Kolkata: Manchester United extended it’s unbeaten home run to 38 games, following the 2-0 win over Benfica at Old Trafford, even as Chelsea suffered a shock 0-3 loss to AS Roma in the Champions League on Wednesday. An own goal by Benfica goalie Mike Svilar and a Daley Blind penalty in 78th minute was enough, as United went closer to the knock-out stages.
A record very synonymous with Manchester United coach Jose Mourinho, whose teams over the years has made home a fortress, the gaffer seems to be leading United in the same way. The EPL giants continued to impress, playing a typical Mourinho way, strong in the air and compact defensively as they saw aside a weak Portugese side to extend their unbeaten streak to 38 games that includes 11 draws (a large chunk from last season), but only two in the last 10 matches. Such a record has not been a common trait at the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ in the past few seasons but Mourinho who has achieved a similar thing even in the previous clubs, (including 60 unbeaten home matches at Chelsea) is moulding United into a ‘Jose’s United’ as the 20 time EPL champions aim for their first Champions League crown, since the 1-3 heart-breaking Loss to Barcelona in 2011.
However, Mike Svilar would be man United would have to thank. The young Belgian, who this season has become youngest goalkeeper to play in the Elite European Cup, was once again at the wrong end after Nemanja Matic’s long range powerful shot bounced of the post before hitting the back of Svilar to go inside the goal in the rebound. Nonetheless he had started brightly, becoming the youngest keeper to save a penalty after he parried away Martial’s shot, early in the 16th minute. Things however got worst for him after Blind scored one from the spot to seal the win, taking United just one point away from progressing to the next rounds.
AS Roma meanwhile spilt the beans thrashing a wasteful Chelsea 3-0 to end England’s unbeaten streak in the CL this season, propelling them to the top of group C. El Shaarawy scored a brace, while Diego Perotti added a third as the defending EPL champions endured a shambolic evening at the Stadio Olimpico stadium.
Another surprising result in Group C saw Atletico Madrid put up a disappointing 1-1 draw against a 10-man FK Qarabag, slipping futher down the pecking order as they now face a danger of missing out on the knock-out stages for the first time since 2008.
Meanwhile, Layvin Kurzawa scored a second – half hat trick as Paris Saint-Germain secured a comfortable 5-0 win over Anderlecht to advance to the next round from Group B. Talisman Neymar Jr and Marco Verratti chipped with a goal each as the French club remained three points clear of second placed Bayern Munich in Group B.
German champions Bayern Munich however had to put up a valiant fight against a resilient Celtic FC to manage a hard fought 2-1 win. Kinglsey Coman and Javi Martinez scored a goal each for the Bavarians, while Callum McGregor pulled one back for the home team.
FC Bayern may have looked strong on paper but Celtic did not leave an inch of space making it hard for the Germans to create their magic. The 2013 champions, however secured their win and now looks like a rejenuvated side under the newly appointed Jupp Heynckes.
Barcelona and Juventus however failed to win their matches and instead were held to a draw against their respective weaker opponents. Barcelona failed to score a goal as Lionel Messi and co. had to settle for a point against Olympiakos and would need one more point to qualify for the next round.
Juventus on the other hand, came back from a goal behind to hold Sporting Lisbon to a 1-1 draw at the Jose Alvalade Stadium. Gonzalo Higuain scored a late goal after Bruno Cesar had given SL the lead in the 20th minute.