Manchester United were far from their best as they recorded a narrow 1-0 win over Benfica in their UEFA Champions League clash at Estadio da Luz on Wednesday.
Benfica 0 Manchester United 1
Svilar denies Matic in first half
Rashford free-kick forces keeper error
Luisao sent off late on
Three wins from three for United
Jose Mourinho’s side took their time to put pressure on Champions League debutant Mile Svilar, whose eventual mistake led to the only goal of the game in the second half.
The Eagles looked a different team from the one that was hammered 5-0 by Basel in matchday two, but they were unable to breach the opposition defence for a second match in a row.
The hosts made the better start as they looked energetic on the ball, making it difficult for United to settle down in Lisbon.
A strong run from Alex Grimaldo down the left flank on 15 minutes led to their first chance, but Eduardo Salvio fired well wide of the left post from 12 yards out after being picked out by his low cross.
Raul Jimenez found space for a shot from outside the box on the half-hour mark, but David De Gea was able to watch the ball sail well over the crossbar.
The visitors started to get a foothold in the contest and Marcus Rashford directed a header over at the back post from Daley Blind’s cross on the left in the 32nd minute, while Nemanja Matic tested teenager Svilar with a low shot four minutes later after collecting a throw-in on the left and surging into the box.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan should have done better when he broke away down the right on 42 minutes following a mistake from the home team, but the Armenian playmaker blasted wide of the near post from inside the area.
Ander Herrera looked to cap off a good move involving Rashford and Mkhitaryan on the left in the opening minute of the second half, but the Spanish midfielder steered his first-time shot well wide of the left post from just outside the box.
Rashford then hit a volley straight down the throat of Svilar from 20 yards out on 50 minutes, while Matic lashed a long-range effort a couple of feet over the target eight minutes later.
Rashford caused problems for the 18-year-old keeper with two in-swinging corners in quick succession that was just about dealt with, but the United youth product caught him out from a 65th-minute free-kick on the left that Svilar carried over the line as he back-peddled to catch the ball.
Substitute Anthony Martial forced Svilar into a low save at his near post on 79 minutes after skinning his marker on the left and running along the byline, while at the other end Ruben Dias squandered a glorious chance to equalise when he side-footed over at the near post from an 84th-minute corner.
Luisao received his marching orders in stoppage time for a poor challenge on substitute Scott McTominay, which earned the Brazilian defender a second yellow card.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) October 18, 2017