind
  • 39McTominay
  • 31Matic
  • 8MataSubstituted forHerreraat 68'minutes
  • 14LingardBooked at 24minsSubstituted forMkhitaryanat 45'minutes
  • 11MartialSubstituted forRashfordat 75'minutes
  • 9Lukaku


  • 2Lindelöf
  • 18Young
  • 19Rashford
  • 20Romero
  • 21Herrera
  • 22Mkhitaryan
  • 23Shaw


  • 1Svilar
  • 8Pereira dos Santos
  • 66Rúben DiasBooked at 6mins
  • 33Nivaldo Vieira
  • 3GrimaldoSubstituted forEliseuat 64'minutes
  • 7SamarisBooked at 77mins
  • 5Fejsa
  • 21Afonso FernandesSubstituted forGonçalves Oliveiraat 79'minutes
  • 18SalvioBooked at 69mins
  • 9JiménezSubstituted forSeferovicat 74'minutes
  • 84Cupido Goncalves


  • 2López
  • 10Gonçalves Oliveira
  • 12Soares De Espindola
  • 14Seferovic
  • 17Zivkovic
  • 19Eliseu
  • 22Cervi
Gediminas Mazeika

Match Stats

Home TeamMan UtdAway TeamBenfica
Shots on Target

Live Text

Match ends, Manchester United 2, Benfica 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Manchester United 2, Benfica 0.

Foul by Daley Blind (Manchester United).

Eduardo Salvio (Benfica) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Daley Blind (Manchester United) because of an injury.

Delay in match Douglas (Benfica) because of an injury.

Attempt saved. Eduardo Salvio (Benfica) header from the right side of the six yard box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Jonas.

Douglas (Benfica) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Marcus Rashford (Manchester United).

Corner, Benfica. Conceded by Matteo Darmian.

Attempt saved. Scott McTominay (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Attempt blocked. Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Marcus Rashford.

Offside, Manchester United. Daley Blind tries a through ball, but Marcus Rashford is caught offside.

Attempt missed. Marcus Rashford (Manchester United) right footed shot from long range on the left misses to the left. Assisted by Daley Blind.

Attempt blocked. Jardel (Benfica) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Corner, Benfica. Conceded by Matteo Darmian.


Substitution, Benfica. Jonas replaces Pizzi.


Goal! Manchester United 2, Benfica 0. Daley Blind (Manchester United) converts the penalty with a left footed shot to the centre of the goal.


Andreas Samaris (Benfica) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Penalty Manchester United. Marcus Rashford draws a foul in the penalty area.

Penalty conceded by Andreas Samaris (Benfica) after a foul in the penalty area.


Substitution, Manchester United. Marcus Rashford replaces Anthony Martial.


Substitution, Benfica. Haris Seferovic replaces Raúl Jiménez.

Corner, Benfica. Conceded by Daley Blind.

Attempt blocked. Scott McTominay (Manchester United) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Anthony Martial.

Ander Herrera (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Pizzi (Benfica).

Chris Smalling (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Dangerous play by Eduardo Salvio (Benfica).

Offside, Manchester United. Henrikh Mkhitaryan tries a through ball, but Romelu Lukaku is caught offside.


Eduardo Salvio (Benfica) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Eduardo Salvio (Benfica).


Substitution, Manchester United. Ander Herrera replaces Juan Mata.

Offside, Benfica. Andreas Samaris tries a through ball, but Eduardo Salvio is caught offside.

Raúl Jiménez (Benfica) hits the left post with a left footed shot from the centre of the box.


Substitution, Benfica. Eliseu replaces Alejandro Grimaldo.

Foul by Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Manchester United).

Pizzi (Benfica) wins a free kick in the attacking half.


As It Stood


1Man Utd4400101912
2FC Basel42028536
3CSKA Moscow420258-36


2Bayern Munich43018449


3Atl Madrid403123-13
4FK Qarabag402229-72




2Spartak Moscow31207345
4NK Maribor3012111-101


1Man City33008179
2Shakhtar Donetsk32014406


2RB Leipzig311145-14
3FC Porto31026603


2Real Madrid32107257
3B Dortmund301237-41
4Apoel Nicosia301217-61
View full Champions League tables

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