Rashford extends Man Utd’s 100% start in Benfica

Mile Svilar

Mile Svilar joined Benfica from Anderlecht for £2m in the summer

Marcus Rashford’s long-range free-kick caught out teenage goalkeeper Mile Svilar on his Champions League debut as Manchester United edged past Benfica.

Belgian Svilar, the competition’s youngest goalkeeper at 18 years and 52 days, had a moment to forget when he carried Rashford’s 35-yard free-kick from out wide over his own goalline.

Rashford then gave United a cause for concern when he limped off with a leg injury in the second half and was replaced by Anthony Martial.

And up until the 63-minute goal, the visitors had largely been disappointing, pedestrian in their play and caused few problems for the Portuguese side.

Former Benfica midfielder Nemanja Matic forced Svilar into a low save and lashed an effort over the crossbar, as did the disappointing Henrikh Mkhitaryan from a promising position.

The home side failed to work David de Gea into a save for the entire game and their best chance fell to Eduardo Salvio in the first half, but the Argentina winger struck wide from inside the box.

Benfica were reduced to 10 men late on when veteran centre-back Luisao was given a second yellow card.

Jose Mourinho’s side top Group A after winning all three games while Basel beat CSKA Moscow in the other match.

  • Relive Manchester United’s win over Benfica

Returning pair impress

Although they made hard work of the result, United remain unbeaten in all competitions this season [apart from the Super Cup] and have nine clean sheets from 13 games.

Their performance in the first 45 minutes was similar to their 0-0 draw at Liverpool on Saturday, with striker Romelu Lukaku unable to get into the game and causing few problems in front of goal.

But Mourinho’s men improved after the break and took control of the contest, forcing the opposition to take hopeful shots outside the box.

Serbia midfielder Matic, who played for Benfica between 2011 and 2014, has fitted seamlessly into the United side since joining in the summer from Chelsea and put in another dominant performance on Wednesday.

Matic made the most passes (85) and tackles (4) plus more possession gained (14) than any other player on the pitch.

He could have scored his first goal for the club but saw his effort pushed away from the post.

Defender Victor Lindelof, who has yet to start in the Premier League but has played all three Champions League games, joined from the Lisbon-based side in the summer and looked comfortable, playing more passes than any other defender.

Mourinho, though, will be looking closely at an abject showing by Armenian Mkhitaryan, who lost the ball 21 times in the match.

Svilar lets slip in big moment

Goalkeeper Svilar joined the Portuguese champions in the summer from Anderlecht for £2.2m and has been dubbed “the new Thibaut Courtois”.

His arrival came after previous number one Ederson joined Manchester City in the summer, and the similarities between the two are clear to see.

Like the Brazilian, Svilar plays as a sweeper keeper, rushing off his line to clear the danger. His first act in the match was to sprint outside the area and from his 36 touches on the ball in the match, 11 came outside the box.

He looked confident for much of the game, making saves off Matic, Martial and Rashford, but then made the error that handed United the goal.

Svilar was looking to anticipate Rashford’s free-kick but the ball sailed over his head, and as he back-peddled to try to keep the ball out, the referee pointed to his watch to signal a goal.

It cost his side the points, leaving them bottom of the table without a win in this season’s competition.

“The manager said to us to try and shoot and get some crosses towards their goalkeeper because he is young and playing in his first game,” said Matic. “This is football and I know he is a great goalkeeper and I wish him well for the future.”

Svilar was close to tears at full-time, turning to his supporters and raising his hands in apology, before fellow countryman Lukaku came over to him with words of consolation and embracing him in a warm hug.

More to follow.

Live Text

Match ends, Benfica 0, Manchester United 1.

Second Half ends, Benfica 0, Manchester United 1.

Jesse Lingard (Manchester United) is shown the yellow card.

Foul by Jesse Lingard (Manchester United).

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

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

Second yellow card to Luisão (Benfica) for a bad foul.

Scott McTominay (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Luisão (Benfica).

Substitution, Manchester United. Scott McTominay replaces Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Attempt missed. Andrija Zivkovic (Benfica) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left following a corner.

Corner, Benfica. Conceded by Nemanja Matic.

Corner, Benfica. Conceded by Antonio Valencia.

Anthony Martial (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Andrija Zivkovic (Benfica).

Attempt missed. Rúben Dias (Benfica) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Franco Cervi with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Benfica. Conceded by Antonio Valencia.

Substitution, Manchester United. Jesse Lingard replaces Juan Mata.

Substitution, Benfica. Franco Cervi replaces Eduardo Salvio.

Attempt blocked. Filipe Augusto (Benfica) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Mile Svilar.

Attempt saved. Anthony Martial (Manchester United) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Romelu Lukaku.

Corner, Benfica. Conceded by Victor Lindelöf.

Attempt blocked. Jonas (Benfica) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Andrija Zivkovic.

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Rúben Dias.

Substitution, Manchester United. Anthony Martial replaces Marcus Rashford because of an injury.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Marcus Rashford (Manchester United) because of an injury.

Attempt blocked. Jonas (Benfica) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Filipe Augusto.

Attempt blocked. Andrija Zivkovic (Benfica) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Raúl Jiménez.

Foul by Chris Smalling (Manchester United).

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

Substitution, Benfica. Jonas replaces Diogo Gonçalves.

Goal! Benfica 0, Manchester United 1. Marcus Rashford (Manchester United) from a free kick with a right footed shot to the high centre of the goal.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Douglas (Benfica).

Foul by Marcus Rashford (Manchester United).

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

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Mile Svilar.

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Lubomir Fejsa.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/41624728

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