Manchester United took a giant step to become one of the quickest teams to reach the next round in the 2017-18 UEFA Champions League this season.
Following a 2-0 win against Benfica at Old Trafford, The Red Devils notched their fourth straight win in the Group Stage. And since they tallied 12 points, United are very close to secure a spot in the next round. And if we consider CSKA Moscow defeated FC Basel, United have secured a spot in the next round barring a miracle. The Red Devils have 12 points, Basel and CSKA have six, and Benfica have none. United only need one more point to reach the next stage of the tournament.
All signs indicate Basel and CSKA are likely to fight for the second and third places in the standings, while Benfica are almost out of Europe all together. But this is now a time to celebrate for United’s fans. Because the win against Benfica did not come easy. Mourinho rotated the side a bit, and names such as Matteo Darmian, Daley Blind, and Scott McTominay got a rare chance to start. And neither player disappointed, even if the game was quite close.
A Huge Win In A Complicated Match
Anthony Martial had a golden chance to score the first goal early in the first half, but the French forward missed from the spot. It seemed the first half was likely to end scoreless, but an own goal from Benfica’s goalkeeper Mile Svilar put the Premier League giants on top. Blind secured the score deep in the second half with a penalty in the 78th minute. The Dutch defender looked composed on the left-side of the defence, and he might have put himself in the conversation to gain more playing time in the near future.
It was a solid effort from United, and they are now inches away from securing a berth in the next round. The next step is to secure the first position in the standings, and that should likely happen in the team’s next match against Basel on November 22. But there is enough time to recover injured players and prepare the game accordingly. Right now, it’s time to celebrate the first of (hopefully) many accomplishments this season.