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Man United qualifies

Reuters
Thursday, December 07, 2017

LONDON - Manchester United reached the Champions League last-16 as Group A winners after coming from behind to beat CSKA Moscow 2-1 at home and finish ahead of Basel who also went through with a 2-0 win at Benfica on Tuesday.

The result left United top of the section on 15 points, three more than second-placed Basel and six ahead of third-placed CSKA who will carry on in the second-tier Europa League after the winter break.

Having missed a string of good chances in the opening period, United fell behind to a freakish Vitinho goal, heavily deflected off Alan Dzagoev, on the stroke of halftime before Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford struck within a minute to turn the match on its head.

Rashford hit the post in the fourth minute and saw a shot from a tight angle saved by CSKA's busy keeper Igor Akinfeev, who also kept out a Luke Shaw volley as United's left back enjoyed a fine evening.

CSKA struck out of the blue as Mario Fernandes broke down the right and set up Vitinho, whose miscued shot struck Dzagoev in the back and bounced into the net.

United piled the pressure after the break and Akinfeev parried another fierce Rashford shot before the home side's siege finally paid dividends.

Lukaku used his strength to steer in the equaliser in the 64th minute, as he got on the end of a probing Paul Pogba pass despite being tugged by CSKA centre back Viktor Vasin.

A close-range header by Dimitri Oberlin doubled Basel's lead midway through the second half as Benfica finished bottom of the group with zero points from six games.








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