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Manchester United 2-0 Benfica, Player Ratings

Manchester United made it four wins on the trot in Europe this season with victory over Benfica at Old Trafford. Here are the Player Ratings


Matic
Manchester United v SL Benfica - UEFA Champions League

A non-vintage Manchester United side managed to see off Benfica for the second match week in a row to virtually seal their place in the round of 16 of the Champions League.

United had an early penalty saved, but fortuitously took the lead late in the first half after Nemanja Matic's left-footed strike from long range went in off the head of young goalkeeper Mile Svilar after initially hitting the post.

Benfica threatened to equalise on a number of occasions, with winger Diogo Goncalves forcing David de Gea to a fingertip save and Raul Jimenez hitting the post after cutting out Bailly's sloppy pass across his own penalty area.

However, United were gifted the points when Andreas Samaris' clumsy challenge on Marcus Rashford led to a penalty which Daley Blind converted.

The result means that United only need a point from their remaining two games to seal qualification into the Champions League knockout rounds.

Here are the player ratings from the game at Old Trafford:-


Manchester United

Manchester United v SL Benfica - UEFA Champions League
Manchester United v SL Benfica - UEFA Champions League

David de Gea - 7

de Gea needed to punch away Goncalves' fierce shot in the first half and make a finger-tip save from the same player early in the second half.

Matteo Darmian - 6

Darmian was in good touch defensively - matching the runs of vibrant left-back Alex Grimaldo and making important clearances from Benfica crosses. Attack-wise, his crosses were below par.

Eric Bailly - 5

Bailly was guilty of failing to close down Benfica's frontmen, thus giving them room to shoot. Raul Jimenez's shot - which was saved by de Gea - was a result of Bailly's reluctance to get on the forward's face.

His poor pass to Smalling - under no pressure - was intercepted by Jimenez, whose shot subsequently hit the post under pressure from Smalling. His discipline and fitness was under a massive cloud tonight.

Chris Smalling - 7

Smalling had a solid outing, heading away crosses into the box and not giving the likes of Salvio and striker Raul Jimenez the room to get a shot away. He always looked to close down his opponents and cramp them for space. He saved Bailly the blushes when he lost possession to Jimenez in the box, closing him down to force his shot against the post.

Daley Blind - 7

Blind did well to track Salvio's runs into the United penalty area, preventing him from receiving balls from an attack-minded Douglas. He didn't need to press up the pitch thanks to Martial's scintillating form. His penalty late in the game sealed the points for United and in all probability, their progress into the Round of 16.

Scott McTominay - 7

McTominay was immense in his first Champions League start - he won the ball back multiple times from the Portuguese side and made a couple of key interceptions to frustrate a pacey Benfica going forward.

Nemanja Matic - 7

Matic ran the game from midfield and was influential in keeping a dangerous-looking Benfica attack in check with crucial interceptions. Owing to Benfica's desperation to get a result barring which the Portugese side would face elimination, Matic did not commit forward, contributing to United's lack of momentum in possession. His goal from 25 yards was fortuitous - rebounding off the post and going in off Svilar's head.

Juan Mata - 6.5

Mata had a better game than when the sides met in Portugal. His first touches were deft and although he was not able to provide the cutting pass, he ensured that he was not giving away possession and maintaining pressure on the Benfica defence with sideways passes in the vicinity of the box. His work-ethic was appreciable on a night when United struggled to get any fluidity in their play.

Jesse Lingard - 6.5

Lingard floated across the penalty box - often swapping the right-wing and number 10 position with Mata. He used his pace to steer clear of the Benfica midfield while also feeding Martial when the latter ran into space.

Anthony Martial - 7


Manchester United v SL Benfica - UEFA Champions League
Manchester United v SL Benfica - UEFA Champions League

Despite missing the penalty, Martial was on fire at Old Trafford, waltzing past Douglas on numerous occasions to make inroads into the Benfica defence. He was the only one supporting an otherwise isolated Lukaku in attack thanks to some individual brilliance.

Romelu Lukaku - 6

Not for the first time in recent weeks, Lukaku was isolated up front and often had to operate in a deep midfield role to get involved. he should have done better when Benfica gave away the ball in a promising position towards the end of the first half.

Substitutions:

Henrikh Mkhitaryan - 5

Mkhitaryan was poor during the 45 minutes he was on the pitch, losing possession and physical duels too easily for Mourinho's liking and not impacting the game with meaningful passes and take-ons.

Ander Herrera - 6

Herrera replaced Mata with around 20 minutes remaining to see the game out. His passes were accurate and fulfilling the purpose for which he was sent on.

Marcus Rashford - 7

Rashford made an instant impact since coming on, cutting across a handful of Benfica's players before being brought down by Samaris to win a penalty that would duly be converted by Blind to put the points in the bag.

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