So that was a decent night's work for United; they played some lovely stuff, came back from a goal down, and kept the 100 percent happy vibe jigging. They're not good enough to win this competition yet, but they're plenty good enough to bother any team they happen to play.
- 2nd Half
- 1st Half
Manchester United - CSKA Moscow
Champions League - 5 December 2017
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Full-time: Manchester United 2-1 CSKA Moscow - Manchester united are through to the last 16 of the Champions League as group winners, and are joined by Basel.
Kochonov picks up a knockdown on the left of the box, and smacks a shot over the top.
The draw for the next round, by the way, is on Monday morning.
Final chuck for CSKA: off goes Nabobkov, on comes Khosonov.
There'll be three added minutes.
The CSKA fans are enjoying themselves, topless and shouting.
Rashford streaks away again and opens his body to square for Martial, but picks out a defender instead.
The majority of the crowd have seen enough.
Mata's played really well tonight, what with all the space he's been given; he really is a lovely player when allowed to do what he wants, and proves it by diddling two patsies in centrefield.
United have eased off and CSKA seek an equaliser, Dzagoev sneaking through the middle and doing Romero with the eyes, only to drive against his feet.
Off goes Vitinho, the "goalscorer"; on comes Zamaletdinov.
A Savic own-goal has given Chelsea an equaliser against Atletico.
Shaw, who's been very good, is down with cramp. He's getting treatment on the pitch off Pogba, and then the physio comes on, but if I were the ref I'd be kicking him off and telling him to get fitter.
Munich lead PSG 3-1 now; they need two more to win the group.
Basically, Pogba has stepped it up these last 15 minutes and that's a big part of why United are ahead. He picks the ball up once more, drives through the middle of the park, and shoots high.
Final change for United: Martial comes out to stretch his legs, with Lukaku going off. Like Herrera and Valencia before him, Mourinho sends him down the tunnel - but after they share a long, meaningful hug.
Aaaaand my system crashed again. In the meantime, McTominay was booked for a late challenge.
I was rather hoping that Axel Tuanzebe would start tonight, but he didn't. Still, he's on now for Valencia.
Barcelona now lead Sporting 1-0.
Apologies, my system crashed, but you didn't miss much.
That little flurry is a very good sign for United; they need to win to keep themselves happy, and to seize two goals like that evidences a team with confidence and coherence.
Herrera will be playing on Sunday; he's replaced by McTominay.
GOAL! Manchester United 2-1 CSKA Moscow (Rashford) And this is another goodun! Lindelof hits it long and Rashford picks it up, poking towards Mata, alongside him, who lifts a terrific pass back over the top and into stride. Rashford lets it bounce, then bangs an assured finish across Akinfeev for his first goal in time.
GOAL! Manchester United 1-1 CSKA Moscow 1 (Lukaku) This is a really nice goal, Pogba sitting in space to the left before clipping a gorgeous pass over the top, looking for Lukaku, who does a great job holding off Vasin to poke home. He's been good tonight, but he needed that.
United have CSKA pinned now, and are taking their time picking the line of their next attack.
Anderlecht now lead Celtic, who've been useless tonight by all accounts.
Atletico now lead Chelsea, which means Roma will go through as group winners, with Chelsea in second.
Roma now lead Qarabag, which is bad news for Atletico; they're going out as things stand.
Rashford it is, clattering towards the keeper's top corner but clipping the top of the wall. The corner is cleared, but Rashford is soon on the ball again, turning Kuchaev inside and out before clipping over a cross which Akinfeev flaps clear, and after a further wave, CSKA eventually clear to halfway. United are coming.
Here's Pogba, turning away from Kuchev, linking nicely with Lukaku, collecting the return and beating Berezutski, who hauls him down. Free-kick United, just outside the D, just left of centre. Berezutski is booked, and Rashford, Mata and Pogba are behind it; I'd go Mata, because the ball only needs a tickle...
PSG have got one back against Bayern.
Pogba has played well in flashes tonight, but needs to take control of things. In the meantime Shaw, who's been great, wins United a corner following a lovely piece of skill. Blind wastes another corner, but it's only cleared as far as Shaw, who coaxes a lovely clip over the top to Mata, who bangs over a cross ... which Smalling can only head wide. In fairness, the ball was travelling.
Rashford rips Berezutski again; he has him on absolute toast, which is the best kind of toast, but the attack then breaks down.
Curiouser and curiouser; Uefa have given the goal to Vitinho; Uefa are weird.
If the scores in this group stay as they are, CSKA will go out.
Marcus Rashford is a player. Lukaku, whose link-up play has again been excellent, finds him at inside-right and he skins Ignashevic before ramming a rasper towards the near post that Akinfeev parries up and out.
We go again.
That was an entertaining first half and we look set for more of the same in the second.
Half-time:Manchester United 0-1 CSKA Moscow
GOAL! Manchester United 0-1 CSKA Moscow ( Dzagoev) This is really nice from CSKA, but useless officiating. Golovin sends Fernandes away down the right and he cuts back. Chalov tries to reach it, can't, and Vitinho pokes goalwards, the ball hitting Dzagoev on its way in; Dzagoev was in the middle of the box and offside. The ensuing row concerns whether the ball hit him, but it's nonsense; he was stood in the middle of the six-yard box, how is that not offside in any circumstance?! STOP PRESS: Daley Blind slid off the pitch so was perhaps playing him on, so the question is now whether or not he could've got back on the pitch; I'd say not.
A ball over the top sees Valencia ahead of Nababkin, who drags him down outside the box and lets go inside it as they fall; the ref decides it's fine, which makes it fine defending.
Lovely from Shaw, nipping past Fernandes and forcing Vitinho to slide in; it looks like a corner but the ref says goalkick.
Munich, by the way, need to win by four to finish top of that group.
Corentin Tolisso has scored for Bayern, who now lead PSG 2-0.
Fernandes gets in behinfd Shaw, found by a decent pass from Golovin, but Shaw is alert and slides in to cede a corner which United clear. They break, and Rashford slides a clever pass into the box for Lukaku when Herrera was free at the back post, and United have to make do with a corner.
United have played way better than they did in Basel, but there are similarities: chances spurned, opposition growing in confidence. And then Mata plays a careless square pass into his own box, Chalov laying back to Dzagoev and forcing Shaw to plough through ball and man. CSKA want a penalty, but that was an excellent challenge.
Pogba lifts a fine pass over the top for Lukaku, who allows it drop before pounding after it, hoping it'll stop. But it's always getting away from him - he ought to have hit it a-sap - and it ends up behind.
CSKA have been a bit better these last few minutes and Golovin slides a pass into Vitinho, buy Lindelof is alert and intercept.
First threat from CSKA, Golovin, who looked good when the teams met in Moscow, exchanging passes with Nababkin, zooming down the left and crossing well; Shaw needed to be alert to see the ball behind. And the corner then picked out Berezutski, who hooked a shot from behind his right buttock, consequently sending it high.
Apparently Celtic, who need to avoid losing by three goals to reach the Europa League, are getting a bit of a 0-0 doing off Anderlecht. But Brendan will surely rearrange them then tell us all how clever he is. In fact, maybe this is all a ruse to begin with.
Lovely from Rashford, who pulls down a ball and juggles it away from his man, then slips a pass through the middle for Lukaku only to get too much on it.
Olympiakos trail Juventus 1-0; that's the only other goal so far tonight, as CSKA have some tidy possession and Vitinho wafts a shot over the top.
More Luke Shaw! Pogba gets on the ball and slides a delicious pass into his stride, down the side of Fernandes; Shaw hares onto it and sends a cross into the box to meet the slide of Rashford, but gets just too much on it.
I should say that Akinfeev is having an absolute Friedel here; old Bradley was always brilliant against United.
United are stepping it up now after allowing CSKA plenty of time on the ball to begin with. They've punned them back for a while now and Rashford absolutely pastes Berezutski down the left before United work it back to the right. Valencia's cross then comes over and Shaw, who looks really good at wing-back, volleys hard into the ground and again Akinfeev shoves it out; Lukaku tries to force home from close range via scissors-kick, but again Akinfeev saves. United are surely going to score presently.
United really need a goal here, not for its own sake, but because they look so smooth and sharp in attack and need to keep the good vibes going.
Lovely from Mata, appearing wide on the left and extending a leg to cushion a long pass, Berbatov-style. He then feeds the ball into the box for Rashford, who opens his body and shoots early with his instep, across Akinfeev, who does very well to get down and palm the ball away. Nice tackle all round.
Berezutski jumps with Rashford and cracks him upside the head.
Dzagoev shoots from distance; Romero collects comfortably.
Bayern have taken the lead against PSG, Robert Lewandowski the scorer. They need to win by loads to grab top spot, though.
Lukaku finds Rashford, and he just about finds Mata who's wandered infield. He does well to turn and poke Valencia in - his shot is blocked behind. Then, from the corner, the ball bounces up awkwardly in front of Blind, who does brilliantly to crouch and throw up a leg to almost shoulder-height, clattering a shot into Berezutski.
Bad news for CSKA: Basel have taken the lead away to Benfica.
United look really confident in attack. It's taken a while, but Mourinho might now have the formation which best suits not only the players that he has, but his best players. They're playing with so much freedom now.
Pogba sends a pass down the line for Lukaku, who swivels into a cross that Ignashevic misses, allowing Shaw a shot ... and the ball cracks into the nearest shin.
And there's Lukaku again! He gathers possession deep and central, looks up, and slides a lovely ball into Rashford's path, putting him on goal! Rashford looks up and whips a left-footed finish across Akinfeev, but doesn't connect quite true, and the ball skips into the post! Nine without a goal for him.
So the rest of this United team, then. Lukaku, presumably, is there to try and play himself back into scoring form - he could do with some goals, though he's played deft and key roles in three lovely goals over the last seven days. Herrera probably has a chance to play himself into the team for Sunday, given the absence of Pogba - he's been rubbish this season, but on the other hand, United don't have options.
CSKA start aggressively, pressing United high up the pitch.
CSKA get us away, in front of a less than full Old Trafford.
I should also note that Henrikh Mkhitaryan isn't even in the United squad. And he can't have too many complaints about that - he just doesn't do enough when conditions aren't ideal, and has an appallingly low bottom level for a player of his talent. If he has a bad game, he doesn't cover it by putting a shift in.
Eventually they do without, and off we pootte.
Someone's forgotten to press play on the Champions League anthem. You know the words anyway, so off you go.
Ce sont les meilleures équipes
Es sind die allerbesten Mannschaften
The main event
Les grandes équipes
Une grande réunion
Eine grosse sportliche Veranstaltung
The main event
Les grandes équipes
Ils sont les meilleurs
Sie sind die Besten
These are the champions
Les grandes équipes
Out they come!
Nickname of the day:
Mourinho says he's only left out players who need leaving out because they're injured. He doesn't want players - Luke Shaw - to think that it's now or never and he doesn't have an amazing game, there's no second chance; "it's not an exam". He wants his players to focus on the team, not their personal opportunity.
Rojo is rested - they'd thought about leaving him out at Arsenal, but didn't have a choice because of other injuries.
"He's a good passer, but his biggest strength is his legs." Steven Gerrard there, failing to notice that Paul Pogba is quite good at the thinking stuff he was less good at.
Luke Shaw, then. He really should be a player, but he can't have too many chances left at United, if any. I'm sure Mourinho would gladly loz him off - the question is whether anyone will pay enough money, and whether United have money for a replacement.
This may, of course, be nonsense, and the formation just happens to suit the players who need games. But my suspicion is that Mourinho wants his players to become expert in its practice.
As far as United's XI goes, the headline news will probably be how strong it is, and who's in it, but "for me", the thing it suggests is that they now play 3-5-2.
Who needs what:
Manchester United will qualify in top spot if they draw against CSKA Moscow at Old Trafford tonight.
If United lose to CSKA and Basel do not win, United and CSKA go through with first place determined by head-to-head results, i.e. provided United do not lose by four goals, they'll win the group.
If CSKA and Basel win: the top two will be decided in a three-way head-to-head. Again, provided United do not lose by four goals, they'll win the group.
Basel will qualify if they get a better result than CSKA, or if both teams draw or lose, due to their superior head-to-head.
CSKA must win more points than Basel to ensure second place.
Ok, perhaps not, but artistic licence, yeah? And anyway, every opportunity to enjoy Jose Mourinho's merry band of carefree revellers is not to be missed.
Evening all and welcome to the greatest, most momentous match of all-time.