Manchester United are on the brink of reaching the Champions League knock-out phase after teenage Benfica goalkeeper Mile Svilar unwittingly put Jose Mourinho’s men on course for another narrow win.
A fortnight ago the 18-year-old became the youngest goalkeeper to ever play in the competition – a historic night that ended in embarrassment after he misread a Marcus Rashford free-kick and carried it over the line.
Daley Blind of Manchester United celebrates scoring a penalty, his side’s second goal during the UEFA Champions League group A match between Manchester United and SL Benfica at Old Trafford.
This looked to be a far better night for Svilar after he saved Anthony Martial’s early penalty, but misfortune struck the Benfica goalkeeper once again as Nemanja Matic’s shot came back off the post and deflected in off him to set United on course for a 2-0 win wrapped up by Daley Blind.
It leaves United six points clear at the top of Group A with two matches remaining on a night that started with Mourinho taking aim at some of his club’s supporters in the programme.
“I hope that you enjoy the game more than some of you did against Tottenham,” he wrote after being irritated by some fans at the weekend, having felt Romelu Lukaku did not get the right support and seen his decision to bring on Martial met by some groans.
The Frenchman started this game and saw an early penalty saved by Svilar, but the teenager’s hope of a better night than two weeks ago went down the drain when Matic’s effort went in off him.
Eric Bailly was perhaps fortunate not to give away a first-half penalty and again breathed a sigh of relief when Raul Gimenez hit the post from his sloppy pass, although Blind’s 78th-minute penalty gave United a welcome cushion.
Lukaku had looked set to take the spot-kick only for a confusing late change in taker, with Mourinho celebrating the second by making a chatting gesture in front of the cameras.