Manchester United beat CSKA Moscow 2-1 in the final UEFA Champions League group stage match at Old Trafford. Santos Vitinho put his side ahead in the last minute of the first half, Alan Dzagoev deflecting the ball into the back of the net, which seemed like an offside goal. United hit the Russian side with two goals in two minutes through Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford to win the match.
Jose Mourinho made six changes from his side with beat Arsenal 3-1 in the Premier League on Saturday evening. Sergio Romero, Daley Blind, Ander Herrera, Luke Shaw, Juan Mata and Marcus Rashford replaced David De Gea, Marcos Rojo, Nemanja Matic, Ashley Young, Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial. Shaw not only made his return to the starting XI but also made his 50th appearance.
United started well at the start of the match launching a counter-attack in the fourth minute of the match after Romelu Lukaku threaded a clever ball into Rashford who steadied himself and shot across Igor Akinfeev but the ball bounced back off the upright. United were on the attack again with Lukaku breezing up the right flank and put a lovely cross into the box, missing everyone.
In the 15th minute of the match, three minutes after Alan Dzagoev tried to put his side ahead from distance, Romero collecting the shot comfortably, Rashford was again denied by Akinfeev after Juan Mata played the 20-year-old on. United were so far looking like the better team but still needing a goal. At this stage, Basel were already 1-0 up against Benfica.
United had yet another chance in the 19th minute of the match after Antonio Valencia broke forward and both Shaw and Lukaku had the chance to put United ahead, Akinfeev thwarting both attempts. In the 22nd minute, United were through again with Shaw rushing into the box, receiving the ball from Pogba, teeing up a chance but Mata could not get on it to find the back fo the net. Shaw was looking sharp.
Shaw was looking sharp tonight. Seems to have earned his appearance so far in the game and should be playing more football this season. In the 26th minute of the match, Santos Vitinho saw his effort from long-range soar over the crossbar. In the 34th minute, Pogba sent a terrific ball from United’s half up to Lukaku, who was cutting into the box from the left, the Belgian could not find the net.
In the 37th minute, CSKA had another chance on goal through Vitinho, his shot being fired over the crossbar again just after Shaw dispossessed Dzagoev with a sliding challenge which saw a penalty claim but nothing was given. On the reply, Shaw played the ball so it was the right decision. United won a corner in the 40th minute, taken by Blind but nothing came of it.
CSKA Moscow took the lead in the 45th minute with Dzagoev seemingly getting the final touch, the ball coming off his back, possibly from an offside position, Vitinho getting the goal, putting United under pressure in the tie, well they only needed six more goals to see United knocked out of the competition. United had chances that should have resulted in goals, but they ended the half trailing 1-0.
There were no changes for either side at the start of the second half as United looked to get a goal back to make the game level. It was CSKA who came out with the intent, seeking to get forward and press to find a second goal. United got on the counter with Rashford on the ball but Akinfeev thwarted his effort and pushed his side forward on the counter.
United won a corner in the 52nd minute, taken by Blind but came to nothing with the Russian side breaking forward and United regaining possession and pressing on the advance. United won another corner after Shaw’s cross into the box was deflected. Blind took it again, it was cleared by CSKA, United regaining possession and Mata crossing with Chris Smalling heading off target.
United won a free-kick in the 58th minute after Pogba was fouled by Vasili Berezutski, Blind lining up to take the kick, running across it and Rashford smashing his effort, which was deflected by the wall and over the crossbar. The resulting corner was nothing special with United still on the attack, crossing into the box and Akinfeev clearing his area, with United still on the ball.
United levelled the score in the 64th minute after Pogba fired a passing into the box for Lukaku, who was too strong for his man, putting the ball into the back of the net. United were not finished there, they were on the attack again with Rashford slotting his shot across the goal into the far corner, putting them 2-1 up.
In the 67th minute, Mourinho made his first change with Scott McTominay replacing Herrera. CSKA made a change too with Astemir Gordyushenko replacing Fedor Chalov. In the 72nd minute of the match, Mourinho made his second change with Axel Tuanzebe replacing Valencia. United made a third change in the 74th minute with Anthony Martial replacing Lukaku.
CSKA made their second substitution with Timur Zhamaletdinov replacing Vitinho in the 82nd minute. United had a few chances to create something in the final eight minutes of the match, exciting the crowd at times, but not getting a hint of the goal. Rashford had a chance to create something but Berezutski cut out his pass. Three minutes were added at the end of the second half.
CSKA made their final change of the match with Khetag Khosonov replacing Kirill Nababkin in the first minute of stoppage time. United had to defend a set-piece after the change, the ball going out of play for a goal kick. The game continued with United winning the match, amassing 15 points out of a possible 18 with Pogba making his last appearance for three matches.
Goals: Romelu Lukaku 64′, Marcus Rashford 66′
Assists: Paul Pogba 64′, Juan Mata 66′
Manchester United: Romero; Lindelof, Smalling, Blind; Valencia (Tuanzebe 72′), Herrera (McTominay 67′), Pogba; Shaw; Mata; Lukaku (Martial 74′), Rashford
Substitutes Not Used: Pereira; Darmian; Lingard, Young
Bookings: Scott McTominay 73′