Lukaku end goal drought as Man Utd beat CSKA

Romelu Lukaku ended his goal drought with an equaliser for Manchester United against CSKA Moscow
Romelu Lukaku ended his goal drought with an equaliser for Manchester United against CSKA Moscow

Manchester United reached the Champions League knockout stage for the first time since 2014 by coming from behind to beat CSKA Moscow.

Victory at Old Trafford allowed Jose Mourinho’s side to top Group A ahead of second-placed Basel with 15 points from their six games.


Deal of the day

The Russian side had taken the lead with a controversial goal on the stroke of half time as Vitinho’s shot was diverted into the net by Alan Dzagoev, although the forward was standing in an offside position.

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Despite conceding, the hosts were on top throughout and could have gone in front within four minutes but Marcus Rashford scuffed a shot against the post following Romelu Lukaku’s through ball.

However, the United forward pair did score in quick succession in the second half to turn the match around.

Striker Lukaku stretched out a leg to poke home his 13th of the season from Paul Pogba’s pass on 64 minutes and Rashford stroked in just two minutes later.

Mixed return for Shaw

United had all-but reached the last-16 of the tournament, needing to avoid a seven-goal defeat in their final game to progress.

Despite knowing they had the luxury of losing and still progressing, United were barely troubled by the visitors and controlled the contest. CSKA could have grabbed an equaliser at 2-1 behind, but Dzagoev’s low strike was kept out by Sergio Romero.

The Argentine goalkeeper played in last season’s Europa League final triumph against Ajax but has had to contend with a supporting role to David de Gea this term, playing just his fourth match of the campaign.

Meanwhile defender Luke Shaw has had even less game time, making two substitute appearances in the EFL Cup. But the Englishman was given his first start of the season and his 50th overall for the club since joining in 2014.

Mourinho had told Shaw to “change his football brain” in April and the former Southampton full-back showcased an impressive performance, looking assured at the back and sharp in possession.

He nearly grabbed his first senior goal but saw his volley at the back post pushed away by Igor Akinfeev’s sprawling save, while he was inches away from picking out Rashford following a clever sprint in behind the CSKA defence.

Shaw completed the full 90 minutes but was culpable for the away side’s opener, failing to track Mario Fernandes’ burst into the box. The right-back picked out Vitinho in the box, whose shot hit Dzagoev and ended up in the net.

Should CSKA’s goal have stood?

It is unclear.

CSKA goal was awarded to Vitinho by Uefa, but the Brazilian’s shot looked like it was going wide before hitting the back of Dzagoev and into the net.

The Russia international should have been flagged offside as he was standing in between United’s last defender Chris Smalling and goalkeeper Romero.

However, in the build-up, Daley Blind had slid off the pitch as he attempted to block Fernandes’ cross.

According to the International Football Association Board law, it states: “a defending player who leaves the field of play without the referee’s permission shall be considered to be on the goal line or touchline for the purposes of offside until the next stoppage in play”.

It seems the officials have interpreted the Dutchman as still being active in play and so the linesman’s flag stayed down.
Duo back to goalscoring ways

Belgian Lukaku’s blistering start in a Red Devils shirt saw him score 11 goals in his opening 10 games but he has hit a rough patch recently and this was heading towards another goalless game when a shot from close range was blocked by Akinfeev.

But Lukaku, whose selfless play often brought other team-mates into the action, netted the equaliser by holding off defender Viktor Vasin and converting just his second goal in his last 13 games.

Englishman Rashford has been on an even longer barren spell, going nine without netting, and was frustrated by the Moscow goalkeeper, having a low shot and thumping drive pushed away.

His persistence paid off with the winning goal, being set free into the area by Juan Mata’s pass, before calmly rolling into the far post.