Manchester United managed to find the winning ways to end their Champions League group stage campaign, beating CSKA Moscow 2-1 at Old Trafford. Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford scored in the span of 66 seconds midway through the second half, securing a comeback victory, first place of the Group A and a new record for number of matches unbeaten at home.
This was the 40th match in a row at Old Trafford where Man United fans did not see their players lose. Jose Mourinho found the right amount of rotation as the Reds secured the place in the knockout rounds without some important players in the team.
Luke Shaw Reminds Of His Promise
It was a first competitive start for Luke Shaw in 219 days and he will remember. The 22-year old played magnificently throughout the match, showing why Manchester United bought him three years ago for £33.75m.
Shaw played as a left wing-back, featuring instead of Ashley Young. He seemed to enjoy this role, giving him the space to be as attacking-minded as he wanted. Shaw’s average position was well into CSKA’s half and everything he did, seemed to go well. Former Southampton man made four successful dribbles in as many attempts, surging past the opposition players at will.
It is yet to be seen if this performance will have any impact on Mourinho’s decisions in the transfer market next January. Young is the clear first choice for that position. However, Shaw will hope to make a case for himself, building on this fine display.
Ander Herrera’s Important Performance
Spanish midfielder played only 66 minutes against CSKA, coming off for Scott McTominay. However, Mourinho will definitely be pleased with Herrera. The manager probably chose to not push Herrera too much as he is expected to play alongside Nemanja Matic this Sunday when Manchester City come across town to Old Trafford.
Herrera, though, seemed much better than during most of this season. His performance resembled more of the 2016-17 campaign, rather than the shaky 2017-18. And that is very important for the Reds. Man United will have to rely on him in the coming weeks. Paul Pogba will be serving a three-match ban and this Herrera’s display maybe even came just in time.
Manchester United Will Be Seeded At The Draw
With a win over CSKA, Manchester United ended top of Group A. Basel managed to beat Benfica 2-0 and claim the second spot. This means Man United will be seeded at the Friday draw.
The Reds will therefore play their first match of the round of 16 away from home. The return leg will be played leg at Old Trafford. Manchester United will really look into taking that advantage for themselves, trying to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the first time since 2013-14.
With groups B, C and D being completed as well, Manchester United will not be able to draw Paris Saint-Germain, Roma and Barcelona, as they finished top of their respective groups, too. Chelsea are an English team and therefore cannot be United’s opposition in round of 16. Juventus and Bayern Munich could very well be.
On Wednesday night, we will find out the rest of the knockout round teams. Liverpool could end up top of Group E. Shakhtar or Napoli will be second-placed in Group F. Porto or Leipzig will fight for the second spot in Group G, while Real Madrid are guaranteed that position in Group H.