By 90Min
December 05, 2017

Manchester United qualified top of the Champions League group with a routine victory against CSKA Moscow at Old Trafford, after a controversial and twice-awarded opening goal from the visitors.

Goals from Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford made sure of victory and top spot in Group A after Vitinho stunned the home crowd, despite the deflection coming from an apparently offside Alan Dzagoev.

However Daley Blind, who slid all the way off the pitch in the buildup to the goal, way playing the entire CSKA team onside - leaving the goal to legitimately stand. 

In typical fashion at Old Trafford in a game of little importance, the hosts dominated from the kick off and it was Marcus Rashford who proved most up for a match, hitting the post with the first real chance of the game, after an excellent through ball from Romelu Lukaku on a fast break allowed the English striker the space to hit across goal with his left foot.

Sensing the game was there for the taking, Rashford again was in the thick of the action inside the first ten minutes, testing Igor Akinfeev with a great one-handed reflex save.

Another English international with a point to prove showed promise early on in the match, as Luke Shaw was regularly involved in the final third, striking a fantastic volley from a deep Antonio Valencia cross. After Akinfeev parried the volley into a dangerous area, Lukaku was on hand to follow up but could not make the most of an simple rebound.

Slowly creeping into the game, the visiting CSKA - stringing passes together in the Red Devils' half - shot with the first sight of goal through a speculative effort from Brazilian midfielder Vitinho.

OLI SCARFF/GettyImages

Knocking at the door of the hosts, defender Vasili Berezutski had a glorious sight at goal to break the deadlock. Unmarked ten yards out from a sloppy defensive set-piece from Jose Mourinho's side, the Russian centre-half blazed a rare opportunity over the bar.

In quick succession, another controversial moment inside the Manchester United box looked like a penalty claim as Shaw rushed into the back of Dzagoev, risking a brief spell in the Red Devils first team with a late challenge, which was brushed away by the match officials.

CSKA went ahead on the stroke of half-time though, after fine build-up play on the right side of midfield from overlapping defender Figueira Fernandes, the Brazilian-Russian right-back fed Vitinho in the box, whose shot at goal was deflected in by Dzagoev. 

Keen to make amends from a brief lapse in concentration at the end of the first half, Manchester United started the next forty five minutes with a greater purpose, with Chris Smalling rising high to head wide in a relatively easy chance.


Dominating play looking for the opening goal, with thirty minutes left on the clock Manchester United were level. Paul Pogba, who was pulling the strings in midfield all game, found his Belgian counterpart with a delightful drilled through ball on his left foot. Using his power to hold up defender Viktor Vasin, Lukaku ended his goal drought with a instinctive volley.

With their tails up, like waiting for a London bus not one but two came in quick succession, as the dangerous Rashford finally got his goal. After a Lukaku flick on, deflection, a deftly-executed lofted pass from Juan Mata teed up the English forward, who comfortably dispatched with his left foot past Akinfeev.

A spectator for much of the game, Sergio Romero - on Champions League deputy goal keeper for the rested David de Gea - pulled off a great save late on from a Dzagoev shot to keep the Russian outfit at bay, instinctively stopping with his foot to wrap up the three points.


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