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Manchester United show steel as Rashford brings the finishing touch

Man United 2 CSKA Moscow 1

By Simon Peach

Manchester United came from behind to beat CSKA Moscow and top their Champions League group as Jose Mourinho's men took their unbeaten home run to a club record-equalling 40th match.

It always appeared a case of when rather than if United would progress to the last 16 for the first time since 2013-14, despite their winning start to Group A ending with the last-gasp defeat at Basel.

Not even Alan Dzagoev's controversial opener had the Old Trafford faithful concerned as only a record seven-goal defeat would deny United, who turned things around through quick-fire Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford goals to triumph 2-1.

Victory puts United among the group winners for the last 16 draw and saw them equal the club record of 40 successive home games without defeat ahead of Sunday's visit of runaway Premier League leaders Manchester City.

Mourinho's men dominated and were aggrieved to be behind at half-time, with many players claiming offside against Dzagoev as Vitinho's shot went home off his back.

It mattered little as Lukaku stayed strong to direct home a fine Paul Pogba pass, with Rashford keeping his cool to wrap up victory.

A subdued pre-match atmosphere was compounded by the accidental omission of the Champions League theme tune, but a bright start soon saw the volume inside Old Trafford rise.

Smart build-up play by Lukaku saw Rashford put behind the CSKA backline, with the forward's shot bobbling across goal and off the far post.

United continued to push and Juan Mata's exquisite control from a long ball brought the next chance, with Rashford denied by Igor Akinfeev.

The hosts were looking dangerous down the flanks and Luke Shaw was impressing on his first start in 219 days, the left-back seeing an acrobatic attempt denied.

Antonio Valencia saw half-hearted penalty appeals ignored as the first half petered out, only for CSKA to go ahead in controversial circumstances.

The Russians had failed to create a clear-cut opening but went in ahead after Mario Fernandes burst down the right to send in a cross for Vitinho to strike home off Dzagoev.

United were angered that offside was not called against Dzagoev, but officials appeared to point to off-the-field Daley Blind playing him on.

Rashford stung the keeper's palms when play resumed after half-time and his later free-kick took a deflection wide as United pushed for a leveller that arrived in the 64th minute.

Pogba sent a superb wedged ball over the top to Lukaku, who showed impressive strength to hold of Viktor Vasin and direct past Akinfeev.

Just 66 seconds later United were ahead. Rashford raced on to fire in a looped Mata pass.

The wind appeared to be taken out of CSKA's sails, although Sergio Romero had to be alert to deny Dzagoev late on.

Man United: Romero, Lindelof, Smalling, Blind, Valencia (Tuanzebe 72), Herrera (McTominay 66), Pogba, Shaw, Mata, Lukaku (Martial 74), Rashford.

Subs not used: Lingard, Young, Darmian, Castro Pereira.

CSKA Moscow: Akinfeev, Berezutski, Ignashevich, Vasin, Figueira Fernandes, Golovin, Kuchaev, Nababkin (Khosonov 90), Vitinho (Zhamaletdinov 82), Chalov (Gordyushenko 66), Dzagoev.

Subs not used: Pomazun, Makarov, Olanare.

Man of the match: Luke Shaw

Match rating: 8/10

Referee: Gianluca Rocchi (Italy)

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