SL Benfica 0-1 Manchester United: Rashford's quick thinking seals vital win for Mourinho's men in Portugal

Marcus Rashford's 65th minute free-kick was the difference for Mourinho's men in Portugal as they made it three wins from three games in Group A of Champions League.

SL Benfica 0-1 Manchester United: Rashford's quick thinking seals vital win for Mourinho's men in Portugal
The Benfica goalkeeper attempting to stop Rashford's free-kick from going over the line. (Photo: Laurence Griffiths/Getty)
SL Benfica
0 1
Manchester United
SL Benfica: Svilar: Douglas, Dias, Luisão, Grimaldo; Fejsa, Filipe Augusto, Pizzi (Zivkovic, min. 59), Salvio (Cervi, min. 83); Gonçalves (Jonas, min. 69), Raúl Jiménez.
Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Lindelöf, Smalling, Blind; Herrera, Matic; Mata (Lingard, min. 83), Mkhitaryan (McTominay, min. 90+2), Rashford (Martial, min. 76); Lukaku.
SCORE: 0-1, min. 65, Rashford.
REFEREE: Felix Zwayer (GER). Booked: Luisao (min. 5), Valencia (min. 41), Goncalves (min. 54), Lingard (min. 90+4). Sent off: Luisao (min. 90+2).
INCIDENTS: Uefa Champions League Group A match between SL Benfica and Manchester United, held at the Estadio da Luz, in Lisbon.

Marcus Rashford's second half free-kick earned Manchester United a 1-0 win against SL Benfica at the Estadio da Luiz stadium in Lisbon to make it three wins from three in Group A of the UEFA Champions League.

United struggled to get a breakthrough against a very poor Benfica side but when they finally did it was in bizarre fashion as Mile Svilar carried Rashford's long range free-kick over the line in the 65th minute of the game.

After that United controlled the rest of the game to earn yet another win in the group, while Luisão was sent off injury time for the hosts', who lost their third consecutive game in the group.

Mourinho made plenty of changes but his side struggled early on

In terms of the game itself, Jose Mourinho made a few chances to his team for the game with Victor Lindelof, Rashford and Daley Blind coming into the team following the weekend's draw away to Liverpool.

When the football started though, it wasn't the best of spectacles in the first half as the visitors struggled to control the game in which they would have wanted to from the beginning of the game.

They almost got punished for their sloppy play when Álex Grimaldo cross into the box found Eduardo Salvio but his first time shot went just wide of the goal.

 

United were wasteful in front of goal before half-time

After a poor 30 minutes of football from the visitors they finally stepped it up a bit and they almost took the lead on three separate occasions before half-time.

Firstly, Rashford headed a good chance over the bar when a good cross from Daley Blind found the striker, before a surging run into the box from Nemanja Matic forced Svilar into make a smart save down to his right.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan had the other chance for the visitors but he put his shot well over bar after Ander Herrera found him with a good through ball.

At the break though it was clear to see that Mourinho was unhappy with how his team played and would have been hoping for better from his side in the second half as they went in search of the win.

The visitors' made a much brighter start to the second half

It was clear to see from the start of the second half that United had a good talking to as they came out of the blocks much quicker as Mkhitaryan's long range strike went just over the bar.

Rashford gave United the lead after Svilar's blunder

They kept pushing and pushing for a goal and it finally came in bizarre circumstances as Rashford his a long range free-kick caught out Svilar in goal as he carried the free-kick over his own goal line.

It seemed to be a tactic they had to be working on as Rashford kept shooting towards the young keeper from corner kicks and he wasn't comfortable on any occasion.

 

Rashford left the pitch injured to add to Mourinho's concern as Benfica finished the game with ten men

Ten minutes after scoring his goal, Rashford had to come off the pitch with what looked like a knee injury which adds to already growing list that Mourinho currently has on the sidelines.

His replacement, Anthony Martial, almost made it 2-0 when he ran past his defender but he saw his goalbound shot well-saved by Svilar.

The hosts' just couldn't get going in the second half at all and they finished the game with ten men when their captain Luisao was sent off for a second yellow card for a late tackle on Scott McTominay, who came on before the end of the game.

Therefore at the final whistle, the United players knew they had taken a huge step to progressing from Group A, while Benfica knew that they are almost out of the competition with three games to play.