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No Contest: Teenage Sensation Pulisic Wins U.S. Soccer Male Player of the Year

A year of defeat and discontent in American men’s soccer will be remembered for one good thing—the performance of the preternaturally gifted Christian Pulisic. The 19-year-old helped Borussia Dortmund win the German Cup, and he carried the U.S. national team at times during its doomed World Cup qualifying campaign. As a result, he was the easy choice—and really the only choice—for the U.S. Soccer Male Player of the Year award announced Thursday afternoon.

Pulisic won in an avalanche, earning a whopping 94% of the vote conducted by U.S. players, federation and pro coaches, and “select former players, administrators and media members.” He’s the youngest player in the award’s 34-year-history to win, eclipsing four-time honoree Landon Donovan, who won it for the first time at 21.

"It's definitely a big honor for me. I just could never imagine being here so soon," Pulisic told Fox as his win was announced.

Pulisic’s resume was unimpeachable. He tallied six goals and four assists in nine national team appearances (eight of which were qualifiers). The USA scored 17 goals across those nine games and Pulisic was involved in 13 of them, highlighting his indispensability. His strike in a moribund Hexagonal finale in Trinidad, which eliminated the USA from next summer’s World Cup, was symbolic of his ability to rise to an occasion while so many around him struggled.

Asked how he felt following that defeat, Pulisic said Thursday he was "destroyed," adding, "It was my biggest dream. Everything I wanted to do was go to the World Cup, and obviously for me it was just a huge disappointment we couldn't do it."

Regarding his status as a teenager who is already a national team linchpin, Pulisic told Fox, "It's something that I've had to deal with at a young age. I'm kind of coming to terms with it, where I stand with the team and in the U.S. It's something I'm definitely still learning through. I have the best people to help me through it."

He wasn’t as vital at Dortmund, but he certainly was effective. Among his three goals in the spring was the go-ahead tally against Benfica in the UEFA Champions League round-of-16, and he earned the penalty kick that lifted BVB to win over Eintracht Frankfurt in the DFB Pokal final. Pulisic kicked off the 2017-18 club campaign with a goal against Bayern Munich in the DFL Supercup, and he’s added two more in Bundesliga play.

The other finalists were last year’s winner, Jozy Altidore, along with Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey and Jordan Morris, whose late game-winning goal against Jamaica in the CONCACAF Gold Cup final was overshadowed by the ensuing World Cup disaster.

Pulisic, who won the Young Male Player of the Year award in 2016, becomes the 24th man to win American soccer’s highest annual individual honor. The rest:

1984—Rick Davis

1985—Perry Van der Beck

1986—Paul Caligiuri

1987—Brent Goulet

1988—Peter Vermes

1989—Mike Windischmann

1990—Tab Ramos

1991—Hugo Perez

1992—Marcelo Balboa

1993—Thomas Dooley

1994—Marcelo Balboa

1995—Alexi Lalas

1996—Eric Wynalda

1997—Kasey Keller

1998—Cobi Jones

1999—Kasey Keller

2000—Chris Armas

2001—Earnie Stewart

2002—Brad Friedel

2003—Landon Donovan

2004—Landon Donovan

2005—Kasey Keller

2006—Oguchi Onyewu

2007—Clint Dempsey

2008—Tim Howard

2009—Landon Donovan

2010—Landon Donovan

2011—Clint Dempsey

2012—Clint Dempsey

2013—Jozy Altidore

2014—Tim Howard

2015—Michael Bradley

2016—Jozy Altidore

Champions League - Manchester United vs S.L. Benfica

Soccer Football - Champions League - Manchester United vs S.L. Benfica - Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - October 31, 2017 Benfica's Pizzi in action with Manchester United's Eric Bailly Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff

Matic reveals how Aimar and Saviola made him a £40m holding midfielder

The Serbia international, who is now on the books at Manchester United, admits that he was forced out of an attacking berth during his time at Benfica

Matic reveals how Aimar and Saviola made him a £40m holding midfielder

The Serbia international, who is now on the books at Manchester United, admits that he was forced out of an attacking berth during his time at Benfica

Matic reveals how Aimar and Saviola made him a £40m holding midfielder

The Serbia international, who is now on the books at Manchester United, admits that he was forced out of an attacking berth during his time at Benfica

Matic reveals how Aimar and Saviola made him a £40m holding midfielder

The Serbia international, who is now on the books at Manchester United, admits that he was forced out of an attacking berth during his time at Benfica

Matic reveals how Aimar and Saviola made him a £40m holding midfielder

The Serbia international, who is now on the books at Manchester United, admits that he was forced out of an attacking berth during his time at Benfica

Lisbon (Portugal), 09/12/2017.- SL Benfica´s Pizzi (L) in action against goalkeeper Jose Moreira of Estoril Praia during their Portuguese First League soccer match held at Luz stadium, Lisbon, Portugal, 09 December 2017. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/JOSE SENA GOULAO

Lisbon (Portugal), 09/12/2017.- SL Benfica´s Grimaldo (R) in action against Abner of Estoril Praia during their Portuguese First League soccer match held at Luz stadium, Lisbon, Portugal, 09 December 2017. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/JOSE SENA GOULAO

Lisbon (Portugal), 09/12/2017.- SL Benfica's Krovinovic (C-L) celebrates a goal during their Portuguese First League soccer match against Estoril Praia held at Luz stadium, Lisbon, Portugal, 09 December 2017. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/JOSE SENA GOULAO

Lisbon (Portugal), 09/12/2017.- SL Benfica's Krovinovic celebrates a goal during their Portuguese First League soccer match against Estoril Praia held at Luz stadium, Lisbon, Portugal, 09 December 2017. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/JOSE SENA GOULAO

Lisbon (Portugal), 09/12/2017.- SL Benfica´s Eduardo Salvio (R) in action against Joel of Estoril Praia during their Portuguese First League soccer match held at Luz stadium, Lisbon, Portugal, 09 December 2017. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/JOSE SENA GOULAO

Lisbon (Portugal), 09/12/2017.- Estoril Praia's Kleber (L) celebrates after scoring a goal during their Portuguese First League soccer match against Benfica held at Luz stadium, Lisbon, Portugal, 09 December 2017. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/JOSE SENA GOULAO

Lisbon (Portugal), 09/12/2017.- SL Benfica's Eduardo Salvio (L) in action against Joel of Estoril Praia during their Portuguese First League soccer match held at Luz stadium, Lisbon, Portugal, 09 December 2017. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/JOSE SENA GOULAO

Lisbon (Portugal), 09/12/2017.- SL Benfica's Eduardo Salvio scores a goal during their Portuguese First League soccer match against Estoril Praia held at Luz stadium, Lisbon, Portugal, 09 December 2017. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/JOSE SENA GOULAO

Lisbon (Portugal), 09/12/2017.- SL Benfica´s Jonas (R) in action against Halliche of Estoril Praia during their Portuguese First League soccer match held at Luz stadium, Lisbon, Portugal, 09 December 2017. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/JOSE SENA GOULAO

Lisbon (Portugal), 09/12/2017.- Benfica's Eduardo Salvio celebrates a goal during their Portuguese First League soccer match against Estoril Praia held at Luz stadium, Lisbon, Portugal, 09 December 2017. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/JOSE SENA GOULAO

Forget the great attacking players, David De Gea and Ederson are the secrets behind Manchester clubs' success

Between them, the two Manchester clubs that meet on Sunday have some of the greatest attacking footballers in the Premier League, and yet in their battle at the top it has been their two goalkeepers who have had such a fundamental role in results. For Manchester United, David De Gea is the league’s best goalkeeper, the club’s player of the year for three of the last four seasons, and yet, at 27, in his seventh season at Old Trafford, still a relatively low-profile Premier League superstar. More likely, post-save, to smooth his hair back into place than berate his defenders, he equalled the Premier League single-game saves record of 14 against Arsenal last weekend. For Manchester City, the imperfect replacement of Joe Hart with Claudio Bravo has been addressed by the arrival of the £35 million Brazilian Ederson Moraes, just 24. Ederson had previously just one full season as Benfica’s first choice, where his reputation for being able to play out from the back made him the ideal goalkeeper or, as Guardiola prefers to see the role, his hindmost playmaker. The more experienced of the two, De Gea is now arguably the world’s best in his position. Tony Coton, the former City first-choice goalkeeper between 1990 and 1996, later United goalkeeper coach, regards De Gea as the world’s best. Coton - whose new autobiography “There To Be Shot At” chronicles how the role has changed dramatically in the last two decades - says that De Gea is typical of a quicker, less physical prototype modern goalkeeper. “There is a very calm exterior to David and it is an exterior that says to his team-mates that he is control,” Coton told Telegraph Sport. “He gets his angles right all the time and he is not afraid to use whatever part of his body he need to keep the ball out, including his feet. To my mind he is the best in the world at the minute.” The most expensive game ever | Player transfer fees “Goalkeeping is totally different to the discipline I learned. Taking crosses has gone out the game. You don’t find attacking teams hanging the ball up in the area and goalkeepers having to come and take it. Now it is more about full-backs whipping balls into the box. Because of the pace and height of crosses, it is not expected that goalkeepers come and catch it every time it. De Gea makes saves with his feet and he distributes the ball as well as anyone. “He is also very good at standing up to attackers in on goal. In my era, Pat Jennings was the first to stay on his feet for as long as possible. When I coach I call that ‘transferring the pressure to the forward’. David does that. He does not commit himself. He makes the striker find a way of beating him. The shots that hit him, that’s not a bit of luck – that’s a save. De Gea is thought by many to be the best goalkeeper in the world Credit: reuters “The double save against Arsenal last weekend [from Alexandre Lacazette and then Alexis Sanchez] had a bit of everything. The first is a great save down to his right and then it is all about getting up as quickly as you can but David hasn’t got time to get himself into position. At this point he just has to throw his body at Sanchez’s shot.” The Watford goalkeeper coach Hugo Oliveira was at Benfica in 2015 when Ederson returned to the club from Rio Ave, having originally joined Benfica from Sao Paulo six years earlier. “We saw in him great potential,” Oliveira told Telegraph Sport. “The game is very different now – big teams like Benfica have to play with a very advanced defence and a lot of space between the back line and the goalkeeper. “We saw that Ederson had courage and a capacity to understand the offensive character of the game. A goalkeeper needs to be offensive-minded, not only when he has the ball but also when he does not. He has to cover the space as a sweeper.” Oliveira says that in the early stages there was a lot to work on with Ederson in how he “interpreted the game and what do in different moments”, and that he has also seen great development in the player under City goalkeeping coach Xabier Mancisidor. Manchester derby stats | How many people will watch on Sunday? Oliveira says: “It is important to a say that while he is very good offensive-minded player, he’s also an amazing goalkeeper. The main work is always to defend the goal. “It is interesting because away from the field, Ederson is very shy. He is very quiet. But during training and in the games he is like a bull. He has a lot of courage and he wants to be in the game. These days that is very important in goalkeepers. You cannot be afraid of playing the game. The game is so fast, it has such importance to society, each point is so valuable and one goal can make so much difference. To play as a goalkeeper to play nowadays is a demonstration of character and a lot of courage.”

Forget the great attacking players, David De Gea and Ederson are the secrets behind Manchester clubs' success

Between them, the two Manchester clubs that meet on Sunday have some of the greatest attacking footballers in the Premier League, and yet in their battle at the top it has been their two goalkeepers who have had such a fundamental role in results. For Manchester United, David De Gea is the league’s best goalkeeper, the club’s player of the year for three of the last four seasons, and yet, at 27, in his seventh season at Old Trafford, still a relatively low-profile Premier League superstar. More likely, post-save, to smooth his hair back into place than berate his defenders, he equalled the Premier League single-game saves record of 14 against Arsenal last weekend. For Manchester City, the imperfect replacement of Joe Hart with Claudio Bravo has been addressed by the arrival of the £35 million Brazilian Ederson Moraes, just 24. Ederson had previously just one full season as Benfica’s first choice, where his reputation for being able to play out from the back made him the ideal goalkeeper or, as Guardiola prefers to see the role, his hindmost playmaker. The more experienced of the two, De Gea is now arguably the world’s best in his position. Tony Coton, the former City first-choice goalkeeper between 1990 and 1996, later United goalkeeper coach, regards De Gea as the world’s best. Coton - whose new autobiography “There To Be Shot At” chronicles how the role has changed dramatically in the last two decades - says that De Gea is typical of a quicker, less physical prototype modern goalkeeper. “There is a very calm exterior to David and it is an exterior that says to his team-mates that he is control,” Coton told Telegraph Sport. “He gets his angles right all the time and he is not afraid to use whatever part of his body he need to keep the ball out, including his feet. To my mind he is the best in the world at the minute.” The most expensive game ever | Player transfer fees “Goalkeeping is totally different to the discipline I learned. Taking crosses has gone out the game. You don’t find attacking teams hanging the ball up in the area and goalkeepers having to come and take it. Now it is more about full-backs whipping balls into the box. Because of the pace and height of crosses, it is not expected that goalkeepers come and catch it every time it. De Gea makes saves with his feet and he distributes the ball as well as anyone. “He is also very good at standing up to attackers in on goal. In my era, Pat Jennings was the first to stay on his feet for as long as possible. When I coach I call that ‘transferring the pressure to the forward’. David does that. He does not commit himself. He makes the striker find a way of beating him. The shots that hit him, that’s not a bit of luck – that’s a save. De Gea is thought by many to be the best goalkeeper in the world Credit: reuters “The double save against Arsenal last weekend [from Alexandre Lacazette and then Alexis Sanchez] had a bit of everything. The first is a great save down to his right and then it is all about getting up as quickly as you can but David hasn’t got time to get himself into position. At this point he just has to throw his body at Sanchez’s shot.” The Watford goalkeeper coach Hugo Oliveira was at Benfica in 2015 when Ederson returned to the club from Rio Ave, having originally joined Benfica from Sao Paulo six years earlier. “We saw in him great potential,” Oliveira told Telegraph Sport. “The game is very different now – big teams like Benfica have to play with a very advanced defence and a lot of space between the back line and the goalkeeper. “We saw that Ederson had courage and a capacity to understand the offensive character of the game. A goalkeeper needs to be offensive-minded, not only when he has the ball but also when he does not. He has to cover the space as a sweeper.” Oliveira says that in the early stages there was a lot to work on with Ederson in how he “interpreted the game and what do in different moments”, and that he has also seen great development in the player under City goalkeeping coach Xabier Mancisidor. Manchester derby stats | How many people will watch on Sunday? Oliveira says: “It is important to a say that while he is very good offensive-minded player, he’s also an amazing goalkeeper. The main work is always to defend the goal. “It is interesting because away from the field, Ederson is very shy. He is very quiet. But during training and in the games he is like a bull. He has a lot of courage and he wants to be in the game. These days that is very important in goalkeepers. You cannot be afraid of playing the game. The game is so fast, it has such importance to society, each point is so valuable and one goal can make so much difference. To play as a goalkeeper to play nowadays is a demonstration of character and a lot of courage.”

How Marina Granovskaia became Roman Abramovich's real 'Special One' at Chelsea

During a typical Roman Abramovich visit to London, he would have no hesitation in picking up the phone to the most powerful woman in football to find out whether or not she had a spare afternoon to help him find a present for a friend. These days Marina Granovskaia is just as likely to politely tell Chelsea owner Abramovich she does not have time to go shopping or ask one of her own personal assistants to deal with his request for a restaurant reservation.  In fact Granovskaia has less free time than ever, following the sudden departure of Michael Emenalo from his role as technical director, and has assumed even more responsibility at Stamford Bridge.  The 42-year-old’s workload may decrease slightly when Chelsea get round to replacing Emenalo, with either one or two appointments, but Granovskaia’s power has undoubtedly increased.  It is still the case that, ultimately, Abramovich makes all the decisions at Chelsea, but there is only one person who works out of the club that he speaks to on a daily basis.  Over the course of 24 hours, Abramovich may go from discussing Chelsea’s next big-money transfer target with Granovskaia to which young player is impressing in the academy to where he would like to eat on his next visit to London.  Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has come to rely on Marina Granovskaia Credit:  Getty Images In a business-sense, it is an unconventional relationship, but it is one of the most successful in European football and has gone from strength to strength over the past 20 years since Granovskaia graduated from Moscow State University.  Having started work for Abramovich in 1997 at Sibneft, the oil company he then owned, Granovskaia moved to England shortly after he bought Chelsea in 2003.  Her role then was to set up Abramovich’s office in London and there was no initial plan for Granovskaia to work for Chelsea. But quickly she was booking tickets and organizing boxes for the owner’s guests, and, as she made more contacts, so her influence grew.  Not tied down to the pre-conceived ideas and prejudices of some football boardrooms, Abramovich asked Granovskaia’s opinion on more football-related matters and the pair started to discuss the team.  Chelsea insiders believe 2009 marked a turning point in Granovskaia’s input at Chelsea. Didier Drogba looked to be heading out of the club, following a turbulent season in which he had been dropped by Luiz Felipe Scolari and earned a European ban after clashing with referee Tom Henning Ovrebo at the end of the Champions League semi-final defeat to Barcelona.  Not everybody inside Stamford Bridge wanted Drogba to stay, but Granovskaia was adamant the striker should be given a new contract and put her head on the block by promising she would take responsibility for any subsequent bad behaviour from the Ivorian.  Marina Granovskaia with Didier Drogba, plus Salomon Kalou and Michael Emenalo, in 2010 - she had been instrumental in securing the striker a new contract Credit:  Hugh Hastings / Chelsea FC Drogba signed a new three-year contract, during which time he helped Chelsea win a Premier League and FA Cup double and scored the winning penalty in the Champions League final success against Bayern Munich.  From that moment on, Granovskaia took the lead on football decisions and she clinched the deals to sign Fernando Torres for £50million from Liverpool and David Luiz from Benfica.  She joined the Chelsea FC plc and Football Club boards in 2013 and has been in charge of Chelsea’s transfers ever since, also negotiating contracts for first-team and academy players, as well as organising the club’s loan army.  Club lawyers believe Granovskaia was responsible for 120 contracts, across all age groups, during the summer. Taking into account meetings with clubs, players, agents and parents, it is conservative to estimate that she will have conducted over 500 negotiations.  Marina Granovskaia's negotiations with Eden Hazard over a new contract in 2015 were just one of hundreds she has completed at Chelsea Credit: Chelsea FC January will be a quieter time, but Granovskaia has already started meeting agents and clubs to line up deals.  In the early days of the Abramovich era, Chelsea would simply ask ‘how much?’ when it came to trying to sign players, but Granovskaia has helped change the old money-talks philosophy.  She prides herself on trying to beat rivals to signings without having to pay more and she is renowned for walking away from deals when the asking price is too high. Those close to Granovskaia, a dual Russian and Canadian national who speaks several languages, also insist she never swears - not in English anyway.  One agent told Telegraph Sport: “With Marina, no means no which is actually quite rare in football. No can often mean ‘let’s have 20 more meetings and eventually settle on a price’. But when she says no, you don’t hear from her again.”  Granovskaia and Chelsea simply walked away when Juventus demanded upwards of £70million for Alex Sandro during a summer transfer window that has been heavily scrutinised by fans and pundits.  Chelsea walked away from a deal to sign Juventus' Alex Sandro after being quoted too high a price Credit:  Action Plus There is an acceptance within the club that not everything went to plan, but there is recognition that Chelsea have remained competitive at the top end of the Premier League while also qualifying for the knockout stages of the Champions League.  Record signing Alvaro Morata has started his Chelsea career superbly, the club are convinced Tiemoue Bakayoko and Danny Drinkwater will more than make up for the sale of Nemanja Matic, and Antonio Rudiger and Davide Zappacosta have strengthened Conte’s squad.  Issues remaining from the summer may be addressed in the January transfer window. Chelsea are hunting for a left-back, with Sandro still on their radar, a striker and retain a strong interest in signing midfielder Ross Barkley from Everton.  The success of former Chelsea players, Kevin De Bruyne at Manchester City, Mohamed Salah at Liverpool and Romelu Lukaku at Manchester United, has not prompted any inquests or finger pointing.  Chelsea had already started inserting buy-back clauses in deals before De Bruyne, Salah and Lukaku began the season so well, but the club will not start holding players against their wishes if they are not starting games under whoever is the manager at the time.  Powerbrokers | The women who broke football's glass ceiling Players such as Kurt Zouma and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who the club believe are good enough to make a mark on the first-team but are not part of the manager’s immediate plans, are encouraged to go out on loan rather than being sold.  But it is hard to keep international players happy while sending them out on loan year after year and Granovskaia must find a balance between what is right for the individual and what is in the best interests of the club.  There was an outcry when Granovskaia agreed to sell Juan Mata to Manchester United for £37.1million in 2014. But she weighed up the departure against the fact Chelsea had already brought in Eden Hazard for £32million and Willian for £25.5million, and decided the deal was a win-win, and so it has proved.  Hazard, along with his Belgian compatriot Thibaut Courtois, is one of the star players Granovskaia must convince that he does not need to move away from Chelsea to Real Madrid to achieve his personal ambitions. It could prove to be one of her biggest challenges, but there is no sense of panic.  Abramovich may have sacked Jose Mourinho twice, but with every departure and every change it becomes ever clearer who he really considers to be the Special One, and that is Granovskaia.

How Marina Granovskaia became Roman Abramovich's real 'Special One' at Chelsea

During a typical Roman Abramovich visit to London, he would have no hesitation in picking up the phone to the most powerful woman in football to find out whether or not she had a spare afternoon to help him find a present for a friend. These days Marina Granovskaia is just as likely to politely tell Chelsea owner Abramovich she does not have time to go shopping or ask one of her own personal assistants to deal with his request for a restaurant reservation.  In fact Granovskaia has less free time than ever, following the sudden departure of Michael Emenalo from his role as technical director, and has assumed even more responsibility at Stamford Bridge.  The 42-year-old’s workload may decrease slightly when Chelsea get round to replacing Emenalo, with either one or two appointments, but Granovskaia’s power has undoubtedly increased.  It is still the case that, ultimately, Abramovich makes all the decisions at Chelsea, but there is only one person who works out of the club that he speaks to on a daily basis.  Over the course of 24 hours, Abramovich may go from discussing Chelsea’s next big-money transfer target with Granovskaia to which young player is impressing in the academy to where he would like to eat on his next visit to London.  Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has come to rely on Marina Granovskaia Credit:  Getty Images In a business-sense, it is an unconventional relationship, but it is one of the most successful in European football and has gone from strength to strength over the past 20 years since Granovskaia graduated from Moscow State University.  Having started work for Abramovich in 1997 at Sibneft, the oil company he then owned, Granovskaia moved to England shortly after he bought Chelsea in 2003.  Her role then was to set up Abramovich’s office in London and there was no initial plan for Granovskaia to work for Chelsea. But quickly she was booking tickets and organizing boxes for the owner’s guests, and, as she made more contacts, so her influence grew.  Not tied down to the pre-conceived ideas and prejudices of some football boardrooms, Abramovich asked Granovskaia’s opinion on more football-related matters and the pair started to discuss the team.  Chelsea insiders believe 2009 marked a turning point in Granovskaia’s input at Chelsea. Didier Drogba looked to be heading out of the club, following a turbulent season in which he had been dropped by Luiz Felipe Scolari and earned a European ban after clashing with referee Tom Henning Ovrebo at the end of the Champions League semi-final defeat to Barcelona.  Not everybody inside Stamford Bridge wanted Drogba to stay, but Granovskaia was adamant the striker should be given a new contract and put her head on the block by promising she would take responsibility for any subsequent bad behaviour from the Ivorian.  Marina Granovskaia with Didier Drogba, plus Salomon Kalou and Michael Emenalo, in 2010 - she had been instrumental in securing the striker a new contract Credit:  Hugh Hastings / Chelsea FC Drogba signed a new three-year contract, during which time he helped Chelsea win a Premier League and FA Cup double and scored the winning penalty in the Champions League final success against Bayern Munich.  From that moment on, Granovskaia took the lead on football decisions and she clinched the deals to sign Fernando Torres for £50million from Liverpool and David Luiz from Benfica.  She joined the Chelsea FC plc and Football Club boards in 2013 and has been in charge of Chelsea’s transfers ever since, also negotiating contracts for first-team and academy players, as well as organising the club’s loan army.  Club lawyers believe Granovskaia was responsible for 120 contracts, across all age groups, during the summer. Taking into account meetings with clubs, players, agents and parents, it is conservative to estimate that she will have conducted over 500 negotiations.  Marina Granovskaia's negotiations with Eden Hazard over a new contract in 2015 were just one of hundreds she has completed at Chelsea Credit: Chelsea FC January will be a quieter time, but Granovskaia has already started meeting agents and clubs to line up deals.  In the early days of the Abramovich era, Chelsea would simply ask ‘how much?’ when it came to trying to sign players, but Granovskaia has helped change the old money-talks philosophy.  She prides herself on trying to beat rivals to signings without having to pay more and she is renowned for walking away from deals when the asking price is too high. Those close to Granovskaia, a dual Russian and Canadian national who speaks several languages, also insist she never swears - not in English anyway.  One agent told Telegraph Sport: “With Marina, no means no which is actually quite rare in football. No can often mean ‘let’s have 20 more meetings and eventually settle on a price’. But when she says no, you don’t hear from her again.”  Granovskaia and Chelsea simply walked away when Juventus demanded upwards of £70million for Alex Sandro during a summer transfer window that has been heavily scrutinised by fans and pundits.  Chelsea walked away from a deal to sign Juventus' Alex Sandro after being quoted too high a price Credit:  Action Plus There is an acceptance within the club that not everything went to plan, but there is recognition that Chelsea have remained competitive at the top end of the Premier League while also qualifying for the knockout stages of the Champions League.  Record signing Alvaro Morata has started his Chelsea career superbly, the club are convinced Tiemoue Bakayoko and Danny Drinkwater will more than make up for the sale of Nemanja Matic, and Antonio Rudiger and Davide Zappacosta have strengthened Conte’s squad.  Issues remaining from the summer may be addressed in the January transfer window. Chelsea are hunting for a left-back, with Sandro still on their radar, a striker and retain a strong interest in signing midfielder Ross Barkley from Everton.  The success of former Chelsea players, Kevin De Bruyne at Manchester City, Mohamed Salah at Liverpool and Romelu Lukaku at Manchester United, has not prompted any inquests or finger pointing.  Chelsea had already started inserting buy-back clauses in deals before De Bruyne, Salah and Lukaku began the season so well, but the club will not start holding players against their wishes if they are not starting games under whoever is the manager at the time.  Powerbrokers | The women who broke football's glass ceiling Players such as Kurt Zouma and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who the club believe are good enough to make a mark on the first-team but are not part of the manager’s immediate plans, are encouraged to go out on loan rather than being sold.  But it is hard to keep international players happy while sending them out on loan year after year and Granovskaia must find a balance between what is right for the individual and what is in the best interests of the club.  There was an outcry when Granovskaia agreed to sell Juan Mata to Manchester United for £37.1million in 2014. But she weighed up the departure against the fact Chelsea had already brought in Eden Hazard for £32million and Willian for £25.5million, and decided the deal was a win-win, and so it has proved.  Hazard, along with his Belgian compatriot Thibaut Courtois, is one of the star players Granovskaia must convince that he does not need to move away from Chelsea to Real Madrid to achieve his personal ambitions. It could prove to be one of her biggest challenges, but there is no sense of panic.  Abramovich may have sacked Jose Mourinho twice, but with every departure and every change it becomes ever clearer who he really considers to be the Special One, and that is Granovskaia.

How Marina Granovskaia became Roman Abramovich's real 'Special One' at Chelsea

During a typical Roman Abramovich visit to London, he would have no hesitation in picking up the phone to the most powerful woman in football to find out whether or not she had a spare afternoon to help him find a present for a friend. These days Marina Granovskaia is just as likely to politely tell Chelsea owner Abramovich she does not have time to go shopping or ask one of her own personal assistants to deal with his request for a restaurant reservation.  In fact Granovskaia has less free time than ever, following the sudden departure of Michael Emenalo from his role as technical director, and has assumed even more responsibility at Stamford Bridge.  The 42-year-old’s workload may decrease slightly when Chelsea get round to replacing Emenalo, with either one or two appointments, but Granovskaia’s power has undoubtedly increased.  It is still the case that, ultimately, Abramovich makes all the decisions at Chelsea, but there is only one person who works out of the club that he speaks to on a daily basis.  Over the course of 24 hours, Abramovich may go from discussing Chelsea’s next big-money transfer target with Granovskaia to which young player is impressing in the academy to where he would like to eat on his next visit to London.  Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has come to rely on Marina Granovskaia Credit:  Getty Images In a business-sense, it is an unconventional relationship, but it is one of the most successful in European football and has gone from strength to strength over the past 20 years since Granovskaia graduated from Moscow State University.  Having started work for Abramovich in 1997 at Sibneft, the oil company he then owned, Granovskaia moved to England shortly after he bought Chelsea in 2003.  Her role then was to set up Abramovich’s office in London and there was no initial plan for Granovskaia to work for Chelsea. But quickly she was booking tickets and organizing boxes for the owner’s guests, and, as she made more contacts, so her influence grew.  Not tied down to the pre-conceived ideas and prejudices of some football boardrooms, Abramovich asked Granovskaia’s opinion on more football-related matters and the pair started to discuss the team.  Chelsea insiders believe 2009 marked a turning point in Granovskaia’s input at Chelsea. Didier Drogba looked to be heading out of the club, following a turbulent season in which he had been dropped by Luiz Felipe Scolari and earned a European ban after clashing with referee Tom Henning Ovrebo at the end of the Champions League semi-final defeat to Barcelona.  Not everybody inside Stamford Bridge wanted Drogba to stay, but Granovskaia was adamant the striker should be given a new contract and put her head on the block by promising she would take responsibility for any subsequent bad behaviour from the Ivorian.  Marina Granovskaia with Didier Drogba, plus Salomon Kalou and Michael Emenalo, in 2010 - she had been instrumental in securing the striker a new contract Credit:  Hugh Hastings / Chelsea FC Drogba signed a new three-year contract, during which time he helped Chelsea win a Premier League and FA Cup double and scored the winning penalty in the Champions League final success against Bayern Munich.  From that moment on, Granovskaia took the lead on football decisions and she clinched the deals to sign Fernando Torres for £50million from Liverpool and David Luiz from Benfica.  She joined the Chelsea FC plc and Football Club boards in 2013 and has been in charge of Chelsea’s transfers ever since, also negotiating contracts for first-team and academy players, as well as organising the club’s loan army.  Club lawyers believe Granovskaia was responsible for 120 contracts, across all age groups, during the summer. Taking into account meetings with clubs, players, agents and parents, it is conservative to estimate that she will have conducted over 500 negotiations.  Marina Granovskaia's negotiations with Eden Hazard over a new contract in 2015 were just one of hundreds she has completed at Chelsea Credit: Chelsea FC January will be a quieter time, but Granovskaia has already started meeting agents and clubs to line up deals.  In the early days of the Abramovich era, Chelsea would simply ask ‘how much?’ when it came to trying to sign players, but Granovskaia has helped change the old money-talks philosophy.  She prides herself on trying to beat rivals to signings without having to pay more and she is renowned for walking away from deals when the asking price is too high. Those close to Granovskaia, a dual Russian and Canadian national who speaks several languages, also insist she never swears - not in English anyway.  One agent told Telegraph Sport: “With Marina, no means no which is actually quite rare in football. No can often mean ‘let’s have 20 more meetings and eventually settle on a price’. But when she says no, you don’t hear from her again.”  Granovskaia and Chelsea simply walked away when Juventus demanded upwards of £70million for Alex Sandro during a summer transfer window that has been heavily scrutinised by fans and pundits.  Chelsea walked away from a deal to sign Juventus' Alex Sandro after being quoted too high a price Credit:  Action Plus There is an acceptance within the club that not everything went to plan, but there is recognition that Chelsea have remained competitive at the top end of the Premier League while also qualifying for the knockout stages of the Champions League.  Record signing Alvaro Morata has started his Chelsea career superbly, the club are convinced Tiemoue Bakayoko and Danny Drinkwater will more than make up for the sale of Nemanja Matic, and Antonio Rudiger and Davide Zappacosta have strengthened Conte’s squad.  Issues remaining from the summer may be addressed in the January transfer window. Chelsea are hunting for a left-back, with Sandro still on their radar, a striker and retain a strong interest in signing midfielder Ross Barkley from Everton.  The success of former Chelsea players, Kevin De Bruyne at Manchester City, Mohamed Salah at Liverpool and Romelu Lukaku at Manchester United, has not prompted any inquests or finger pointing.  Chelsea had already started inserting buy-back clauses in deals before De Bruyne, Salah and Lukaku began the season so well, but the club will not start holding players against their wishes if they are not starting games under whoever is the manager at the time.  Powerbrokers | The women who broke football's glass ceiling Players such as Kurt Zouma and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who the club believe are good enough to make a mark on the first-team but are not part of the manager’s immediate plans, are encouraged to go out on loan rather than being sold.  But it is hard to keep international players happy while sending them out on loan year after year and Granovskaia must find a balance between what is right for the individual and what is in the best interests of the club.  There was an outcry when Granovskaia agreed to sell Juan Mata to Manchester United for £37.1million in 2014. But she weighed up the departure against the fact Chelsea had already brought in Eden Hazard for £32million and Willian for £25.5million, and decided the deal was a win-win, and so it has proved.  Hazard, along with his Belgian compatriot Thibaut Courtois, is one of the star players Granovskaia must convince that he does not need to move away from Chelsea to Real Madrid to achieve his personal ambitions. It could prove to be one of her biggest challenges, but there is no sense of panic.  Abramovich may have sacked Jose Mourinho twice, but with every departure and every change it becomes ever clearer who he really considers to be the Special One, and that is Granovskaia.

How Marina Granovskaia became Roman Abramovich's real 'Special One' at Chelsea

During a typical Roman Abramovich visit to London, he would have no hesitation in picking up the phone to the most powerful woman in football to find out whether or not she had a spare afternoon to help him find a present for a friend. These days Marina Granovskaia is just as likely to politely tell Chelsea owner Abramovich she does not have time to go shopping or ask one of her own personal assistants to deal with his request for a restaurant reservation.  In fact Granovskaia has less free time than ever, following the sudden departure of Michael Emenalo from his role as technical director, and has assumed even more responsibility at Stamford Bridge.  The 42-year-old’s workload may decrease slightly when Chelsea get round to replacing Emenalo, with either one or two appointments, but Granovskaia’s power has undoubtedly increased.  It is still the case that, ultimately, Abramovich makes all the decisions at Chelsea, but there is only one person who works out of the club that he speaks to on a daily basis.  Over the course of 24 hours, Abramovich may go from discussing Chelsea’s next big-money transfer target with Granovskaia to which young player is impressing in the academy to where he would like to eat on his next visit to London.  Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has come to rely on Marina Granovskaia Credit:  Getty Images In a business-sense, it is an unconventional relationship, but it is one of the most successful in European football and has gone from strength to strength over the past 20 years since Granovskaia graduated from Moscow State University.  Having started work for Abramovich in 1997 at Sibneft, the oil company he then owned, Granovskaia moved to England shortly after he bought Chelsea in 2003.  Her role then was to set up Abramovich’s office in London and there was no initial plan for Granovskaia to work for Chelsea. But quickly she was booking tickets and organizing boxes for the owner’s guests, and, as she made more contacts, so her influence grew.  Not tied down to the pre-conceived ideas and prejudices of some football boardrooms, Abramovich asked Granovskaia’s opinion on more football-related matters and the pair started to discuss the team.  Chelsea insiders believe 2009 marked a turning point in Granovskaia’s input at Chelsea. Didier Drogba looked to be heading out of the club, following a turbulent season in which he had been dropped by Luiz Felipe Scolari and earned a European ban after clashing with referee Tom Henning Ovrebo at the end of the Champions League semi-final defeat to Barcelona.  Not everybody inside Stamford Bridge wanted Drogba to stay, but Granovskaia was adamant the striker should be given a new contract and put her head on the block by promising she would take responsibility for any subsequent bad behaviour from the Ivorian.  Marina Granovskaia with Didier Drogba, plus Salomon Kalou and Michael Emenalo, in 2010 - she had been instrumental in securing the striker a new contract Credit:  Hugh Hastings / Chelsea FC Drogba signed a new three-year contract, during which time he helped Chelsea win a Premier League and FA Cup double and scored the winning penalty in the Champions League final success against Bayern Munich.  From that moment on, Granovskaia took the lead on football decisions and she clinched the deals to sign Fernando Torres for £50million from Liverpool and David Luiz from Benfica.  She joined the Chelsea FC plc and Football Club boards in 2013 and has been in charge of Chelsea’s transfers ever since, also negotiating contracts for first-team and academy players, as well as organising the club’s loan army.  Club lawyers believe Granovskaia was responsible for 120 contracts, across all age groups, during the summer. Taking into account meetings with clubs, players, agents and parents, it is conservative to estimate that she will have conducted over 500 negotiations.  Marina Granovskaia's negotiations with Eden Hazard over a new contract in 2015 were just one of hundreds she has completed at Chelsea Credit: Chelsea FC January will be a quieter time, but Granovskaia has already started meeting agents and clubs to line up deals.  In the early days of the Abramovich era, Chelsea would simply ask ‘how much?’ when it came to trying to sign players, but Granovskaia has helped change the old money-talks philosophy.  She prides herself on trying to beat rivals to signings without having to pay more and she is renowned for walking away from deals when the asking price is too high. Those close to Granovskaia, a dual Russian and Canadian national who speaks several languages, also insist she never swears - not in English anyway.  One agent told Telegraph Sport: “With Marina, no means no which is actually quite rare in football. No can often mean ‘let’s have 20 more meetings and eventually settle on a price’. But when she says no, you don’t hear from her again.”  Granovskaia and Chelsea simply walked away when Juventus demanded upwards of £70million for Alex Sandro during a summer transfer window that has been heavily scrutinised by fans and pundits.  Chelsea walked away from a deal to sign Juventus' Alex Sandro after being quoted too high a price Credit:  Action Plus There is an acceptance within the club that not everything went to plan, but there is recognition that Chelsea have remained competitive at the top end of the Premier League while also qualifying for the knockout stages of the Champions League.  Record signing Alvaro Morata has started his Chelsea career superbly, the club are convinced Tiemoue Bakayoko and Danny Drinkwater will more than make up for the sale of Nemanja Matic, and Antonio Rudiger and Davide Zappacosta have strengthened Conte’s squad.  Issues remaining from the summer may be addressed in the January transfer window. Chelsea are hunting for a left-back, with Sandro still on their radar, a striker and retain a strong interest in signing midfielder Ross Barkley from Everton.  The success of former Chelsea players, Kevin De Bruyne at Manchester City, Mohamed Salah at Liverpool and Romelu Lukaku at Manchester United, has not prompted any inquests or finger pointing.  Chelsea had already started inserting buy-back clauses in deals before De Bruyne, Salah and Lukaku began the season so well, but the club will not start holding players against their wishes if they are not starting games under whoever is the manager at the time.  Powerbrokers | The women who broke football's glass ceiling Players such as Kurt Zouma and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who the club believe are good enough to make a mark on the first-team but are not part of the manager’s immediate plans, are encouraged to go out on loan rather than being sold.  But it is hard to keep international players happy while sending them out on loan year after year and Granovskaia must find a balance between what is right for the individual and what is in the best interests of the club.  There was an outcry when Granovskaia agreed to sell Juan Mata to Manchester United for £37.1million in 2014. But she weighed up the departure against the fact Chelsea had already brought in Eden Hazard for £32million and Willian for £25.5million, and decided the deal was a win-win, and so it has proved.  Hazard, along with his Belgian compatriot Thibaut Courtois, is one of the star players Granovskaia must convince that he does not need to move away from Chelsea to Real Madrid to achieve his personal ambitions. It could prove to be one of her biggest challenges, but there is no sense of panic.  Abramovich may have sacked Jose Mourinho twice, but with every departure and every change it becomes ever clearer who he really considers to be the Special One, and that is Granovskaia.

How Marina Granovskaia became Roman Abramovich's real 'Special One' at Chelsea

During a typical Roman Abramovich visit to London, he would have no hesitation in picking up the phone to the most powerful woman in football to find out whether or not she had a spare afternoon to help him find a present for a friend. These days Marina Granovskaia is just as likely to politely tell Chelsea owner Abramovich she does not have time to go shopping or ask one of her own personal assistants to deal with his request for a restaurant reservation.  In fact Granovskaia has less free time than ever, following the sudden departure of Michael Emenalo from his role as technical director, and has assumed even more responsibility at Stamford Bridge.  The 42-year-old’s workload may decrease slightly when Chelsea get round to replacing Emenalo, with either one or two appointments, but Granovskaia’s power has undoubtedly increased.  It is still the case that, ultimately, Abramovich makes all the decisions at Chelsea, but there is only one person who works out of the club that he speaks to on a daily basis.  Over the course of 24 hours, Abramovich may go from discussing Chelsea’s next big-money transfer target with Granovskaia to which young player is impressing in the academy to where he would like to eat on his next visit to London.  Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has come to rely on Marina Granovskaia Credit:  Getty Images In a business-sense, it is an unconventional relationship, but it is one of the most successful in European football and has gone from strength to strength over the past 20 years since Granovskaia graduated from Moscow State University.  Having started work for Abramovich in 1997 at Sibneft, the oil company he then owned, Granovskaia moved to England shortly after he bought Chelsea in 2003.  Her role then was to set up Abramovich’s office in London and there was no initial plan for Granovskaia to work for Chelsea. But quickly she was booking tickets and organizing boxes for the owner’s guests, and, as she made more contacts, so her influence grew.  Not tied down to the pre-conceived ideas and prejudices of some football boardrooms, Abramovich asked Granovskaia’s opinion on more football-related matters and the pair started to discuss the team.  Chelsea insiders believe 2009 marked a turning point in Granovskaia’s input at Chelsea. Didier Drogba looked to be heading out of the club, following a turbulent season in which he had been dropped by Luiz Felipe Scolari and earned a European ban after clashing with referee Tom Henning Ovrebo at the end of the Champions League semi-final defeat to Barcelona.  Not everybody inside Stamford Bridge wanted Drogba to stay, but Granovskaia was adamant the striker should be given a new contract and put her head on the block by promising she would take responsibility for any subsequent bad behaviour from the Ivorian.  Marina Granovskaia with Didier Drogba, plus Salomon Kalou and Michael Emenalo, in 2010 - she had been instrumental in securing the striker a new contract Credit:  Hugh Hastings / Chelsea FC Drogba signed a new three-year contract, during which time he helped Chelsea win a Premier League and FA Cup double and scored the winning penalty in the Champions League final success against Bayern Munich.  From that moment on, Granovskaia took the lead on football decisions and she clinched the deals to sign Fernando Torres for £50million from Liverpool and David Luiz from Benfica.  She joined the Chelsea FC plc and Football Club boards in 2013 and has been in charge of Chelsea’s transfers ever since, also negotiating contracts for first-team and academy players, as well as organising the club’s loan army.  Club lawyers believe Granovskaia was responsible for 120 contracts, across all age groups, during the summer. Taking into account meetings with clubs, players, agents and parents, it is conservative to estimate that she will have conducted over 500 negotiations.  Marina Granovskaia's negotiations with Eden Hazard over a new contract in 2015 were just one of hundreds she has completed at Chelsea Credit: Chelsea FC January will be a quieter time, but Granovskaia has already started meeting agents and clubs to line up deals.  In the early days of the Abramovich era, Chelsea would simply ask ‘how much?’ when it came to trying to sign players, but Granovskaia has helped change the old money-talks philosophy.  She prides herself on trying to beat rivals to signings without having to pay more and she is renowned for walking away from deals when the asking price is too high. Those close to Granovskaia, a dual Russian and Canadian national who speaks several languages, also insist she never swears - not in English anyway.  One agent told Telegraph Sport: “With Marina, no means no which is actually quite rare in football. No can often mean ‘let’s have 20 more meetings and eventually settle on a price’. But when she says no, you don’t hear from her again.”  Granovskaia and Chelsea simply walked away when Juventus demanded upwards of £70million for Alex Sandro during a summer transfer window that has been heavily scrutinised by fans and pundits.  Chelsea walked away from a deal to sign Juventus' Alex Sandro after being quoted too high a price Credit:  Action Plus There is an acceptance within the club that not everything went to plan, but there is recognition that Chelsea have remained competitive at the top end of the Premier League while also qualifying for the knockout stages of the Champions League.  Record signing Alvaro Morata has started his Chelsea career superbly, the club are convinced Tiemoue Bakayoko and Danny Drinkwater will more than make up for the sale of Nemanja Matic, and Antonio Rudiger and Davide Zappacosta have strengthened Conte’s squad.  Issues remaining from the summer may be addressed in the January transfer window. Chelsea are hunting for a left-back, with Sandro still on their radar, a striker and retain a strong interest in signing midfielder Ross Barkley from Everton.  The success of former Chelsea players, Kevin De Bruyne at Manchester City, Mohamed Salah at Liverpool and Romelu Lukaku at Manchester United, has not prompted any inquests or finger pointing.  Chelsea had already started inserting buy-back clauses in deals before De Bruyne, Salah and Lukaku began the season so well, but the club will not start holding players against their wishes if they are not starting games under whoever is the manager at the time.  Powerbrokers | The women who broke football's glass ceiling Players such as Kurt Zouma and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who the club believe are good enough to make a mark on the first-team but are not part of the manager’s immediate plans, are encouraged to go out on loan rather than being sold.  But it is hard to keep international players happy while sending them out on loan year after year and Granovskaia must find a balance between what is right for the individual and what is in the best interests of the club.  There was an outcry when Granovskaia agreed to sell Juan Mata to Manchester United for £37.1million in 2014. But she weighed up the departure against the fact Chelsea had already brought in Eden Hazard for £32million and Willian for £25.5million, and decided the deal was a win-win, and so it has proved.  Hazard, along with his Belgian compatriot Thibaut Courtois, is one of the star players Granovskaia must convince that he does not need to move away from Chelsea to Real Madrid to achieve his personal ambitions. It could prove to be one of her biggest challenges, but there is no sense of panic.  Abramovich may have sacked Jose Mourinho twice, but with every departure and every change it becomes ever clearer who he really considers to be the Special One, and that is Granovskaia.

Texas-native Parks signs new Benfica deal

Weeks after making his first team debut with the Portuguese giants, the 20-year-old midfielder signed a deal to keep him at the club until 2022

Texas-native Parks signs new Benfica deal

Texas-native Parks signs new Benfica deal

Texas-native Parks signs new Benfica deal

Texas-native Parks signs new Benfica deal

Texas-native Parks signs new Benfica deal

Weeks after making his first team debut with the Portuguese giants, the 20-year-old midfielder signed a deal to keep him at the club until 2022

US youngster signs new deal at Benfica

Texas native extends his deal at Portuguese giants.

US youngster signs new deal at Benfica

Texas native extends his deal at Portuguese giants.

US youngster signs new deal at Benfica

Texas native extends his deal at Portuguese giants.

US youngster signs new deal at Benfica

Texas native extends his deal at Portuguese giants.

US youngster signs new deal at Benfica

Texas native extends his deal at Portuguese giants.

Man Utd 2 CSKA Moscow 1: United top their group as Marcus Rashford completes comeback

It remains to be seen whether Manchester United derive any benefit from winning their Champions League group. Real Madrid, the ­European champions, last season’s beaten finalists Juventus and Bayern Munich, all of whom have finished second in their respective groups, could lie in store when the draw for the round of 16 is made on Monday.  But that is a matter for another day. For now, all focus turns to Sunday’s derby against Manchester City and, while Jose Mourinho was happy with how United warmed up for a potentially defining game in the Premier League title race by coming from behind to beat CSKA Moscow and equal a club record 40 games unbeaten at Old Trafford, he was less amused by Pep Guardiola’s perceived mind games.  The City manager had suggested earlier in the day that David Silva was a doubt for the derby but, having heard Arsene Wenger say something similar about Alexandre Lacazette only for the striker to appear for Arsenal against United last weekend, Mourinho was not buying Guardiola’s claims for a minute.  It says a lot about how civil relations have been between Mourinho and Guardiola in Manchester that those remarks are about the closest things have come to a whiff of animosity, but the Portuguese has enough selection headaches of his own to contend with without trying to second guess his counterpart’s every move.  CSKA may not be up to much – defeat here consigned them to the Europa League as Basel took second spot in Group A – but Paul Pogba underlined just how big a loss his absence through suspension will be in midfield for United, especially as Mourinho said Nemanja Matic will be asked to play through injury against City.  Luke Shaw was impressive on his return to first team action Credit: AFP It is uncertain United have another player who can, at will, produce the sort of sumptuous pass that Pogba provided for Romelu Lukaku to claim only his second goal in 13 matches, cancelling out Alan Dzagoev’s fortuitous first-half goal in the process and kick-starting a 66-second fightback that rubber-stamped top spot in Group A. But at least Mourinho has Lukaku back among the goals.  Mourinho suggested that mattered less to him than the player, but it was a welcome fillip for the Belgium striker, even if his all-around performance, like against Arsenal, hardly pointed to a crisis of confidence. Mourinho will certainly hope Lukaku leads the line with the same sort of gusto he did against the Russians.  Marcus Rashford was just as lively here, and although there are no guarantees he will start against City after losing ground to Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard of late, this was a performance full of cunning and running from the England forward, who also claimed the winner with his first goal in 10 games.  Despite resting a posse of players for the derby, there was still no space in the squad for Henrikh Mkhitaryan, with the Armenian nowhere to be seen for the fifth time in six matches, although there was a spot for another outcast.  This was Luke Shaw’s first start for United for seven months and his first appearance in the Champions League since he suffered a double leg break in September 2015 that has wreaked havoc with his career since. But if he is to turn things around at United, this was a good place to start.  He might have done a little better for CSKA’s goal, but he got forward with pace and purpose, drew a fine save in the first half and, with a little more composure, might have teed up Rashford for a goal only to over-hit his pass after a surging run into the penalty area.  By the end, even Mourinho – his harshest critic – was glowing in his praise. United had been so dominant in that opening period, with Rashford also hitting a post, that it was a surprise to most to see CSKA take the lead, and in slightly unusual circumstances. Shaw had failed to track Mario Fernandes’s run and Daley Blind could not prevent the CSKA wing-back from pulling the ball back for Vitinho, whose shot was heading wide only for it to bounce in off the back of Dzagoev.  Man Utd vs CSKA Moscow shots on goal Dzagoev initially looked offside but Blind, who had slid off the pitch trying and failing to thwart Fernandes, was still correctly deemed active and so the goal stood. Indeed, the rules state that “a defending player who leaves the field of play without the referee’s permission shall be considered to be on the goal line or touchline for the purposes of offside until the next stoppage in play”.  It was fanciful to think CSKA could hold on to their lead, though, and within a quick burst midway through the second period, they went from being in front to trailing. Anyone doubting how badly Pogba will be missed against City need only watch his involvement for the first goal. Picking up a pass from Chris Smalling 30 yards from CSKA’s goal, he curled a delicious left-footed pass into the penalty area for Lukaku to attack. It was the sort of ball that is a nightmare to defend but which strikers thrive upon and Lukaku reacted quickest, holding off Viktor Vasin to steer a controlled left-footed volley past Igor Akinfeev.  Man Utd 1 - 1 CSKA Moscow (Romelu Lukaku, 64 min) One became two soon after and again the finish was exemplary. Lukaku flicked on a long ball, Rashford gave chase, the ball bounced off Vasin to Juan Mata, who lobbed a pass over the top of CSKA’s two defenders and into the path of Rashford, who drilled his shot beautifully into the far corner. It is 51 years since United last went 40 games undefeated at home. All Mourinho cares about for now, though, is beating City on Sunday.  Man Utd 2 - 1 CSKA Moscow (Marcus Rashford, 66 min) 10:02PM Jose Mourinho post-match "We confirm the way we want to confirm, playing well, having a result. At half time we were losing but playing well, I was not unhappy at all, we had a strong reaction, played professionally. "If I could choose goalscorers I would always choose the strikers because their confidence sometimes depends on that. Lukaku I think his work for the team is... pftt... crazy.  "Other guys not playing so much, Luke Shaw offensively was very good. I'm really happy. "He was waiting for quite a long time, it's not easy to give an opportunity to a player who hasn't played for many months. I wanted to make changes but changes in players who need a change, he managed to stay on for 90 minutes. I told him it's not a test and honestly I am happy with his performance." 9:48PM Pogba's flash of skill �� Behave Paul Pogba �� Outrageous piece of skill from the French star �� pic.twitter.com/104OqkzTbh— BT Sport Football (@btsportfootball) December 5, 2017   9:48PM Mata and Rashford reaction Marcus Rashford I think it's always a good feeling to get on the scoresheet but the the most important thing was to win and avoid any injuries ahead of the weekend. Juan Mata It's a new rule. We asked the referee but it counted so we have to be careful with that because it counts. It's important to win for your confidence level. Sunday is a big game, tomorrow we have day off we rest, hopefully it's a good game of football and we can get the three points. 9:41PM Average positions Average touch positions (0 min)   9:38PM The offside rule A defending player who leaves the field of play without the referee’s permission shall be considered to be on the goal line or touchline for the purposes of offside until the next stoppage in play or until the defending team has played the ball towards the halfway line and it is outside their penalty area. If the player left the field of play deliberately, the player must be cautioned when the ball is next out of play. Turns out I was rather wrong. Apologies to you, Mr Referee. 9:36PM FULL TIME United deserve their win and finish top of their group on merit. Luke Shaw had a great comeback and will surely be given chances in the coming weeks but Mourinho will be most pleased with the relative ease his players saw off this CSKA side, even if the finishing wasn't quite at the level he'll need it if United are to progress. Job done. From Russia with goalie gloves. 9:35PM 90 mins +2 Credit: GETTY IMAGES Credit: GETTY IMAGES CSKA have brought rather a few fans and none of them seem to mind it's cold. That is because it's Manchester cold and not Russia cold.  9:33PM 90 mins You can't say Man Utd haven't tried to extend their lead tonight: Man Utd vs CSKA Moscow shots on goal  Still just a little profligate. That was what worried Mourinho last season. 9:30PM 88 mins Rashford does well to skip away from a defender at the halfway line and break to the penalty area but when he gets there, his choice of final pass isn't quite good enough and CSKA can block the path.  9:27PM 85 mins And it's nearly 2-2! That's a really smart save by Romero! CSKA are somehow able to cut the defence open and very nearly grab a late equaliser. Update on the offside goal fiasco: Manchester United have turned it around and lead 2-1. The CSKA goal was correctly given. If a player leaves the field he’s deemed as being on the byline. I got it wrong at halftime so apologies and well played, referee.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) December 5, 2017   9:24PM 83 mins Martial goes down on the edge of the area, Rashford flicks the ball across the penalty area and the ref doesn't bring play back for a free-kick after the non-advantage. Another interesting decision. Vitinho - the goalscorer - comes off for Zhamaletdinov. 9:21PM 80 mins Man Utd's goals: 64' - Man United 1-1 CSKA Moscow 66' - Man United 2-1 CSKA Moscow You wait 64 minutes for a goal and two come along in 66 seconds... Lukaku and Rashford fire United ahead ��⚪️ pic.twitter.com/9KdygkJ5ku— BT Sport Football (@btsportfootball) December 5, 2017   9:20PM 79 mins Luke Shaw has gone down with what may well be cramp. He hasn't played any football this season so that's to be expected and to be fair, Shaw has been excellent tonight, if we ignore the momentary lapse in concentration that led to CSKA's non-goal-that-was. 9:17PM 76 mins McTominay is booked straight away with a late, lunging tackle, earning valuable XP in the process. You can't do that in the Champions League, young Scott. Lukaku comes off for Martial and will sleep well tonight after that goal. Mourinho gives him a hug as he comes off and is sent straight to the changing room to join Antonio Valencia. Mourinho's already getting his players prepared for the derby on Sunday. Pogba hits a shot from miles away but misses the target.  Wayne Rooney is watching in the crowd. Eagle eyes from the BT Sport camerapeople! 9:14PM 73 mins Axel Tuanzebe is getting warmed up on the touchline. Mata is able to outsprint Berezutski on the left... Valencia is taken off for the final 20 minutes in place of Tuanzebe, handing the captain's armband to Chris Smalling.  9:11PM 70 mins Scott McTominay is on for Ander Herrera. This game has completely changed in three minutes. How bizarre. FC Basel are 2-0 up on Benfica just now so it doesn't even really matter if CSKA do get back into this one. Pogba has just drawn the same reaction from the Old Trafford crowd as a firework gets. "Ooooohhhhhh!" they say collectively, as the Frenchman pulls off a wonderful bit of skill in the CSKA half. 9:08PM GOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLL! RASHFORD MAKES IT TWO! Man Utd 2 - 1 CSKA Moscow (Marcus Rashford, 66 min) CSKA get caught as Lukaku flicks on a long ball from Valencia, Mata weights a perfect looping pass back over to Rashford, and the forward waits for the ball to drop before powering a left-footed finish into the bottom corner. 9:07PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLL! Brilliant from Lukaku! What a finish that is!  Man Utd 1 - 1 CSKA Moscow (Romelu Lukaku, 64 min) The pass is stunning too. He controls, turns and sees the space ahead of Lukaku who holds off his man and executes a stretching, jumping, cushioned volleyed finish.  9:05PM 64 mins CSKA are camped in their own half - they can't get out! Pogba somehow manages to control a wild Lukaku first-time pass but CSKA do win the ball back and have a counter-attack chance on now... Blind heads away and now Rashford can run at goal. Mata finds Pogba, who plays it back to Mata, who switches to the right wing. Valencia looks for Lukaku but he doesn't get enough on his header and it's cleared. Shaw tracks back and wins another tackle. 9:02PM 61 mins RASHFORDDDDD hits the wall and the ball deflects behind for a corner. United work the ball around the final third, Rashford crosses it in and Akinfeev flaps at it. United keep the pressure up, Shaw finds Mata with a really intelligent first time pass and then Herrera is held back and pulled to the ground inside the D. That should be a free-kick... but it isn't. This referee is... interesting. 9:00PM 59 mins Superb from Pogba. He comes to life 30 yards from goal, skips past one defender, plays a one-two and is barged to the ground on the edge of the box. This is a fantastic position for a free-kick, on the edge of the D, and Pogba, Mata and Rashford all fancy it.  8:57PM 56 mins So close United! Smalling (!) attacks a header at the back post as Mata pulls it across goal but he misses the goal. Another big chance, although that was a difficult one. Out: Man Utd 0 - 1 CSKA Moscow (Chris Smalling, 55 min)   8:56PM 54 mins Shaw has the pace and strength to send Golovin flying as they contest a ball on the touchline. Great play again from the left-back. Credit: GETTY IMAGES Here's Daley Blind sitting down after sliding out of play, back in the simpler minutes when the referees  were trying to make out that Blind was playing Dzagoev onside. 8:53PM 51 mins Ironic cheers from the Man Utd fans as Dzagoev is ruled to be offside. I wonder if the officials have reviewed that goal during the break? Intriguingly, the goal has been given to Vitinho and not Dzagoev. Vitinho shot, it hit Dzagoev in an offside position, and the official stance is that Dzagoev... doesn't exist. We live in an alternate reality. 8:50PM 48 mins Rashford has the CSKA defence all sussed out but just can't find a finish yet. He goes close again early in the second half.  Attempt Saved: Man Utd 0 - 1 CSKA Moscow (Marcus Rashford, 47 min)   8:47PM KICK-OFF 2 We're back! How will Man Utd respond? With goals probably. 8:47PM Tough translation of the offside rule "If a player goes deliberately off the pitch then he's onside but if he slides off accidentally then it should be offside." So because the referee thought Blind could get back on the pitch, he awarded the goal. Not for me, Clive. He's done a massive wrong there. 8:37PM Half time stats Man Utd vs CSKA Moscow shots on goal Man Utd vs CSKA Moscow   8:33PM HALF TIME Well well well! Who saw that coming? United are in control of the game but not the score. I'd expect that to change in the second half. 8:33PM  GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! CSKA have taken the lead! Wow! Where did that come from? Man Utd 0 - 1 CSKA Moscow (Alan Dzagoev, 45 min) And more importantly, should it count?! Almost certainly not! The ball clearly hits the man circled, who is obviously offside. What on earth does that referee behind the goal-line even do? We'll need some clarification, but from my understanding of the rules, that is 100 per cent offside. 8:29PM 45 mins Valencia tries to go around the inside Nababkin, the defender falls down and takes Valencia with him. It's not a penalty... but that little incident has denied Valencia the chance to get in at goal. Shouldn't it be a foul? Owen Hargreaves says it'd be harsh. 8:28PM 43mins Man Utd have dominated the midfield battle tonight and are having most fun attacking down the left wing. Whether that's because Shaw happens to be there or because Mourinho is focusing play on that channel is something I'm not sure about yet. Average touch positions (40 min)   8:26PM 42 mins Another great tackle by Shaw who matches the pace of the wide player and then slides in perfectly to put it behind. Pogba leads the counter-attack from the corner, Rashford comes inside and very nearly finds Pogba with a clever reverse pass. Pogba wins a corner with some trickery, balance and strength. United are going to really miss Pogba against Man City - some of the stuff he does with the ball is entirely unique to him. 8:24PM 39 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES Mata's given the ball away in his own area! Smalling doesn't read the pass, Shaw has to be careful not to bring Chalov down... he's falling like a cut tree... and Shaw flies into the next challenge, clearing the ball cleanly while taking the man out. It looks a little bit like a penalty but the replay shows Shaw has done brilliantly to clean up that mess.  8:21PM 36 mins What a pass. Lukaku keeps the ball in play, finds Pogba inside the pitch and then sprints into space on the left. Pogba knows where he's going and drops a beautiful pass in his running path but Lukaku doesn't take it down, let's it bounce and by the time he can actually touch the ball, can only cross it. His attempted pass isn't that bad really, but no-one is in the area looking for the cut-back.  8:19PM 33 mins Shaw is having a strong game here, defending well and using his pace to get forward when possible. Maybe he has a football brain after all. CSKA are getting the ball into the final third and being forced all the way back. United are organised and look at least a level above. 8:15PM 30 mins Man Utd vs CSKA Moscow shots on goal   8:12PM 27 mins Wild effort from Vitinho. He strikes across the ball from 20 yards and watches the ball drift into the crowd and must have known he's never beating Romero from there.  8:09PM 24 mins Possession: Man Utd vs CSKA Moscow  United's shape really suits Mata. And Shaw, it turns out! The latter spots Pogba on the ball and sprints to burn past the last man, creating a through-ball opportunity which Pogba passes into. Shaw is in behind, crosses to Rashford and it must be the opening goal... but the ball is slightly hard and just too far ahead of Rashford.  Pass: Man Utd 0 - 0 CSKA Moscow (Luke Shaw, 22 min)   8:07PM 21 mins SO CLOSE UNITED! It's another quick, flowing move and Valencia crosses from the right wing into the box. It misses everyone, Shaw turns up at hte back post and hits a sweet first-time volley back across goal. Saved! Lukaku goes for the rebound but doesn't do enough and it's saved. United are creating some decent chances here. Attempt Saved: Man Utd 0 - 0 CSKA Moscow (Luke Shaw, 20 min)   8:04PM 20 mins Rashford tries a smart turn and beats one man but has another defender further back to beat. Blind steps out to intercept in the centre-circle and suddenly United are on the attack! Lukaku faces up to the central defenders, does a few step-overs and is easily tackled.  8:02PM 17 mins Great move from United! Mata's control and touch are brilliant and Rashford is able to run onto the ball into the box and attempts a side foot shot. The goalie gets down to save and Lukaku is too wide to get on the rebound. Attempt Saved: Man Utd 0 - 0 CSKA Moscow (Marcus Rashford, 15 min)   7:59PM 14 mins Dzagoev gets a shot away from 25 yards but it rolls harmlessly to the waiting Romero. United are kicking the ball to midfield from the goalkeeper and winning the second ball, bypassing the attempted high press of CSKA. Rashford takes a knock to the head from Berezutski but will survive. 7:56PM 11 mins Romero has just gotten away with a poor pass, making Smalling scramble to reach it before the waiting CSKA forwards can pounce and counter. Credit: GETTY IMAGES   7:55PM 9 mins Man Utd have never lost at home to a Russian team apparently. Judging by this early start, that won't change tonight.  Shaw clears a corner but only as far as the CSKA midfield who work hard to get the ball back in an attacking position.  Mata is enjoying his central role and holds the ball until Valencia can join in down the right. The Ecuadorian tries a shot at goal but is blocked and it's a corner. Blind tries a super volley from distance and it's another corner. 7:52PM 6 mins CSKA want to pass around the United final third but can't quite find the final ball. Lukaku and Rashford are waiting high up the pitch to counter-attack, Lukaku gets the ball and feeds in Rashford... HE'S ONE ON ONE! Shoots... and it's in! NO! The ball comes back off the post! Huge moment and it's cleared behind for a corner which the Russians clear. Rashford should have scored. Post: Man Utd 0 - 0 CSKA Moscow (Marcus Rashford, 4 min)  And United are in again! The ball is fizzed across the six yard box but nobody can poke it in. Shaw takes too long and has his shot blocked at the edge of the area. United are dangerous on the counter here! 7:47PM 3 mins It's a fairly scrappy opening with both teams swapping possession. United looking to start slowly and keep the ball where possible but CSKA are pressing them high trying to win it back. 7:46PM KICK-OFF CSKA get us started. 7:44PM No Champions League theme Shenanigans! Something's gone wrong with the p.a there.  7:34PM Mourinho pre-match "The ones we save is because they need to be saved. Matic is injured. "Luke Shaw plays now and is a good opportunity for him but I don't want to look at it as though it's now or never, the group is good, people fight to have an opportunity. It's not an exam, they have to play, they have conditions to play. Hopefully they don't focus on individuals, focus on the team as a whole." 7:25PM Players warming up Credit: REUTERS   7:23PM Man Utd's best players Some make an appearance in our ranking of Premier League players right here: Babbello Index November This doesn't take the Champions League into account by the way.  7:11PM Paul Scholes on Shaw "He doesn't live as clean a life as he should. I hope there's a future for him because a few seasons ago I thought we were signing one of the best left-backs in the world." 7:09PM Mkhitaryan not even on the bench It's not really working out for the Armenian at Old Trafford. Yet again he's not even made the United squad and he's come under intense scrutiny from his manager. 6:59PM Shaw's 50th appearance It really doesn't feel like he's played that many games for... anyone actually, but apparently Luke Shaw will play his 50th tonight for Man Utd alone. This #UCL match marks a milestone appearance for @LukeShaw23! pic.twitter.com/HB6ibNJIVS— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 5, 2017 In previous months Jose Mourinho has been heavily critical of a footballer nowhere near his potential: "He was in front of me and I was making every decision for him," said Mourinho in April this year. "He has to change his football brain. We need his fantastic physical and technical qualities but he cannot play with my brain."   "He must accelerate the process. Twenty-one is old enough to have a better understanding. He has a future here but Manchester United cannot wait." 6:53PM CSKA Moscow starting XI 3-4-3 Akinfeev; Ignashevich, Vasin, Berezutski; Fernandes, Golovin, Kuchaev, Nababkin; Vitinho, Chalov, Dzagoev 6:50PM Man Utd starting lineup Tonight's #MUFC team to face CSKA Moscow... pic.twitter.com/7o29qkl4Cp— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 5, 2017 No messing around from Mourinho here - he's gone for a first choice starting XI to make sure United get the job done. If they are able to put a bit of distance, say two or three goals, past CSKA we might see one of the young substitutes later on. Luke Shaw has a gigantic chance to ensure he isn't written out of Mourinho's plans going forward. 6:38PM Hello Good evening and welcome to our liveblog for Man Utd's final Champions League group game of the competition. CSKA Moscow are the visitors tonight and will not be easy opposition, with the Russians sitting level on nine points with FC Basel and certainly committed to getting a result that will see them through to the knock-out stages. United are top of the table with 12 points and will only miss out on progressing to the money-making latter stages if they lose six goals. So it's improbable... but not impossible (it basically is). Jose Mourinho can't afford to take it lightly then but may well take the opportunity to rest some key players, the most likely being Romelu Lukaku making way for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and maybe even some academy graduates. Who'd have thought? Credit: REUTERS The pitch looks lovely, Paul Pogba will grace it with his presence before he sits out however many games he has to miss through suspension, and those factors alone should guarantee some goals in this game. CSKA need to win since it's unlikely that Basel will lose to Benfica on current form, and to do that they have to attack. We'll find out the teams soon and can work out the gameplans accordingly!  Mourinho said previously: "I am going to make a few, but not too many changes. "We didn't qualify yet, we didn't finish first in the group yet, there are other clubs also involved in qualification and I need to keep a certain balance in the team. "But when we speak about Luke Shaw, he's working to have an opportunity and sooner or later that opportunity will arrive because he deserves that opportunity. "He is selected for tomorrow for sure... to start or be on the bench, I cannot answer."

Man Utd 2 CSKA Moscow 1: United top their group as Marcus Rashford completes comeback

It remains to be seen whether Manchester United derive any benefit from winning their Champions League group. Real Madrid, the ­European champions, last season’s beaten finalists Juventus and Bayern Munich, all of whom have finished second in their respective groups, could lie in store when the draw for the round of 16 is made on Monday.  But that is a matter for another day. For now, all focus turns to Sunday’s derby against Manchester City and, while Jose Mourinho was happy with how United warmed up for a potentially defining game in the Premier League title race by coming from behind to beat CSKA Moscow and equal a club record 40 games unbeaten at Old Trafford, he was less amused by Pep Guardiola’s perceived mind games.  The City manager had suggested earlier in the day that David Silva was a doubt for the derby but, having heard Arsene Wenger say something similar about Alexandre Lacazette only for the striker to appear for Arsenal against United last weekend, Mourinho was not buying Guardiola’s claims for a minute.  It says a lot about how civil relations have been between Mourinho and Guardiola in Manchester that those remarks are about the closest things have come to a whiff of animosity, but the Portuguese has enough selection headaches of his own to contend with without trying to second guess his counterpart’s every move.  CSKA may not be up to much – defeat here consigned them to the Europa League as Basel took second spot in Group A – but Paul Pogba underlined just how big a loss his absence through suspension will be in midfield for United, especially as Mourinho said Nemanja Matic will be asked to play through injury against City.  Luke Shaw was impressive on his return to first team action Credit: AFP It is uncertain United have another player who can, at will, produce the sort of sumptuous pass that Pogba provided for Romelu Lukaku to claim only his second goal in 13 matches, cancelling out Alan Dzagoev’s fortuitous first-half goal in the process and kick-starting a 66-second fightback that rubber-stamped top spot in Group A. But at least Mourinho has Lukaku back among the goals.  Mourinho suggested that mattered less to him than the player, but it was a welcome fillip for the Belgium striker, even if his all-around performance, like against Arsenal, hardly pointed to a crisis of confidence. Mourinho will certainly hope Lukaku leads the line with the same sort of gusto he did against the Russians.  Marcus Rashford was just as lively here, and although there are no guarantees he will start against City after losing ground to Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard of late, this was a performance full of cunning and running from the England forward, who also claimed the winner with his first goal in 10 games.  Despite resting a posse of players for the derby, there was still no space in the squad for Henrikh Mkhitaryan, with the Armenian nowhere to be seen for the fifth time in six matches, although there was a spot for another outcast.  This was Luke Shaw’s first start for United for seven months and his first appearance in the Champions League since he suffered a double leg break in September 2015 that has wreaked havoc with his career since. But if he is to turn things around at United, this was a good place to start.  He might have done a little better for CSKA’s goal, but he got forward with pace and purpose, drew a fine save in the first half and, with a little more composure, might have teed up Rashford for a goal only to over-hit his pass after a surging run into the penalty area.  By the end, even Mourinho – his harshest critic – was glowing in his praise. United had been so dominant in that opening period, with Rashford also hitting a post, that it was a surprise to most to see CSKA take the lead, and in slightly unusual circumstances. Shaw had failed to track Mario Fernandes’s run and Daley Blind could not prevent the CSKA wing-back from pulling the ball back for Vitinho, whose shot was heading wide only for it to bounce in off the back of Dzagoev.  Man Utd vs CSKA Moscow shots on goal Dzagoev initially looked offside but Blind, who had slid off the pitch trying and failing to thwart Fernandes, was still correctly deemed active and so the goal stood. Indeed, the rules state that “a defending player who leaves the field of play without the referee’s permission shall be considered to be on the goal line or touchline for the purposes of offside until the next stoppage in play”.  It was fanciful to think CSKA could hold on to their lead, though, and within a quick burst midway through the second period, they went from being in front to trailing. Anyone doubting how badly Pogba will be missed against City need only watch his involvement for the first goal. Picking up a pass from Chris Smalling 30 yards from CSKA’s goal, he curled a delicious left-footed pass into the penalty area for Lukaku to attack. It was the sort of ball that is a nightmare to defend but which strikers thrive upon and Lukaku reacted quickest, holding off Viktor Vasin to steer a controlled left-footed volley past Igor Akinfeev.  Man Utd 1 - 1 CSKA Moscow (Romelu Lukaku, 64 min) One became two soon after and again the finish was exemplary. Lukaku flicked on a long ball, Rashford gave chase, the ball bounced off Vasin to Juan Mata, who lobbed a pass over the top of CSKA’s two defenders and into the path of Rashford, who drilled his shot beautifully into the far corner. It is 51 years since United last went 40 games undefeated at home. All Mourinho cares about for now, though, is beating City on Sunday.  Man Utd 2 - 1 CSKA Moscow (Marcus Rashford, 66 min) 10:02PM Jose Mourinho post-match "We confirm the way we want to confirm, playing well, having a result. At half time we were losing but playing well, I was not unhappy at all, we had a strong reaction, played professionally. "If I could choose goalscorers I would always choose the strikers because their confidence sometimes depends on that. Lukaku I think his work for the team is... pftt... crazy.  "Other guys not playing so much, Luke Shaw offensively was very good. I'm really happy. "He was waiting for quite a long time, it's not easy to give an opportunity to a player who hasn't played for many months. I wanted to make changes but changes in players who need a change, he managed to stay on for 90 minutes. I told him it's not a test and honestly I am happy with his performance." 9:48PM Pogba's flash of skill �� Behave Paul Pogba �� Outrageous piece of skill from the French star �� pic.twitter.com/104OqkzTbh— BT Sport Football (@btsportfootball) December 5, 2017   9:48PM Mata and Rashford reaction Marcus Rashford I think it's always a good feeling to get on the scoresheet but the the most important thing was to win and avoid any injuries ahead of the weekend. Juan Mata It's a new rule. We asked the referee but it counted so we have to be careful with that because it counts. It's important to win for your confidence level. Sunday is a big game, tomorrow we have day off we rest, hopefully it's a good game of football and we can get the three points. 9:41PM Average positions Average touch positions (0 min)   9:38PM The offside rule A defending player who leaves the field of play without the referee’s permission shall be considered to be on the goal line or touchline for the purposes of offside until the next stoppage in play or until the defending team has played the ball towards the halfway line and it is outside their penalty area. If the player left the field of play deliberately, the player must be cautioned when the ball is next out of play. Turns out I was rather wrong. Apologies to you, Mr Referee. 9:36PM FULL TIME United deserve their win and finish top of their group on merit. Luke Shaw had a great comeback and will surely be given chances in the coming weeks but Mourinho will be most pleased with the relative ease his players saw off this CSKA side, even if the finishing wasn't quite at the level he'll need it if United are to progress. Job done. From Russia with goalie gloves. 9:35PM 90 mins +2 Credit: GETTY IMAGES Credit: GETTY IMAGES CSKA have brought rather a few fans and none of them seem to mind it's cold. That is because it's Manchester cold and not Russia cold.  9:33PM 90 mins You can't say Man Utd haven't tried to extend their lead tonight: Man Utd vs CSKA Moscow shots on goal  Still just a little profligate. That was what worried Mourinho last season. 9:30PM 88 mins Rashford does well to skip away from a defender at the halfway line and break to the penalty area but when he gets there, his choice of final pass isn't quite good enough and CSKA can block the path.  9:27PM 85 mins And it's nearly 2-2! That's a really smart save by Romero! CSKA are somehow able to cut the defence open and very nearly grab a late equaliser. Update on the offside goal fiasco: Manchester United have turned it around and lead 2-1. The CSKA goal was correctly given. If a player leaves the field he’s deemed as being on the byline. I got it wrong at halftime so apologies and well played, referee.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) December 5, 2017   9:24PM 83 mins Martial goes down on the edge of the area, Rashford flicks the ball across the penalty area and the ref doesn't bring play back for a free-kick after the non-advantage. Another interesting decision. Vitinho - the goalscorer - comes off for Zhamaletdinov. 9:21PM 80 mins Man Utd's goals: 64' - Man United 1-1 CSKA Moscow 66' - Man United 2-1 CSKA Moscow You wait 64 minutes for a goal and two come along in 66 seconds... Lukaku and Rashford fire United ahead ��⚪️ pic.twitter.com/9KdygkJ5ku— BT Sport Football (@btsportfootball) December 5, 2017   9:20PM 79 mins Luke Shaw has gone down with what may well be cramp. He hasn't played any football this season so that's to be expected and to be fair, Shaw has been excellent tonight, if we ignore the momentary lapse in concentration that led to CSKA's non-goal-that-was. 9:17PM 76 mins McTominay is booked straight away with a late, lunging tackle, earning valuable XP in the process. You can't do that in the Champions League, young Scott. Lukaku comes off for Martial and will sleep well tonight after that goal. Mourinho gives him a hug as he comes off and is sent straight to the changing room to join Antonio Valencia. Mourinho's already getting his players prepared for the derby on Sunday. Pogba hits a shot from miles away but misses the target.  Wayne Rooney is watching in the crowd. Eagle eyes from the BT Sport camerapeople! 9:14PM 73 mins Axel Tuanzebe is getting warmed up on the touchline. Mata is able to outsprint Berezutski on the left... Valencia is taken off for the final 20 minutes in place of Tuanzebe, handing the captain's armband to Chris Smalling.  9:11PM 70 mins Scott McTominay is on for Ander Herrera. This game has completely changed in three minutes. How bizarre. FC Basel are 2-0 up on Benfica just now so it doesn't even really matter if CSKA do get back into this one. Pogba has just drawn the same reaction from the Old Trafford crowd as a firework gets. "Ooooohhhhhh!" they say collectively, as the Frenchman pulls off a wonderful bit of skill in the CSKA half. 9:08PM GOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLL! RASHFORD MAKES IT TWO! Man Utd 2 - 1 CSKA Moscow (Marcus Rashford, 66 min) CSKA get caught as Lukaku flicks on a long ball from Valencia, Mata weights a perfect looping pass back over to Rashford, and the forward waits for the ball to drop before powering a left-footed finish into the bottom corner. 9:07PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLL! Brilliant from Lukaku! What a finish that is!  Man Utd 1 - 1 CSKA Moscow (Romelu Lukaku, 64 min) The pass is stunning too. He controls, turns and sees the space ahead of Lukaku who holds off his man and executes a stretching, jumping, cushioned volleyed finish.  9:05PM 64 mins CSKA are camped in their own half - they can't get out! Pogba somehow manages to control a wild Lukaku first-time pass but CSKA do win the ball back and have a counter-attack chance on now... Blind heads away and now Rashford can run at goal. Mata finds Pogba, who plays it back to Mata, who switches to the right wing. Valencia looks for Lukaku but he doesn't get enough on his header and it's cleared. Shaw tracks back and wins another tackle. 9:02PM 61 mins RASHFORDDDDD hits the wall and the ball deflects behind for a corner. United work the ball around the final third, Rashford crosses it in and Akinfeev flaps at it. United keep the pressure up, Shaw finds Mata with a really intelligent first time pass and then Herrera is held back and pulled to the ground inside the D. That should be a free-kick... but it isn't. This referee is... interesting. 9:00PM 59 mins Superb from Pogba. He comes to life 30 yards from goal, skips past one defender, plays a one-two and is barged to the ground on the edge of the box. This is a fantastic position for a free-kick, on the edge of the D, and Pogba, Mata and Rashford all fancy it.  8:57PM 56 mins So close United! Smalling (!) attacks a header at the back post as Mata pulls it across goal but he misses the goal. Another big chance, although that was a difficult one. Out: Man Utd 0 - 1 CSKA Moscow (Chris Smalling, 55 min)   8:56PM 54 mins Shaw has the pace and strength to send Golovin flying as they contest a ball on the touchline. Great play again from the left-back. Credit: GETTY IMAGES Here's Daley Blind sitting down after sliding out of play, back in the simpler minutes when the referees  were trying to make out that Blind was playing Dzagoev onside. 8:53PM 51 mins Ironic cheers from the Man Utd fans as Dzagoev is ruled to be offside. I wonder if the officials have reviewed that goal during the break? Intriguingly, the goal has been given to Vitinho and not Dzagoev. Vitinho shot, it hit Dzagoev in an offside position, and the official stance is that Dzagoev... doesn't exist. We live in an alternate reality. 8:50PM 48 mins Rashford has the CSKA defence all sussed out but just can't find a finish yet. He goes close again early in the second half.  Attempt Saved: Man Utd 0 - 1 CSKA Moscow (Marcus Rashford, 47 min)   8:47PM KICK-OFF 2 We're back! How will Man Utd respond? With goals probably. 8:47PM Tough translation of the offside rule "If a player goes deliberately off the pitch then he's onside but if he slides off accidentally then it should be offside." So because the referee thought Blind could get back on the pitch, he awarded the goal. Not for me, Clive. He's done a massive wrong there. 8:37PM Half time stats Man Utd vs CSKA Moscow shots on goal Man Utd vs CSKA Moscow   8:33PM HALF TIME Well well well! Who saw that coming? United are in control of the game but not the score. I'd expect that to change in the second half. 8:33PM  GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! CSKA have taken the lead! Wow! Where did that come from? Man Utd 0 - 1 CSKA Moscow (Alan Dzagoev, 45 min) And more importantly, should it count?! Almost certainly not! The ball clearly hits the man circled, who is obviously offside. What on earth does that referee behind the goal-line even do? We'll need some clarification, but from my understanding of the rules, that is 100 per cent offside. 8:29PM 45 mins Valencia tries to go around the inside Nababkin, the defender falls down and takes Valencia with him. It's not a penalty... but that little incident has denied Valencia the chance to get in at goal. Shouldn't it be a foul? Owen Hargreaves says it'd be harsh. 8:28PM 43mins Man Utd have dominated the midfield battle tonight and are having most fun attacking down the left wing. Whether that's because Shaw happens to be there or because Mourinho is focusing play on that channel is something I'm not sure about yet. Average touch positions (40 min)   8:26PM 42 mins Another great tackle by Shaw who matches the pace of the wide player and then slides in perfectly to put it behind. Pogba leads the counter-attack from the corner, Rashford comes inside and very nearly finds Pogba with a clever reverse pass. Pogba wins a corner with some trickery, balance and strength. United are going to really miss Pogba against Man City - some of the stuff he does with the ball is entirely unique to him. 8:24PM 39 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES Mata's given the ball away in his own area! Smalling doesn't read the pass, Shaw has to be careful not to bring Chalov down... he's falling like a cut tree... and Shaw flies into the next challenge, clearing the ball cleanly while taking the man out. It looks a little bit like a penalty but the replay shows Shaw has done brilliantly to clean up that mess.  8:21PM 36 mins What a pass. Lukaku keeps the ball in play, finds Pogba inside the pitch and then sprints into space on the left. Pogba knows where he's going and drops a beautiful pass in his running path but Lukaku doesn't take it down, let's it bounce and by the time he can actually touch the ball, can only cross it. His attempted pass isn't that bad really, but no-one is in the area looking for the cut-back.  8:19PM 33 mins Shaw is having a strong game here, defending well and using his pace to get forward when possible. Maybe he has a football brain after all. CSKA are getting the ball into the final third and being forced all the way back. United are organised and look at least a level above. 8:15PM 30 mins Man Utd vs CSKA Moscow shots on goal   8:12PM 27 mins Wild effort from Vitinho. He strikes across the ball from 20 yards and watches the ball drift into the crowd and must have known he's never beating Romero from there.  8:09PM 24 mins Possession: Man Utd vs CSKA Moscow  United's shape really suits Mata. And Shaw, it turns out! The latter spots Pogba on the ball and sprints to burn past the last man, creating a through-ball opportunity which Pogba passes into. Shaw is in behind, crosses to Rashford and it must be the opening goal... but the ball is slightly hard and just too far ahead of Rashford.  Pass: Man Utd 0 - 0 CSKA Moscow (Luke Shaw, 22 min)   8:07PM 21 mins SO CLOSE UNITED! It's another quick, flowing move and Valencia crosses from the right wing into the box. It misses everyone, Shaw turns up at hte back post and hits a sweet first-time volley back across goal. Saved! Lukaku goes for the rebound but doesn't do enough and it's saved. United are creating some decent chances here. Attempt Saved: Man Utd 0 - 0 CSKA Moscow (Luke Shaw, 20 min)   8:04PM 20 mins Rashford tries a smart turn and beats one man but has another defender further back to beat. Blind steps out to intercept in the centre-circle and suddenly United are on the attack! Lukaku faces up to the central defenders, does a few step-overs and is easily tackled.  8:02PM 17 mins Great move from United! Mata's control and touch are brilliant and Rashford is able to run onto the ball into the box and attempts a side foot shot. The goalie gets down to save and Lukaku is too wide to get on the rebound. Attempt Saved: Man Utd 0 - 0 CSKA Moscow (Marcus Rashford, 15 min)   7:59PM 14 mins Dzagoev gets a shot away from 25 yards but it rolls harmlessly to the waiting Romero. United are kicking the ball to midfield from the goalkeeper and winning the second ball, bypassing the attempted high press of CSKA. Rashford takes a knock to the head from Berezutski but will survive. 7:56PM 11 mins Romero has just gotten away with a poor pass, making Smalling scramble to reach it before the waiting CSKA forwards can pounce and counter. Credit: GETTY IMAGES   7:55PM 9 mins Man Utd have never lost at home to a Russian team apparently. Judging by this early start, that won't change tonight.  Shaw clears a corner but only as far as the CSKA midfield who work hard to get the ball back in an attacking position.  Mata is enjoying his central role and holds the ball until Valencia can join in down the right. The Ecuadorian tries a shot at goal but is blocked and it's a corner. Blind tries a super volley from distance and it's another corner. 7:52PM 6 mins CSKA want to pass around the United final third but can't quite find the final ball. Lukaku and Rashford are waiting high up the pitch to counter-attack, Lukaku gets the ball and feeds in Rashford... HE'S ONE ON ONE! Shoots... and it's in! NO! The ball comes back off the post! Huge moment and it's cleared behind for a corner which the Russians clear. Rashford should have scored. Post: Man Utd 0 - 0 CSKA Moscow (Marcus Rashford, 4 min)  And United are in again! The ball is fizzed across the six yard box but nobody can poke it in. Shaw takes too long and has his shot blocked at the edge of the area. United are dangerous on the counter here! 7:47PM 3 mins It's a fairly scrappy opening with both teams swapping possession. United looking to start slowly and keep the ball where possible but CSKA are pressing them high trying to win it back. 7:46PM KICK-OFF CSKA get us started. 7:44PM No Champions League theme Shenanigans! Something's gone wrong with the p.a there.  7:34PM Mourinho pre-match "The ones we save is because they need to be saved. Matic is injured. "Luke Shaw plays now and is a good opportunity for him but I don't want to look at it as though it's now or never, the group is good, people fight to have an opportunity. It's not an exam, they have to play, they have conditions to play. Hopefully they don't focus on individuals, focus on the team as a whole." 7:25PM Players warming up Credit: REUTERS   7:23PM Man Utd's best players Some make an appearance in our ranking of Premier League players right here: Babbello Index November This doesn't take the Champions League into account by the way.  7:11PM Paul Scholes on Shaw "He doesn't live as clean a life as he should. I hope there's a future for him because a few seasons ago I thought we were signing one of the best left-backs in the world." 7:09PM Mkhitaryan not even on the bench It's not really working out for the Armenian at Old Trafford. Yet again he's not even made the United squad and he's come under intense scrutiny from his manager. 6:59PM Shaw's 50th appearance It really doesn't feel like he's played that many games for... anyone actually, but apparently Luke Shaw will play his 50th tonight for Man Utd alone. This #UCL match marks a milestone appearance for @LukeShaw23! pic.twitter.com/HB6ibNJIVS— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 5, 2017 In previous months Jose Mourinho has been heavily critical of a footballer nowhere near his potential: "He was in front of me and I was making every decision for him," said Mourinho in April this year. "He has to change his football brain. We need his fantastic physical and technical qualities but he cannot play with my brain."   "He must accelerate the process. Twenty-one is old enough to have a better understanding. He has a future here but Manchester United cannot wait." 6:53PM CSKA Moscow starting XI 3-4-3 Akinfeev; Ignashevich, Vasin, Berezutski; Fernandes, Golovin, Kuchaev, Nababkin; Vitinho, Chalov, Dzagoev 6:50PM Man Utd starting lineup Tonight's #MUFC team to face CSKA Moscow... pic.twitter.com/7o29qkl4Cp— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 5, 2017 No messing around from Mourinho here - he's gone for a first choice starting XI to make sure United get the job done. If they are able to put a bit of distance, say two or three goals, past CSKA we might see one of the young substitutes later on. Luke Shaw has a gigantic chance to ensure he isn't written out of Mourinho's plans going forward. 6:38PM Hello Good evening and welcome to our liveblog for Man Utd's final Champions League group game of the competition. CSKA Moscow are the visitors tonight and will not be easy opposition, with the Russians sitting level on nine points with FC Basel and certainly committed to getting a result that will see them through to the knock-out stages. United are top of the table with 12 points and will only miss out on progressing to the money-making latter stages if they lose six goals. So it's improbable... but not impossible (it basically is). Jose Mourinho can't afford to take it lightly then but may well take the opportunity to rest some key players, the most likely being Romelu Lukaku making way for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and maybe even some academy graduates. Who'd have thought? Credit: REUTERS The pitch looks lovely, Paul Pogba will grace it with his presence before he sits out however many games he has to miss through suspension, and those factors alone should guarantee some goals in this game. CSKA need to win since it's unlikely that Basel will lose to Benfica on current form, and to do that they have to attack. We'll find out the teams soon and can work out the gameplans accordingly!  Mourinho said previously: "I am going to make a few, but not too many changes. "We didn't qualify yet, we didn't finish first in the group yet, there are other clubs also involved in qualification and I need to keep a certain balance in the team. "But when we speak about Luke Shaw, he's working to have an opportunity and sooner or later that opportunity will arrive because he deserves that opportunity. "He is selected for tomorrow for sure... to start or be on the bench, I cannot answer."

Man Utd 2 CSKA Moscow 1: United top their group as Marcus Rashford completes comeback

It remains to be seen whether Manchester United derive any benefit from winning their Champions League group. Real Madrid, the ­European champions, last season’s beaten finalists Juventus and Bayern Munich, all of whom have finished second in their respective groups, could lie in store when the draw for the round of 16 is made on Monday.  But that is a matter for another day. For now, all focus turns to Sunday’s derby against Manchester City and, while Jose Mourinho was happy with how United warmed up for a potentially defining game in the Premier League title race by coming from behind to beat CSKA Moscow and equal a club record 40 games unbeaten at Old Trafford, he was less amused by Pep Guardiola’s perceived mind games.  The City manager had suggested earlier in the day that David Silva was a doubt for the derby but, having heard Arsene Wenger say something similar about Alexandre Lacazette only for the striker to appear for Arsenal against United last weekend, Mourinho was not buying Guardiola’s claims for a minute.  It says a lot about how civil relations have been between Mourinho and Guardiola in Manchester that those remarks are about the closest things have come to a whiff of animosity, but the Portuguese has enough selection headaches of his own to contend with without trying to second guess his counterpart’s every move.  CSKA may not be up to much – defeat here consigned them to the Europa League as Basel took second spot in Group A – but Paul Pogba underlined just how big a loss his absence through suspension will be in midfield for United, especially as Mourinho said Nemanja Matic will be asked to play through injury against City.  Luke Shaw was impressive on his return to first team action Credit: AFP It is uncertain United have another player who can, at will, produce the sort of sumptuous pass that Pogba provided for Romelu Lukaku to claim only his second goal in 13 matches, cancelling out Alan Dzagoev’s fortuitous first-half goal in the process and kick-starting a 66-second fightback that rubber-stamped top spot in Group A. But at least Mourinho has Lukaku back among the goals.  Mourinho suggested that mattered less to him than the player, but it was a welcome fillip for the Belgium striker, even if his all-around performance, like against Arsenal, hardly pointed to a crisis of confidence. Mourinho will certainly hope Lukaku leads the line with the same sort of gusto he did against the Russians.  Marcus Rashford was just as lively here, and although there are no guarantees he will start against City after losing ground to Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard of late, this was a performance full of cunning and running from the England forward, who also claimed the winner with his first goal in 10 games.  Despite resting a posse of players for the derby, there was still no space in the squad for Henrikh Mkhitaryan, with the Armenian nowhere to be seen for the fifth time in six matches, although there was a spot for another outcast.  This was Luke Shaw’s first start for United for seven months and his first appearance in the Champions League since he suffered a double leg break in September 2015 that has wreaked havoc with his career since. But if he is to turn things around at United, this was a good place to start.  He might have done a little better for CSKA’s goal, but he got forward with pace and purpose, drew a fine save in the first half and, with a little more composure, might have teed up Rashford for a goal only to over-hit his pass after a surging run into the penalty area.  By the end, even Mourinho – his harshest critic – was glowing in his praise. United had been so dominant in that opening period, with Rashford also hitting a post, that it was a surprise to most to see CSKA take the lead, and in slightly unusual circumstances. Shaw had failed to track Mario Fernandes’s run and Daley Blind could not prevent the CSKA wing-back from pulling the ball back for Vitinho, whose shot was heading wide only for it to bounce in off the back of Dzagoev.  Man Utd vs CSKA Moscow shots on goal Dzagoev initially looked offside but Blind, who had slid off the pitch trying and failing to thwart Fernandes, was still correctly deemed active and so the goal stood. Indeed, the rules state that “a defending player who leaves the field of play without the referee’s permission shall be considered to be on the goal line or touchline for the purposes of offside until the next stoppage in play”.  It was fanciful to think CSKA could hold on to their lead, though, and within a quick burst midway through the second period, they went from being in front to trailing. Anyone doubting how badly Pogba will be missed against City need only watch his involvement for the first goal. Picking up a pass from Chris Smalling 30 yards from CSKA’s goal, he curled a delicious left-footed pass into the penalty area for Lukaku to attack. It was the sort of ball that is a nightmare to defend but which strikers thrive upon and Lukaku reacted quickest, holding off Viktor Vasin to steer a controlled left-footed volley past Igor Akinfeev.  Man Utd 1 - 1 CSKA Moscow (Romelu Lukaku, 64 min) One became two soon after and again the finish was exemplary. Lukaku flicked on a long ball, Rashford gave chase, the ball bounced off Vasin to Juan Mata, who lobbed a pass over the top of CSKA’s two defenders and into the path of Rashford, who drilled his shot beautifully into the far corner. It is 51 years since United last went 40 games undefeated at home. All Mourinho cares about for now, though, is beating City on Sunday.  Man Utd 2 - 1 CSKA Moscow (Marcus Rashford, 66 min) 10:02PM Jose Mourinho post-match "We confirm the way we want to confirm, playing well, having a result. At half time we were losing but playing well, I was not unhappy at all, we had a strong reaction, played professionally. "If I could choose goalscorers I would always choose the strikers because their confidence sometimes depends on that. Lukaku I think his work for the team is... pftt... crazy.  "Other guys not playing so much, Luke Shaw offensively was very good. I'm really happy. "He was waiting for quite a long time, it's not easy to give an opportunity to a player who hasn't played for many months. I wanted to make changes but changes in players who need a change, he managed to stay on for 90 minutes. I told him it's not a test and honestly I am happy with his performance." 9:48PM Pogba's flash of skill �� Behave Paul Pogba �� Outrageous piece of skill from the French star �� pic.twitter.com/104OqkzTbh— BT Sport Football (@btsportfootball) December 5, 2017   9:48PM Mata and Rashford reaction Marcus Rashford I think it's always a good feeling to get on the scoresheet but the the most important thing was to win and avoid any injuries ahead of the weekend. Juan Mata It's a new rule. We asked the referee but it counted so we have to be careful with that because it counts. It's important to win for your confidence level. Sunday is a big game, tomorrow we have day off we rest, hopefully it's a good game of football and we can get the three points. 9:41PM Average positions Average touch positions (0 min)   9:38PM The offside rule A defending player who leaves the field of play without the referee’s permission shall be considered to be on the goal line or touchline for the purposes of offside until the next stoppage in play or until the defending team has played the ball towards the halfway line and it is outside their penalty area. If the player left the field of play deliberately, the player must be cautioned when the ball is next out of play. Turns out I was rather wrong. Apologies to you, Mr Referee. 9:36PM FULL TIME United deserve their win and finish top of their group on merit. Luke Shaw had a great comeback and will surely be given chances in the coming weeks but Mourinho will be most pleased with the relative ease his players saw off this CSKA side, even if the finishing wasn't quite at the level he'll need it if United are to progress. Job done. From Russia with goalie gloves. 9:35PM 90 mins +2 Credit: GETTY IMAGES Credit: GETTY IMAGES CSKA have brought rather a few fans and none of them seem to mind it's cold. That is because it's Manchester cold and not Russia cold.  9:33PM 90 mins You can't say Man Utd haven't tried to extend their lead tonight: Man Utd vs CSKA Moscow shots on goal  Still just a little profligate. That was what worried Mourinho last season. 9:30PM 88 mins Rashford does well to skip away from a defender at the halfway line and break to the penalty area but when he gets there, his choice of final pass isn't quite good enough and CSKA can block the path.  9:27PM 85 mins And it's nearly 2-2! That's a really smart save by Romero! CSKA are somehow able to cut the defence open and very nearly grab a late equaliser. Update on the offside goal fiasco: Manchester United have turned it around and lead 2-1. The CSKA goal was correctly given. If a player leaves the field he’s deemed as being on the byline. I got it wrong at halftime so apologies and well played, referee.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) December 5, 2017   9:24PM 83 mins Martial goes down on the edge of the area, Rashford flicks the ball across the penalty area and the ref doesn't bring play back for a free-kick after the non-advantage. Another interesting decision. Vitinho - the goalscorer - comes off for Zhamaletdinov. 9:21PM 80 mins Man Utd's goals: 64' - Man United 1-1 CSKA Moscow 66' - Man United 2-1 CSKA Moscow You wait 64 minutes for a goal and two come along in 66 seconds... Lukaku and Rashford fire United ahead ��⚪️ pic.twitter.com/9KdygkJ5ku— BT Sport Football (@btsportfootball) December 5, 2017   9:20PM 79 mins Luke Shaw has gone down with what may well be cramp. He hasn't played any football this season so that's to be expected and to be fair, Shaw has been excellent tonight, if we ignore the momentary lapse in concentration that led to CSKA's non-goal-that-was. 9:17PM 76 mins McTominay is booked straight away with a late, lunging tackle, earning valuable XP in the process. You can't do that in the Champions League, young Scott. Lukaku comes off for Martial and will sleep well tonight after that goal. Mourinho gives him a hug as he comes off and is sent straight to the changing room to join Antonio Valencia. Mourinho's already getting his players prepared for the derby on Sunday. Pogba hits a shot from miles away but misses the target.  Wayne Rooney is watching in the crowd. Eagle eyes from the BT Sport camerapeople! 9:14PM 73 mins Axel Tuanzebe is getting warmed up on the touchline. Mata is able to outsprint Berezutski on the left... Valencia is taken off for the final 20 minutes in place of Tuanzebe, handing the captain's armband to Chris Smalling.  9:11PM 70 mins Scott McTominay is on for Ander Herrera. This game has completely changed in three minutes. How bizarre. FC Basel are 2-0 up on Benfica just now so it doesn't even really matter if CSKA do get back into this one. Pogba has just drawn the same reaction from the Old Trafford crowd as a firework gets. "Ooooohhhhhh!" they say collectively, as the Frenchman pulls off a wonderful bit of skill in the CSKA half. 9:08PM GOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLL! RASHFORD MAKES IT TWO! Man Utd 2 - 1 CSKA Moscow (Marcus Rashford, 66 min) CSKA get caught as Lukaku flicks on a long ball from Valencia, Mata weights a perfect looping pass back over to Rashford, and the forward waits for the ball to drop before powering a left-footed finish into the bottom corner. 9:07PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLL! Brilliant from Lukaku! What a finish that is!  Man Utd 1 - 1 CSKA Moscow (Romelu Lukaku, 64 min) The pass is stunning too. He controls, turns and sees the space ahead of Lukaku who holds off his man and executes a stretching, jumping, cushioned volleyed finish.  9:05PM 64 mins CSKA are camped in their own half - they can't get out! Pogba somehow manages to control a wild Lukaku first-time pass but CSKA do win the ball back and have a counter-attack chance on now... Blind heads away and now Rashford can run at goal. Mata finds Pogba, who plays it back to Mata, who switches to the right wing. Valencia looks for Lukaku but he doesn't get enough on his header and it's cleared. Shaw tracks back and wins another tackle. 9:02PM 61 mins RASHFORDDDDD hits the wall and the ball deflects behind for a corner. United work the ball around the final third, Rashford crosses it in and Akinfeev flaps at it. United keep the pressure up, Shaw finds Mata with a really intelligent first time pass and then Herrera is held back and pulled to the ground inside the D. That should be a free-kick... but it isn't. This referee is... interesting. 9:00PM 59 mins Superb from Pogba. He comes to life 30 yards from goal, skips past one defender, plays a one-two and is barged to the ground on the edge of the box. This is a fantastic position for a free-kick, on the edge of the D, and Pogba, Mata and Rashford all fancy it.  8:57PM 56 mins So close United! Smalling (!) attacks a header at the back post as Mata pulls it across goal but he misses the goal. Another big chance, although that was a difficult one. Out: Man Utd 0 - 1 CSKA Moscow (Chris Smalling, 55 min)   8:56PM 54 mins Shaw has the pace and strength to send Golovin flying as they contest a ball on the touchline. Great play again from the left-back. Credit: GETTY IMAGES Here's Daley Blind sitting down after sliding out of play, back in the simpler minutes when the referees  were trying to make out that Blind was playing Dzagoev onside. 8:53PM 51 mins Ironic cheers from the Man Utd fans as Dzagoev is ruled to be offside. I wonder if the officials have reviewed that goal during the break? Intriguingly, the goal has been given to Vitinho and not Dzagoev. Vitinho shot, it hit Dzagoev in an offside position, and the official stance is that Dzagoev... doesn't exist. We live in an alternate reality. 8:50PM 48 mins Rashford has the CSKA defence all sussed out but just can't find a finish yet. He goes close again early in the second half.  Attempt Saved: Man Utd 0 - 1 CSKA Moscow (Marcus Rashford, 47 min)   8:47PM KICK-OFF 2 We're back! How will Man Utd respond? With goals probably. 8:47PM Tough translation of the offside rule "If a player goes deliberately off the pitch then he's onside but if he slides off accidentally then it should be offside." So because the referee thought Blind could get back on the pitch, he awarded the goal. Not for me, Clive. He's done a massive wrong there. 8:37PM Half time stats Man Utd vs CSKA Moscow shots on goal Man Utd vs CSKA Moscow   8:33PM HALF TIME Well well well! Who saw that coming? United are in control of the game but not the score. I'd expect that to change in the second half. 8:33PM  GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! CSKA have taken the lead! Wow! Where did that come from? Man Utd 0 - 1 CSKA Moscow (Alan Dzagoev, 45 min) And more importantly, should it count?! Almost certainly not! The ball clearly hits the man circled, who is obviously offside. What on earth does that referee behind the goal-line even do? We'll need some clarification, but from my understanding of the rules, that is 100 per cent offside. 8:29PM 45 mins Valencia tries to go around the inside Nababkin, the defender falls down and takes Valencia with him. It's not a penalty... but that little incident has denied Valencia the chance to get in at goal. Shouldn't it be a foul? Owen Hargreaves says it'd be harsh. 8:28PM 43mins Man Utd have dominated the midfield battle tonight and are having most fun attacking down the left wing. Whether that's because Shaw happens to be there or because Mourinho is focusing play on that channel is something I'm not sure about yet. Average touch positions (40 min)   8:26PM 42 mins Another great tackle by Shaw who matches the pace of the wide player and then slides in perfectly to put it behind. Pogba leads the counter-attack from the corner, Rashford comes inside and very nearly finds Pogba with a clever reverse pass. Pogba wins a corner with some trickery, balance and strength. United are going to really miss Pogba against Man City - some of the stuff he does with the ball is entirely unique to him. 8:24PM 39 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES Mata's given the ball away in his own area! Smalling doesn't read the pass, Shaw has to be careful not to bring Chalov down... he's falling like a cut tree... and Shaw flies into the next challenge, clearing the ball cleanly while taking the man out. It looks a little bit like a penalty but the replay shows Shaw has done brilliantly to clean up that mess.  8:21PM 36 mins What a pass. Lukaku keeps the ball in play, finds Pogba inside the pitch and then sprints into space on the left. Pogba knows where he's going and drops a beautiful pass in his running path but Lukaku doesn't take it down, let's it bounce and by the time he can actually touch the ball, can only cross it. His attempted pass isn't that bad really, but no-one is in the area looking for the cut-back.  8:19PM 33 mins Shaw is having a strong game here, defending well and using his pace to get forward when possible. Maybe he has a football brain after all. CSKA are getting the ball into the final third and being forced all the way back. United are organised and look at least a level above. 8:15PM 30 mins Man Utd vs CSKA Moscow shots on goal   8:12PM 27 mins Wild effort from Vitinho. He strikes across the ball from 20 yards and watches the ball drift into the crowd and must have known he's never beating Romero from there.  8:09PM 24 mins Possession: Man Utd vs CSKA Moscow  United's shape really suits Mata. And Shaw, it turns out! The latter spots Pogba on the ball and sprints to burn past the last man, creating a through-ball opportunity which Pogba passes into. Shaw is in behind, crosses to Rashford and it must be the opening goal... but the ball is slightly hard and just too far ahead of Rashford.  Pass: Man Utd 0 - 0 CSKA Moscow (Luke Shaw, 22 min)   8:07PM 21 mins SO CLOSE UNITED! It's another quick, flowing move and Valencia crosses from the right wing into the box. It misses everyone, Shaw turns up at hte back post and hits a sweet first-time volley back across goal. Saved! Lukaku goes for the rebound but doesn't do enough and it's saved. United are creating some decent chances here. Attempt Saved: Man Utd 0 - 0 CSKA Moscow (Luke Shaw, 20 min)   8:04PM 20 mins Rashford tries a smart turn and beats one man but has another defender further back to beat. Blind steps out to intercept in the centre-circle and suddenly United are on the attack! Lukaku faces up to the central defenders, does a few step-overs and is easily tackled.  8:02PM 17 mins Great move from United! Mata's control and touch are brilliant and Rashford is able to run onto the ball into the box and attempts a side foot shot. The goalie gets down to save and Lukaku is too wide to get on the rebound. Attempt Saved: Man Utd 0 - 0 CSKA Moscow (Marcus Rashford, 15 min)   7:59PM 14 mins Dzagoev gets a shot away from 25 yards but it rolls harmlessly to the waiting Romero. United are kicking the ball to midfield from the goalkeeper and winning the second ball, bypassing the attempted high press of CSKA. Rashford takes a knock to the head from Berezutski but will survive. 7:56PM 11 mins Romero has just gotten away with a poor pass, making Smalling scramble to reach it before the waiting CSKA forwards can pounce and counter. Credit: GETTY IMAGES   7:55PM 9 mins Man Utd have never lost at home to a Russian team apparently. Judging by this early start, that won't change tonight.  Shaw clears a corner but only as far as the CSKA midfield who work hard to get the ball back in an attacking position.  Mata is enjoying his central role and holds the ball until Valencia can join in down the right. The Ecuadorian tries a shot at goal but is blocked and it's a corner. Blind tries a super volley from distance and it's another corner. 7:52PM 6 mins CSKA want to pass around the United final third but can't quite find the final ball. Lukaku and Rashford are waiting high up the pitch to counter-attack, Lukaku gets the ball and feeds in Rashford... HE'S ONE ON ONE! Shoots... and it's in! NO! The ball comes back off the post! Huge moment and it's cleared behind for a corner which the Russians clear. Rashford should have scored. Post: Man Utd 0 - 0 CSKA Moscow (Marcus Rashford, 4 min)  And United are in again! The ball is fizzed across the six yard box but nobody can poke it in. Shaw takes too long and has his shot blocked at the edge of the area. United are dangerous on the counter here! 7:47PM 3 mins It's a fairly scrappy opening with both teams swapping possession. United looking to start slowly and keep the ball where possible but CSKA are pressing them high trying to win it back. 7:46PM KICK-OFF CSKA get us started. 7:44PM No Champions League theme Shenanigans! Something's gone wrong with the p.a there.  7:34PM Mourinho pre-match "The ones we save is because they need to be saved. Matic is injured. "Luke Shaw plays now and is a good opportunity for him but I don't want to look at it as though it's now or never, the group is good, people fight to have an opportunity. It's not an exam, they have to play, they have conditions to play. Hopefully they don't focus on individuals, focus on the team as a whole." 7:25PM Players warming up Credit: REUTERS   7:23PM Man Utd's best players Some make an appearance in our ranking of Premier League players right here: Babbello Index November This doesn't take the Champions League into account by the way.  7:11PM Paul Scholes on Shaw "He doesn't live as clean a life as he should. I hope there's a future for him because a few seasons ago I thought we were signing one of the best left-backs in the world." 7:09PM Mkhitaryan not even on the bench It's not really working out for the Armenian at Old Trafford. Yet again he's not even made the United squad and he's come under intense scrutiny from his manager. 6:59PM Shaw's 50th appearance It really doesn't feel like he's played that many games for... anyone actually, but apparently Luke Shaw will play his 50th tonight for Man Utd alone. This #UCL match marks a milestone appearance for @LukeShaw23! pic.twitter.com/HB6ibNJIVS— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 5, 2017 In previous months Jose Mourinho has been heavily critical of a footballer nowhere near his potential: "He was in front of me and I was making every decision for him," said Mourinho in April this year. "He has to change his football brain. We need his fantastic physical and technical qualities but he cannot play with my brain."   "He must accelerate the process. Twenty-one is old enough to have a better understanding. He has a future here but Manchester United cannot wait." 6:53PM CSKA Moscow starting XI 3-4-3 Akinfeev; Ignashevich, Vasin, Berezutski; Fernandes, Golovin, Kuchaev, Nababkin; Vitinho, Chalov, Dzagoev 6:50PM Man Utd starting lineup Tonight's #MUFC team to face CSKA Moscow... pic.twitter.com/7o29qkl4Cp— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 5, 2017 No messing around from Mourinho here - he's gone for a first choice starting XI to make sure United get the job done. If they are able to put a bit of distance, say two or three goals, past CSKA we might see one of the young substitutes later on. Luke Shaw has a gigantic chance to ensure he isn't written out of Mourinho's plans going forward. 6:38PM Hello Good evening and welcome to our liveblog for Man Utd's final Champions League group game of the competition. CSKA Moscow are the visitors tonight and will not be easy opposition, with the Russians sitting level on nine points with FC Basel and certainly committed to getting a result that will see them through to the knock-out stages. United are top of the table with 12 points and will only miss out on progressing to the money-making latter stages if they lose six goals. So it's improbable... but not impossible (it basically is). Jose Mourinho can't afford to take it lightly then but may well take the opportunity to rest some key players, the most likely being Romelu Lukaku making way for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and maybe even some academy graduates. Who'd have thought? Credit: REUTERS The pitch looks lovely, Paul Pogba will grace it with his presence before he sits out however many games he has to miss through suspension, and those factors alone should guarantee some goals in this game. CSKA need to win since it's unlikely that Basel will lose to Benfica on current form, and to do that they have to attack. We'll find out the teams soon and can work out the gameplans accordingly!  Mourinho said previously: "I am going to make a few, but not too many changes. "We didn't qualify yet, we didn't finish first in the group yet, there are other clubs also involved in qualification and I need to keep a certain balance in the team. "But when we speak about Luke Shaw, he's working to have an opportunity and sooner or later that opportunity will arrive because he deserves that opportunity. "He is selected for tomorrow for sure... to start or be on the bench, I cannot answer."

Man Utd 2 CSKA Moscow 1: United top their group as Marcus Rashford completes comeback

It remains to be seen whether Manchester United derive any benefit from winning their Champions League group. Real Madrid, the ­European champions, last season’s beaten finalists Juventus and Bayern Munich, all of whom have finished second in their respective groups, could lie in store when the draw for the round of 16 is made on Monday.  But that is a matter for another day. For now, all focus turns to Sunday’s derby against Manchester City and, while Jose Mourinho was happy with how United warmed up for a potentially defining game in the Premier League title race by coming from behind to beat CSKA Moscow and equal a club record 40 games unbeaten at Old Trafford, he was less amused by Pep Guardiola’s perceived mind games.  The City manager had suggested earlier in the day that David Silva was a doubt for the derby but, having heard Arsene Wenger say something similar about Alexandre Lacazette only for the striker to appear for Arsenal against United last weekend, Mourinho was not buying Guardiola’s claims for a minute.  It says a lot about how civil relations have been between Mourinho and Guardiola in Manchester that those remarks are about the closest things have come to a whiff of animosity, but the Portuguese has enough selection headaches of his own to contend with without trying to second guess his counterpart’s every move.  CSKA may not be up to much – defeat here consigned them to the Europa League as Basel took second spot in Group A – but Paul Pogba underlined just how big a loss his absence through suspension will be in midfield for United, especially as Mourinho said Nemanja Matic will be asked to play through injury against City.  Luke Shaw was impressive on his return to first team action Credit: AFP It is uncertain United have another player who can, at will, produce the sort of sumptuous pass that Pogba provided for Romelu Lukaku to claim only his second goal in 13 matches, cancelling out Alan Dzagoev’s fortuitous first-half goal in the process and kick-starting a 66-second fightback that rubber-stamped top spot in Group A. But at least Mourinho has Lukaku back among the goals.  Mourinho suggested that mattered less to him than the player, but it was a welcome fillip for the Belgium striker, even if his all-around performance, like against Arsenal, hardly pointed to a crisis of confidence. Mourinho will certainly hope Lukaku leads the line with the same sort of gusto he did against the Russians.  Marcus Rashford was just as lively here, and although there are no guarantees he will start against City after losing ground to Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard of late, this was a performance full of cunning and running from the England forward, who also claimed the winner with his first goal in 10 games.  Despite resting a posse of players for the derby, there was still no space in the squad for Henrikh Mkhitaryan, with the Armenian nowhere to be seen for the fifth time in six matches, although there was a spot for another outcast.  This was Luke Shaw’s first start for United for seven months and his first appearance in the Champions League since he suffered a double leg break in September 2015 that has wreaked havoc with his career since. But if he is to turn things around at United, this was a good place to start.  He might have done a little better for CSKA’s goal, but he got forward with pace and purpose, drew a fine save in the first half and, with a little more composure, might have teed up Rashford for a goal only to over-hit his pass after a surging run into the penalty area.  By the end, even Mourinho – his harshest critic – was glowing in his praise. United had been so dominant in that opening period, with Rashford also hitting a post, that it was a surprise to most to see CSKA take the lead, and in slightly unusual circumstances. Shaw had failed to track Mario Fernandes’s run and Daley Blind could not prevent the CSKA wing-back from pulling the ball back for Vitinho, whose shot was heading wide only for it to bounce in off the back of Dzagoev.  Man Utd vs CSKA Moscow shots on goal Dzagoev initially looked offside but Blind, who had slid off the pitch trying and failing to thwart Fernandes, was still correctly deemed active and so the goal stood. Indeed, the rules state that “a defending player who leaves the field of play without the referee’s permission shall be considered to be on the goal line or touchline for the purposes of offside until the next stoppage in play”.  It was fanciful to think CSKA could hold on to their lead, though, and within a quick burst midway through the second period, they went from being in front to trailing. Anyone doubting how badly Pogba will be missed against City need only watch his involvement for the first goal. Picking up a pass from Chris Smalling 30 yards from CSKA’s goal, he curled a delicious left-footed pass into the penalty area for Lukaku to attack. It was the sort of ball that is a nightmare to defend but which strikers thrive upon and Lukaku reacted quickest, holding off Viktor Vasin to steer a controlled left-footed volley past Igor Akinfeev.  Man Utd 1 - 1 CSKA Moscow (Romelu Lukaku, 64 min) One became two soon after and again the finish was exemplary. Lukaku flicked on a long ball, Rashford gave chase, the ball bounced off Vasin to Juan Mata, who lobbed a pass over the top of CSKA’s two defenders and into the path of Rashford, who drilled his shot beautifully into the far corner. It is 51 years since United last went 40 games undefeated at home. All Mourinho cares about for now, though, is beating City on Sunday.  Man Utd 2 - 1 CSKA Moscow (Marcus Rashford, 66 min) 10:02PM Jose Mourinho post-match "We confirm the way we want to confirm, playing well, having a result. At half time we were losing but playing well, I was not unhappy at all, we had a strong reaction, played professionally. "If I could choose goalscorers I would always choose the strikers because their confidence sometimes depends on that. Lukaku I think his work for the team is... pftt... crazy.  "Other guys not playing so much, Luke Shaw offensively was very good. I'm really happy. "He was waiting for quite a long time, it's not easy to give an opportunity to a player who hasn't played for many months. I wanted to make changes but changes in players who need a change, he managed to stay on for 90 minutes. I told him it's not a test and honestly I am happy with his performance." 9:48PM Pogba's flash of skill �� Behave Paul Pogba �� Outrageous piece of skill from the French star �� pic.twitter.com/104OqkzTbh— BT Sport Football (@btsportfootball) December 5, 2017   9:48PM Mata and Rashford reaction Marcus Rashford I think it's always a good feeling to get on the scoresheet but the the most important thing was to win and avoid any injuries ahead of the weekend. Juan Mata It's a new rule. We asked the referee but it counted so we have to be careful with that because it counts. It's important to win for your confidence level. Sunday is a big game, tomorrow we have day off we rest, hopefully it's a good game of football and we can get the three points. 9:41PM Average positions Average touch positions (0 min)   9:38PM The offside rule A defending player who leaves the field of play without the referee’s permission shall be considered to be on the goal line or touchline for the purposes of offside until the next stoppage in play or until the defending team has played the ball towards the halfway line and it is outside their penalty area. If the player left the field of play deliberately, the player must be cautioned when the ball is next out of play. Turns out I was rather wrong. Apologies to you, Mr Referee. 9:36PM FULL TIME United deserve their win and finish top of their group on merit. Luke Shaw had a great comeback and will surely be given chances in the coming weeks but Mourinho will be most pleased with the relative ease his players saw off this CSKA side, even if the finishing wasn't quite at the level he'll need it if United are to progress. Job done. From Russia with goalie gloves. 9:35PM 90 mins +2 Credit: GETTY IMAGES Credit: GETTY IMAGES CSKA have brought rather a few fans and none of them seem to mind it's cold. That is because it's Manchester cold and not Russia cold.  9:33PM 90 mins You can't say Man Utd haven't tried to extend their lead tonight: Man Utd vs CSKA Moscow shots on goal  Still just a little profligate. That was what worried Mourinho last season. 9:30PM 88 mins Rashford does well to skip away from a defender at the halfway line and break to the penalty area but when he gets there, his choice of final pass isn't quite good enough and CSKA can block the path.  9:27PM 85 mins And it's nearly 2-2! That's a really smart save by Romero! CSKA are somehow able to cut the defence open and very nearly grab a late equaliser. Update on the offside goal fiasco: Manchester United have turned it around and lead 2-1. The CSKA goal was correctly given. If a player leaves the field he’s deemed as being on the byline. I got it wrong at halftime so apologies and well played, referee.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) December 5, 2017   9:24PM 83 mins Martial goes down on the edge of the area, Rashford flicks the ball across the penalty area and the ref doesn't bring play back for a free-kick after the non-advantage. Another interesting decision. Vitinho - the goalscorer - comes off for Zhamaletdinov. 9:21PM 80 mins Man Utd's goals: 64' - Man United 1-1 CSKA Moscow 66' - Man United 2-1 CSKA Moscow You wait 64 minutes for a goal and two come along in 66 seconds... Lukaku and Rashford fire United ahead ��⚪️ pic.twitter.com/9KdygkJ5ku— BT Sport Football (@btsportfootball) December 5, 2017   9:20PM 79 mins Luke Shaw has gone down with what may well be cramp. He hasn't played any football this season so that's to be expected and to be fair, Shaw has been excellent tonight, if we ignore the momentary lapse in concentration that led to CSKA's non-goal-that-was. 9:17PM 76 mins McTominay is booked straight away with a late, lunging tackle, earning valuable XP in the process. You can't do that in the Champions League, young Scott. Lukaku comes off for Martial and will sleep well tonight after that goal. Mourinho gives him a hug as he comes off and is sent straight to the changing room to join Antonio Valencia. Mourinho's already getting his players prepared for the derby on Sunday. Pogba hits a shot from miles away but misses the target.  Wayne Rooney is watching in the crowd. Eagle eyes from the BT Sport camerapeople! 9:14PM 73 mins Axel Tuanzebe is getting warmed up on the touchline. Mata is able to outsprint Berezutski on the left... Valencia is taken off for the final 20 minutes in place of Tuanzebe, handing the captain's armband to Chris Smalling.  9:11PM 70 mins Scott McTominay is on for Ander Herrera. This game has completely changed in three minutes. How bizarre. FC Basel are 2-0 up on Benfica just now so it doesn't even really matter if CSKA do get back into this one. Pogba has just drawn the same reaction from the Old Trafford crowd as a firework gets. "Ooooohhhhhh!" they say collectively, as the Frenchman pulls off a wonderful bit of skill in the CSKA half. 9:08PM GOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLL! RASHFORD MAKES IT TWO! Man Utd 2 - 1 CSKA Moscow (Marcus Rashford, 66 min) CSKA get caught as Lukaku flicks on a long ball from Valencia, Mata weights a perfect looping pass back over to Rashford, and the forward waits for the ball to drop before powering a left-footed finish into the bottom corner. 9:07PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLL! Brilliant from Lukaku! What a finish that is!  Man Utd 1 - 1 CSKA Moscow (Romelu Lukaku, 64 min) The pass is stunning too. He controls, turns and sees the space ahead of Lukaku who holds off his man and executes a stretching, jumping, cushioned volleyed finish.  9:05PM 64 mins CSKA are camped in their own half - they can't get out! Pogba somehow manages to control a wild Lukaku first-time pass but CSKA do win the ball back and have a counter-attack chance on now... Blind heads away and now Rashford can run at goal. Mata finds Pogba, who plays it back to Mata, who switches to the right wing. Valencia looks for Lukaku but he doesn't get enough on his header and it's cleared. Shaw tracks back and wins another tackle. 9:02PM 61 mins RASHFORDDDDD hits the wall and the ball deflects behind for a corner. United work the ball around the final third, Rashford crosses it in and Akinfeev flaps at it. United keep the pressure up, Shaw finds Mata with a really intelligent first time pass and then Herrera is held back and pulled to the ground inside the D. That should be a free-kick... but it isn't. This referee is... interesting. 9:00PM 59 mins Superb from Pogba. He comes to life 30 yards from goal, skips past one defender, plays a one-two and is barged to the ground on the edge of the box. This is a fantastic position for a free-kick, on the edge of the D, and Pogba, Mata and Rashford all fancy it.  8:57PM 56 mins So close United! Smalling (!) attacks a header at the back post as Mata pulls it across goal but he misses the goal. Another big chance, although that was a difficult one. Out: Man Utd 0 - 1 CSKA Moscow (Chris Smalling, 55 min)   8:56PM 54 mins Shaw has the pace and strength to send Golovin flying as they contest a ball on the touchline. Great play again from the left-back. Credit: GETTY IMAGES Here's Daley Blind sitting down after sliding out of play, back in the simpler minutes when the referees  were trying to make out that Blind was playing Dzagoev onside. 8:53PM 51 mins Ironic cheers from the Man Utd fans as Dzagoev is ruled to be offside. I wonder if the officials have reviewed that goal during the break? Intriguingly, the goal has been given to Vitinho and not Dzagoev. Vitinho shot, it hit Dzagoev in an offside position, and the official stance is that Dzagoev... doesn't exist. We live in an alternate reality. 8:50PM 48 mins Rashford has the CSKA defence all sussed out but just can't find a finish yet. He goes close again early in the second half.  Attempt Saved: Man Utd 0 - 1 CSKA Moscow (Marcus Rashford, 47 min)   8:47PM KICK-OFF 2 We're back! How will Man Utd respond? With goals probably. 8:47PM Tough translation of the offside rule "If a player goes deliberately off the pitch then he's onside but if he slides off accidentally then it should be offside." So because the referee thought Blind could get back on the pitch, he awarded the goal. Not for me, Clive. He's done a massive wrong there. 8:37PM Half time stats Man Utd vs CSKA Moscow shots on goal Man Utd vs CSKA Moscow   8:33PM HALF TIME Well well well! Who saw that coming? United are in control of the game but not the score. I'd expect that to change in the second half. 8:33PM  GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! CSKA have taken the lead! Wow! Where did that come from? Man Utd 0 - 1 CSKA Moscow (Alan Dzagoev, 45 min) And more importantly, should it count?! Almost certainly not! The ball clearly hits the man circled, who is obviously offside. What on earth does that referee behind the goal-line even do? We'll need some clarification, but from my understanding of the rules, that is 100 per cent offside. 8:29PM 45 mins Valencia tries to go around the inside Nababkin, the defender falls down and takes Valencia with him. It's not a penalty... but that little incident has denied Valencia the chance to get in at goal. Shouldn't it be a foul? Owen Hargreaves says it'd be harsh. 8:28PM 43mins Man Utd have dominated the midfield battle tonight and are having most fun attacking down the left wing. Whether that's because Shaw happens to be there or because Mourinho is focusing play on that channel is something I'm not sure about yet. Average touch positions (40 min)   8:26PM 42 mins Another great tackle by Shaw who matches the pace of the wide player and then slides in perfectly to put it behind. Pogba leads the counter-attack from the corner, Rashford comes inside and very nearly finds Pogba with a clever reverse pass. Pogba wins a corner with some trickery, balance and strength. United are going to really miss Pogba against Man City - some of the stuff he does with the ball is entirely unique to him. 8:24PM 39 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES Mata's given the ball away in his own area! Smalling doesn't read the pass, Shaw has to be careful not to bring Chalov down... he's falling like a cut tree... and Shaw flies into the next challenge, clearing the ball cleanly while taking the man out. It looks a little bit like a penalty but the replay shows Shaw has done brilliantly to clean up that mess.  8:21PM 36 mins What a pass. Lukaku keeps the ball in play, finds Pogba inside the pitch and then sprints into space on the left. Pogba knows where he's going and drops a beautiful pass in his running path but Lukaku doesn't take it down, let's it bounce and by the time he can actually touch the ball, can only cross it. His attempted pass isn't that bad really, but no-one is in the area looking for the cut-back.  8:19PM 33 mins Shaw is having a strong game here, defending well and using his pace to get forward when possible. Maybe he has a football brain after all. CSKA are getting the ball into the final third and being forced all the way back. United are organised and look at least a level above. 8:15PM 30 mins Man Utd vs CSKA Moscow shots on goal   8:12PM 27 mins Wild effort from Vitinho. He strikes across the ball from 20 yards and watches the ball drift into the crowd and must have known he's never beating Romero from there.  8:09PM 24 mins Possession: Man Utd vs CSKA Moscow  United's shape really suits Mata. And Shaw, it turns out! The latter spots Pogba on the ball and sprints to burn past the last man, creating a through-ball opportunity which Pogba passes into. Shaw is in behind, crosses to Rashford and it must be the opening goal... but the ball is slightly hard and just too far ahead of Rashford.  Pass: Man Utd 0 - 0 CSKA Moscow (Luke Shaw, 22 min)   8:07PM 21 mins SO CLOSE UNITED! It's another quick, flowing move and Valencia crosses from the right wing into the box. It misses everyone, Shaw turns up at hte back post and hits a sweet first-time volley back across goal. Saved! Lukaku goes for the rebound but doesn't do enough and it's saved. United are creating some decent chances here. Attempt Saved: Man Utd 0 - 0 CSKA Moscow (Luke Shaw, 20 min)   8:04PM 20 mins Rashford tries a smart turn and beats one man but has another defender further back to beat. Blind steps out to intercept in the centre-circle and suddenly United are on the attack! Lukaku faces up to the central defenders, does a few step-overs and is easily tackled.  8:02PM 17 mins Great move from United! Mata's control and touch are brilliant and Rashford is able to run onto the ball into the box and attempts a side foot shot. The goalie gets down to save and Lukaku is too wide to get on the rebound. Attempt Saved: Man Utd 0 - 0 CSKA Moscow (Marcus Rashford, 15 min)   7:59PM 14 mins Dzagoev gets a shot away from 25 yards but it rolls harmlessly to the waiting Romero. United are kicking the ball to midfield from the goalkeeper and winning the second ball, bypassing the attempted high press of CSKA. Rashford takes a knock to the head from Berezutski but will survive. 7:56PM 11 mins Romero has just gotten away with a poor pass, making Smalling scramble to reach it before the waiting CSKA forwards can pounce and counter. Credit: GETTY IMAGES   7:55PM 9 mins Man Utd have never lost at home to a Russian team apparently. Judging by this early start, that won't change tonight.  Shaw clears a corner but only as far as the CSKA midfield who work hard to get the ball back in an attacking position.  Mata is enjoying his central role and holds the ball until Valencia can join in down the right. The Ecuadorian tries a shot at goal but is blocked and it's a corner. Blind tries a super volley from distance and it's another corner. 7:52PM 6 mins CSKA want to pass around the United final third but can't quite find the final ball. Lukaku and Rashford are waiting high up the pitch to counter-attack, Lukaku gets the ball and feeds in Rashford... HE'S ONE ON ONE! Shoots... and it's in! NO! The ball comes back off the post! Huge moment and it's cleared behind for a corner which the Russians clear. Rashford should have scored. Post: Man Utd 0 - 0 CSKA Moscow (Marcus Rashford, 4 min)  And United are in again! The ball is fizzed across the six yard box but nobody can poke it in. Shaw takes too long and has his shot blocked at the edge of the area. United are dangerous on the counter here! 7:47PM 3 mins It's a fairly scrappy opening with both teams swapping possession. United looking to start slowly and keep the ball where possible but CSKA are pressing them high trying to win it back. 7:46PM KICK-OFF CSKA get us started. 7:44PM No Champions League theme Shenanigans! Something's gone wrong with the p.a there.  7:34PM Mourinho pre-match "The ones we save is because they need to be saved. Matic is injured. "Luke Shaw plays now and is a good opportunity for him but I don't want to look at it as though it's now or never, the group is good, people fight to have an opportunity. It's not an exam, they have to play, they have conditions to play. Hopefully they don't focus on individuals, focus on the team as a whole." 7:25PM Players warming up Credit: REUTERS   7:23PM Man Utd's best players Some make an appearance in our ranking of Premier League players right here: Babbello Index November This doesn't take the Champions League into account by the way.  7:11PM Paul Scholes on Shaw "He doesn't live as clean a life as he should. I hope there's a future for him because a few seasons ago I thought we were signing one of the best left-backs in the world." 7:09PM Mkhitaryan not even on the bench It's not really working out for the Armenian at Old Trafford. Yet again he's not even made the United squad and he's come under intense scrutiny from his manager. 6:59PM Shaw's 50th appearance It really doesn't feel like he's played that many games for... anyone actually, but apparently Luke Shaw will play his 50th tonight for Man Utd alone. This #UCL match marks a milestone appearance for @LukeShaw23! pic.twitter.com/HB6ibNJIVS— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 5, 2017 In previous months Jose Mourinho has been heavily critical of a footballer nowhere near his potential: "He was in front of me and I was making every decision for him," said Mourinho in April this year. "He has to change his football brain. We need his fantastic physical and technical qualities but he cannot play with my brain."   "He must accelerate the process. Twenty-one is old enough to have a better understanding. He has a future here but Manchester United cannot wait." 6:53PM CSKA Moscow starting XI 3-4-3 Akinfeev; Ignashevich, Vasin, Berezutski; Fernandes, Golovin, Kuchaev, Nababkin; Vitinho, Chalov, Dzagoev 6:50PM Man Utd starting lineup Tonight's #MUFC team to face CSKA Moscow... pic.twitter.com/7o29qkl4Cp— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 5, 2017 No messing around from Mourinho here - he's gone for a first choice starting XI to make sure United get the job done. If they are able to put a bit of distance, say two or three goals, past CSKA we might see one of the young substitutes later on. Luke Shaw has a gigantic chance to ensure he isn't written out of Mourinho's plans going forward. 6:38PM Hello Good evening and welcome to our liveblog for Man Utd's final Champions League group game of the competition. CSKA Moscow are the visitors tonight and will not be easy opposition, with the Russians sitting level on nine points with FC Basel and certainly committed to getting a result that will see them through to the knock-out stages. United are top of the table with 12 points and will only miss out on progressing to the money-making latter stages if they lose six goals. So it's improbable... but not impossible (it basically is). Jose Mourinho can't afford to take it lightly then but may well take the opportunity to rest some key players, the most likely being Romelu Lukaku making way for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and maybe even some academy graduates. Who'd have thought? Credit: REUTERS The pitch looks lovely, Paul Pogba will grace it with his presence before he sits out however many games he has to miss through suspension, and those factors alone should guarantee some goals in this game. CSKA need to win since it's unlikely that Basel will lose to Benfica on current form, and to do that they have to attack. We'll find out the teams soon and can work out the gameplans accordingly!  Mourinho said previously: "I am going to make a few, but not too many changes. "We didn't qualify yet, we didn't finish first in the group yet, there are other clubs also involved in qualification and I need to keep a certain balance in the team. "But when we speak about Luke Shaw, he's working to have an opportunity and sooner or later that opportunity will arrive because he deserves that opportunity. "He is selected for tomorrow for sure... to start or be on the bench, I cannot answer."

Man Utd 2 CSKA Moscow 1: United top their group as Marcus Rashford completes comeback

It remains to be seen whether Manchester United derive any benefit from winning their Champions League group. Real Madrid, the ­European champions, last season’s beaten finalists Juventus and Bayern Munich, all of whom have finished second in their respective groups, could lie in store when the draw for the round of 16 is made on Monday.  But that is a matter for another day. For now, all focus turns to Sunday’s derby against Manchester City and, while Jose Mourinho was happy with how United warmed up for a potentially defining game in the Premier League title race by coming from behind to beat CSKA Moscow and equal a club record 40 games unbeaten at Old Trafford, he was less amused by Pep Guardiola’s perceived mind games.  The City manager had suggested earlier in the day that David Silva was a doubt for the derby but, having heard Arsene Wenger say something similar about Alexandre Lacazette only for the striker to appear for Arsenal against United last weekend, Mourinho was not buying Guardiola’s claims for a minute.  It says a lot about how civil relations have been between Mourinho and Guardiola in Manchester that those remarks are about the closest things have come to a whiff of animosity, but the Portuguese has enough selection headaches of his own to contend with without trying to second guess his counterpart’s every move.  CSKA may not be up to much – defeat here consigned them to the Europa League as Basel took second spot in Group A – but Paul Pogba underlined just how big a loss his absence through suspension will be in midfield for United, especially as Mourinho said Nemanja Matic will be asked to play through injury against City.  Luke Shaw was impressive on his return to first team action Credit: AFP It is uncertain United have another player who can, at will, produce the sort of sumptuous pass that Pogba provided for Romelu Lukaku to claim only his second goal in 13 matches, cancelling out Alan Dzagoev’s fortuitous first-half goal in the process and kick-starting a 66-second fightback that rubber-stamped top spot in Group A. But at least Mourinho has Lukaku back among the goals.  Mourinho suggested that mattered less to him than the player, but it was a welcome fillip for the Belgium striker, even if his all-around performance, like against Arsenal, hardly pointed to a crisis of confidence. Mourinho will certainly hope Lukaku leads the line with the same sort of gusto he did against the Russians.  Marcus Rashford was just as lively here, and although there are no guarantees he will start against City after losing ground to Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard of late, this was a performance full of cunning and running from the England forward, who also claimed the winner with his first goal in 10 games.  Despite resting a posse of players for the derby, there was still no space in the squad for Henrikh Mkhitaryan, with the Armenian nowhere to be seen for the fifth time in six matches, although there was a spot for another outcast.  This was Luke Shaw’s first start for United for seven months and his first appearance in the Champions League since he suffered a double leg break in September 2015 that has wreaked havoc with his career since. But if he is to turn things around at United, this was a good place to start.  He might have done a little better for CSKA’s goal, but he got forward with pace and purpose, drew a fine save in the first half and, with a little more composure, might have teed up Rashford for a goal only to over-hit his pass after a surging run into the penalty area.  By the end, even Mourinho – his harshest critic – was glowing in his praise. United had been so dominant in that opening period, with Rashford also hitting a post, that it was a surprise to most to see CSKA take the lead, and in slightly unusual circumstances. Shaw had failed to track Mario Fernandes’s run and Daley Blind could not prevent the CSKA wing-back from pulling the ball back for Vitinho, whose shot was heading wide only for it to bounce in off the back of Dzagoev.  Man Utd vs CSKA Moscow shots on goal Dzagoev initially looked offside but Blind, who had slid off the pitch trying and failing to thwart Fernandes, was still correctly deemed active and so the goal stood. Indeed, the rules state that “a defending player who leaves the field of play without the referee’s permission shall be considered to be on the goal line or touchline for the purposes of offside until the next stoppage in play”.  It was fanciful to think CSKA could hold on to their lead, though, and within a quick burst midway through the second period, they went from being in front to trailing. Anyone doubting how badly Pogba will be missed against City need only watch his involvement for the first goal. Picking up a pass from Chris Smalling 30 yards from CSKA’s goal, he curled a delicious left-footed pass into the penalty area for Lukaku to attack. It was the sort of ball that is a nightmare to defend but which strikers thrive upon and Lukaku reacted quickest, holding off Viktor Vasin to steer a controlled left-footed volley past Igor Akinfeev.  Man Utd 1 - 1 CSKA Moscow (Romelu Lukaku, 64 min) One became two soon after and again the finish was exemplary. Lukaku flicked on a long ball, Rashford gave chase, the ball bounced off Vasin to Juan Mata, who lobbed a pass over the top of CSKA’s two defenders and into the path of Rashford, who drilled his shot beautifully into the far corner. It is 51 years since United last went 40 games undefeated at home. All Mourinho cares about for now, though, is beating City on Sunday.  Man Utd 2 - 1 CSKA Moscow (Marcus Rashford, 66 min) 10:02PM Jose Mourinho post-match "We confirm the way we want to confirm, playing well, having a result. At half time we were losing but playing well, I was not unhappy at all, we had a strong reaction, played professionally. "If I could choose goalscorers I would always choose the strikers because their confidence sometimes depends on that. Lukaku I think his work for the team is... pftt... crazy.  "Other guys not playing so much, Luke Shaw offensively was very good. I'm really happy. "He was waiting for quite a long time, it's not easy to give an opportunity to a player who hasn't played for many months. I wanted to make changes but changes in players who need a change, he managed to stay on for 90 minutes. I told him it's not a test and honestly I am happy with his performance." 9:48PM Pogba's flash of skill �� Behave Paul Pogba �� Outrageous piece of skill from the French star �� pic.twitter.com/104OqkzTbh— BT Sport Football (@btsportfootball) December 5, 2017   9:48PM Mata and Rashford reaction Marcus Rashford I think it's always a good feeling to get on the scoresheet but the the most important thing was to win and avoid any injuries ahead of the weekend. Juan Mata It's a new rule. We asked the referee but it counted so we have to be careful with that because it counts. It's important to win for your confidence level. Sunday is a big game, tomorrow we have day off we rest, hopefully it's a good game of football and we can get the three points. 9:41PM Average positions Average touch positions (0 min)   9:38PM The offside rule A defending player who leaves the field of play without the referee’s permission shall be considered to be on the goal line or touchline for the purposes of offside until the next stoppage in play or until the defending team has played the ball towards the halfway line and it is outside their penalty area. If the player left the field of play deliberately, the player must be cautioned when the ball is next out of play. Turns out I was rather wrong. Apologies to you, Mr Referee. 9:36PM FULL TIME United deserve their win and finish top of their group on merit. Luke Shaw had a great comeback and will surely be given chances in the coming weeks but Mourinho will be most pleased with the relative ease his players saw off this CSKA side, even if the finishing wasn't quite at the level he'll need it if United are to progress. Job done. From Russia with goalie gloves. 9:35PM 90 mins +2 Credit: GETTY IMAGES Credit: GETTY IMAGES CSKA have brought rather a few fans and none of them seem to mind it's cold. That is because it's Manchester cold and not Russia cold.  9:33PM 90 mins You can't say Man Utd haven't tried to extend their lead tonight: Man Utd vs CSKA Moscow shots on goal  Still just a little profligate. That was what worried Mourinho last season. 9:30PM 88 mins Rashford does well to skip away from a defender at the halfway line and break to the penalty area but when he gets there, his choice of final pass isn't quite good enough and CSKA can block the path.  9:27PM 85 mins And it's nearly 2-2! That's a really smart save by Romero! CSKA are somehow able to cut the defence open and very nearly grab a late equaliser. Update on the offside goal fiasco: Manchester United have turned it around and lead 2-1. The CSKA goal was correctly given. If a player leaves the field he’s deemed as being on the byline. I got it wrong at halftime so apologies and well played, referee.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) December 5, 2017   9:24PM 83 mins Martial goes down on the edge of the area, Rashford flicks the ball across the penalty area and the ref doesn't bring play back for a free-kick after the non-advantage. Another interesting decision. Vitinho - the goalscorer - comes off for Zhamaletdinov. 9:21PM 80 mins Man Utd's goals: 64' - Man United 1-1 CSKA Moscow 66' - Man United 2-1 CSKA Moscow You wait 64 minutes for a goal and two come along in 66 seconds... Lukaku and Rashford fire United ahead ��⚪️ pic.twitter.com/9KdygkJ5ku— BT Sport Football (@btsportfootball) December 5, 2017   9:20PM 79 mins Luke Shaw has gone down with what may well be cramp. He hasn't played any football this season so that's to be expected and to be fair, Shaw has been excellent tonight, if we ignore the momentary lapse in concentration that led to CSKA's non-goal-that-was. 9:17PM 76 mins McTominay is booked straight away with a late, lunging tackle, earning valuable XP in the process. You can't do that in the Champions League, young Scott. Lukaku comes off for Martial and will sleep well tonight after that goal. Mourinho gives him a hug as he comes off and is sent straight to the changing room to join Antonio Valencia. Mourinho's already getting his players prepared for the derby on Sunday. Pogba hits a shot from miles away but misses the target.  Wayne Rooney is watching in the crowd. Eagle eyes from the BT Sport camerapeople! 9:14PM 73 mins Axel Tuanzebe is getting warmed up on the touchline. Mata is able to outsprint Berezutski on the left... Valencia is taken off for the final 20 minutes in place of Tuanzebe, handing the captain's armband to Chris Smalling.  9:11PM 70 mins Scott McTominay is on for Ander Herrera. This game has completely changed in three minutes. How bizarre. FC Basel are 2-0 up on Benfica just now so it doesn't even really matter if CSKA do get back into this one. Pogba has just drawn the same reaction from the Old Trafford crowd as a firework gets. "Ooooohhhhhh!" they say collectively, as the Frenchman pulls off a wonderful bit of skill in the CSKA half. 9:08PM GOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLL! RASHFORD MAKES IT TWO! Man Utd 2 - 1 CSKA Moscow (Marcus Rashford, 66 min) CSKA get caught as Lukaku flicks on a long ball from Valencia, Mata weights a perfect looping pass back over to Rashford, and the forward waits for the ball to drop before powering a left-footed finish into the bottom corner. 9:07PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLL! Brilliant from Lukaku! What a finish that is!  Man Utd 1 - 1 CSKA Moscow (Romelu Lukaku, 64 min) The pass is stunning too. He controls, turns and sees the space ahead of Lukaku who holds off his man and executes a stretching, jumping, cushioned volleyed finish.  9:05PM 64 mins CSKA are camped in their own half - they can't get out! Pogba somehow manages to control a wild Lukaku first-time pass but CSKA do win the ball back and have a counter-attack chance on now... Blind heads away and now Rashford can run at goal. Mata finds Pogba, who plays it back to Mata, who switches to the right wing. Valencia looks for Lukaku but he doesn't get enough on his header and it's cleared. Shaw tracks back and wins another tackle. 9:02PM 61 mins RASHFORDDDDD hits the wall and the ball deflects behind for a corner. United work the ball around the final third, Rashford crosses it in and Akinfeev flaps at it. United keep the pressure up, Shaw finds Mata with a really intelligent first time pass and then Herrera is held back and pulled to the ground inside the D. That should be a free-kick... but it isn't. This referee is... interesting. 9:00PM 59 mins Superb from Pogba. He comes to life 30 yards from goal, skips past one defender, plays a one-two and is barged to the ground on the edge of the box. This is a fantastic position for a free-kick, on the edge of the D, and Pogba, Mata and Rashford all fancy it.  8:57PM 56 mins So close United! Smalling (!) attacks a header at the back post as Mata pulls it across goal but he misses the goal. Another big chance, although that was a difficult one. Out: Man Utd 0 - 1 CSKA Moscow (Chris Smalling, 55 min)   8:56PM 54 mins Shaw has the pace and strength to send Golovin flying as they contest a ball on the touchline. Great play again from the left-back. Credit: GETTY IMAGES Here's Daley Blind sitting down after sliding out of play, back in the simpler minutes when the referees  were trying to make out that Blind was playing Dzagoev onside. 8:53PM 51 mins Ironic cheers from the Man Utd fans as Dzagoev is ruled to be offside. I wonder if the officials have reviewed that goal during the break? Intriguingly, the goal has been given to Vitinho and not Dzagoev. Vitinho shot, it hit Dzagoev in an offside position, and the official stance is that Dzagoev... doesn't exist. We live in an alternate reality. 8:50PM 48 mins Rashford has the CSKA defence all sussed out but just can't find a finish yet. He goes close again early in the second half.  Attempt Saved: Man Utd 0 - 1 CSKA Moscow (Marcus Rashford, 47 min)   8:47PM KICK-OFF 2 We're back! How will Man Utd respond? With goals probably. 8:47PM Tough translation of the offside rule "If a player goes deliberately off the pitch then he's onside but if he slides off accidentally then it should be offside." So because the referee thought Blind could get back on the pitch, he awarded the goal. Not for me, Clive. He's done a massive wrong there. 8:37PM Half time stats Man Utd vs CSKA Moscow shots on goal Man Utd vs CSKA Moscow   8:33PM HALF TIME Well well well! Who saw that coming? United are in control of the game but not the score. I'd expect that to change in the second half. 8:33PM  GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! CSKA have taken the lead! Wow! Where did that come from? Man Utd 0 - 1 CSKA Moscow (Alan Dzagoev, 45 min) And more importantly, should it count?! Almost certainly not! The ball clearly hits the man circled, who is obviously offside. What on earth does that referee behind the goal-line even do? We'll need some clarification, but from my understanding of the rules, that is 100 per cent offside. 8:29PM 45 mins Valencia tries to go around the inside Nababkin, the defender falls down and takes Valencia with him. It's not a penalty... but that little incident has denied Valencia the chance to get in at goal. Shouldn't it be a foul? Owen Hargreaves says it'd be harsh. 8:28PM 43mins Man Utd have dominated the midfield battle tonight and are having most fun attacking down the left wing. Whether that's because Shaw happens to be there or because Mourinho is focusing play on that channel is something I'm not sure about yet. Average touch positions (40 min)   8:26PM 42 mins Another great tackle by Shaw who matches the pace of the wide player and then slides in perfectly to put it behind. Pogba leads the counter-attack from the corner, Rashford comes inside and very nearly finds Pogba with a clever reverse pass. Pogba wins a corner with some trickery, balance and strength. United are going to really miss Pogba against Man City - some of the stuff he does with the ball is entirely unique to him. 8:24PM 39 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES Mata's given the ball away in his own area! Smalling doesn't read the pass, Shaw has to be careful not to bring Chalov down... he's falling like a cut tree... and Shaw flies into the next challenge, clearing the ball cleanly while taking the man out. It looks a little bit like a penalty but the replay shows Shaw has done brilliantly to clean up that mess.  8:21PM 36 mins What a pass. Lukaku keeps the ball in play, finds Pogba inside the pitch and then sprints into space on the left. Pogba knows where he's going and drops a beautiful pass in his running path but Lukaku doesn't take it down, let's it bounce and by the time he can actually touch the ball, can only cross it. His attempted pass isn't that bad really, but no-one is in the area looking for the cut-back.  8:19PM 33 mins Shaw is having a strong game here, defending well and using his pace to get forward when possible. Maybe he has a football brain after all. CSKA are getting the ball into the final third and being forced all the way back. United are organised and look at least a level above. 8:15PM 30 mins Man Utd vs CSKA Moscow shots on goal   8:12PM 27 mins Wild effort from Vitinho. He strikes across the ball from 20 yards and watches the ball drift into the crowd and must have known he's never beating Romero from there.  8:09PM 24 mins Possession: Man Utd vs CSKA Moscow  United's shape really suits Mata. And Shaw, it turns out! The latter spots Pogba on the ball and sprints to burn past the last man, creating a through-ball opportunity which Pogba passes into. Shaw is in behind, crosses to Rashford and it must be the opening goal... but the ball is slightly hard and just too far ahead of Rashford.  Pass: Man Utd 0 - 0 CSKA Moscow (Luke Shaw, 22 min)   8:07PM 21 mins SO CLOSE UNITED! It's another quick, flowing move and Valencia crosses from the right wing into the box. It misses everyone, Shaw turns up at hte back post and hits a sweet first-time volley back across goal. Saved! Lukaku goes for the rebound but doesn't do enough and it's saved. United are creating some decent chances here. Attempt Saved: Man Utd 0 - 0 CSKA Moscow (Luke Shaw, 20 min)   8:04PM 20 mins Rashford tries a smart turn and beats one man but has another defender further back to beat. Blind steps out to intercept in the centre-circle and suddenly United are on the attack! Lukaku faces up to the central defenders, does a few step-overs and is easily tackled.  8:02PM 17 mins Great move from United! Mata's control and touch are brilliant and Rashford is able to run onto the ball into the box and attempts a side foot shot. The goalie gets down to save and Lukaku is too wide to get on the rebound. Attempt Saved: Man Utd 0 - 0 CSKA Moscow (Marcus Rashford, 15 min)   7:59PM 14 mins Dzagoev gets a shot away from 25 yards but it rolls harmlessly to the waiting Romero. United are kicking the ball to midfield from the goalkeeper and winning the second ball, bypassing the attempted high press of CSKA. Rashford takes a knock to the head from Berezutski but will survive. 7:56PM 11 mins Romero has just gotten away with a poor pass, making Smalling scramble to reach it before the waiting CSKA forwards can pounce and counter. Credit: GETTY IMAGES   7:55PM 9 mins Man Utd have never lost at home to a Russian team apparently. Judging by this early start, that won't change tonight.  Shaw clears a corner but only as far as the CSKA midfield who work hard to get the ball back in an attacking position.  Mata is enjoying his central role and holds the ball until Valencia can join in down the right. The Ecuadorian tries a shot at goal but is blocked and it's a corner. Blind tries a super volley from distance and it's another corner. 7:52PM 6 mins CSKA want to pass around the United final third but can't quite find the final ball. Lukaku and Rashford are waiting high up the pitch to counter-attack, Lukaku gets the ball and feeds in Rashford... HE'S ONE ON ONE! Shoots... and it's in! NO! The ball comes back off the post! Huge moment and it's cleared behind for a corner which the Russians clear. Rashford should have scored. Post: Man Utd 0 - 0 CSKA Moscow (Marcus Rashford, 4 min)  And United are in again! The ball is fizzed across the six yard box but nobody can poke it in. Shaw takes too long and has his shot blocked at the edge of the area. United are dangerous on the counter here! 7:47PM 3 mins It's a fairly scrappy opening with both teams swapping possession. United looking to start slowly and keep the ball where possible but CSKA are pressing them high trying to win it back. 7:46PM KICK-OFF CSKA get us started. 7:44PM No Champions League theme Shenanigans! Something's gone wrong with the p.a there.  7:34PM Mourinho pre-match "The ones we save is because they need to be saved. Matic is injured. "Luke Shaw plays now and is a good opportunity for him but I don't want to look at it as though it's now or never, the group is good, people fight to have an opportunity. It's not an exam, they have to play, they have conditions to play. Hopefully they don't focus on individuals, focus on the team as a whole." 7:25PM Players warming up Credit: REUTERS   7:23PM Man Utd's best players Some make an appearance in our ranking of Premier League players right here: Babbello Index November This doesn't take the Champions League into account by the way.  7:11PM Paul Scholes on Shaw "He doesn't live as clean a life as he should. I hope there's a future for him because a few seasons ago I thought we were signing one of the best left-backs in the world." 7:09PM Mkhitaryan not even on the bench It's not really working out for the Armenian at Old Trafford. Yet again he's not even made the United squad and he's come under intense scrutiny from his manager. 6:59PM Shaw's 50th appearance It really doesn't feel like he's played that many games for... anyone actually, but apparently Luke Shaw will play his 50th tonight for Man Utd alone. This #UCL match marks a milestone appearance for @LukeShaw23! pic.twitter.com/HB6ibNJIVS— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 5, 2017 In previous months Jose Mourinho has been heavily critical of a footballer nowhere near his potential: "He was in front of me and I was making every decision for him," said Mourinho in April this year. "He has to change his football brain. We need his fantastic physical and technical qualities but he cannot play with my brain."   "He must accelerate the process. Twenty-one is old enough to have a better understanding. He has a future here but Manchester United cannot wait." 6:53PM CSKA Moscow starting XI 3-4-3 Akinfeev; Ignashevich, Vasin, Berezutski; Fernandes, Golovin, Kuchaev, Nababkin; Vitinho, Chalov, Dzagoev 6:50PM Man Utd starting lineup Tonight's #MUFC team to face CSKA Moscow... pic.twitter.com/7o29qkl4Cp— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 5, 2017 No messing around from Mourinho here - he's gone for a first choice starting XI to make sure United get the job done. If they are able to put a bit of distance, say two or three goals, past CSKA we might see one of the young substitutes later on. Luke Shaw has a gigantic chance to ensure he isn't written out of Mourinho's plans going forward. 6:38PM Hello Good evening and welcome to our liveblog for Man Utd's final Champions League group game of the competition. CSKA Moscow are the visitors tonight and will not be easy opposition, with the Russians sitting level on nine points with FC Basel and certainly committed to getting a result that will see them through to the knock-out stages. United are top of the table with 12 points and will only miss out on progressing to the money-making latter stages if they lose six goals. So it's improbable... but not impossible (it basically is). Jose Mourinho can't afford to take it lightly then but may well take the opportunity to rest some key players, the most likely being Romelu Lukaku making way for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and maybe even some academy graduates. Who'd have thought? Credit: REUTERS The pitch looks lovely, Paul Pogba will grace it with his presence before he sits out however many games he has to miss through suspension, and those factors alone should guarantee some goals in this game. CSKA need to win since it's unlikely that Basel will lose to Benfica on current form, and to do that they have to attack. We'll find out the teams soon and can work out the gameplans accordingly!  Mourinho said previously: "I am going to make a few, but not too many changes. "We didn't qualify yet, we didn't finish first in the group yet, there are other clubs also involved in qualification and I need to keep a certain balance in the team. "But when we speak about Luke Shaw, he's working to have an opportunity and sooner or later that opportunity will arrive because he deserves that opportunity. "He is selected for tomorrow for sure... to start or be on the bench, I cannot answer."

Man Utd 2 CSKA Moscow 1: United top their group as Marcus Rashford completes comeback

It remains to be seen whether Manchester United derive any benefit from winning their Champions League group. Real Madrid, the ­European champions, last season’s beaten finalists Juventus and Bayern Munich, all of whom have finished second in their respective groups, could lie in store when the draw for the round of 16 is made on Monday.  But that is a matter for another day. For now, all focus turns to Sunday’s derby against Manchester City and, while Jose Mourinho was happy with how United warmed up for a potentially defining game in the Premier League title race by coming from behind to beat CSKA Moscow and equal a club record 40 games unbeaten at Old Trafford, he was less amused by Pep Guardiola’s perceived mind games.  The City manager had suggested earlier in the day that David Silva was a doubt for the derby but, having heard Arsene Wenger say something similar about Alexandre Lacazette only for the striker to appear for Arsenal against United last weekend, Mourinho was not buying Guardiola’s claims for a minute.  It says a lot about how civil relations have been between Mourinho and Guardiola in Manchester that those remarks are about the closest things have come to a whiff of animosity, but the Portuguese has enough selection headaches of his own to contend with without trying to second guess his counterpart’s every move.  CSKA may not be up to much – defeat here consigned them to the Europa League as Basel took second spot in Group A – but Paul Pogba underlined just how big a loss his absence through suspension will be in midfield for United, especially as Mourinho said Nemanja Matic will be asked to play through injury against City.  Luke Shaw was impressive on his return to first team action Credit: AFP It is uncertain United have another player who can, at will, produce the sort of sumptuous pass that Pogba provided for Romelu Lukaku to claim only his second goal in 13 matches, cancelling out Alan Dzagoev’s fortuitous first-half goal in the process and kick-starting a 66-second fightback that rubber-stamped top spot in Group A. But at least Mourinho has Lukaku back among the goals.  Mourinho suggested that mattered less to him than the player, but it was a welcome fillip for the Belgium striker, even if his all-around performance, like against Arsenal, hardly pointed to a crisis of confidence. Mourinho will certainly hope Lukaku leads the line with the same sort of gusto he did against the Russians.  Marcus Rashford was just as lively here, and although there are no guarantees he will start against City after losing ground to Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard of late, this was a performance full of cunning and running from the England forward, who also claimed the winner with his first goal in 10 games.  Despite resting a posse of players for the derby, there was still no space in the squad for Henrikh Mkhitaryan, with the Armenian nowhere to be seen for the fifth time in six matches, although there was a spot for another outcast.  This was Luke Shaw’s first start for United for seven months and his first appearance in the Champions League since he suffered a double leg break in September 2015 that has wreaked havoc with his career since. But if he is to turn things around at United, this was a good place to start.  He might have done a little better for CSKA’s goal, but he got forward with pace and purpose, drew a fine save in the first half and, with a little more composure, might have teed up Rashford for a goal only to over-hit his pass after a surging run into the penalty area.  By the end, even Mourinho – his harshest critic – was glowing in his praise. United had been so dominant in that opening period, with Rashford also hitting a post, that it was a surprise to most to see CSKA take the lead, and in slightly unusual circumstances. Shaw had failed to track Mario Fernandes’s run and Daley Blind could not prevent the CSKA wing-back from pulling the ball back for Vitinho, whose shot was heading wide only for it to bounce in off the back of Dzagoev.  Man Utd vs CSKA Moscow shots on goal Dzagoev initially looked offside but Blind, who had slid off the pitch trying and failing to thwart Fernandes, was still correctly deemed active and so the goal stood. Indeed, the rules state that “a defending player who leaves the field of play without the referee’s permission shall be considered to be on the goal line or touchline for the purposes of offside until the next stoppage in play”.  It was fanciful to think CSKA could hold on to their lead, though, and within a quick burst midway through the second period, they went from being in front to trailing. Anyone doubting how badly Pogba will be missed against City need only watch his involvement for the first goal. Picking up a pass from Chris Smalling 30 yards from CSKA’s goal, he curled a delicious left-footed pass into the penalty area for Lukaku to attack. It was the sort of ball that is a nightmare to defend but which strikers thrive upon and Lukaku reacted quickest, holding off Viktor Vasin to steer a controlled left-footed volley past Igor Akinfeev.  Man Utd 1 - 1 CSKA Moscow (Romelu Lukaku, 64 min) One became two soon after and again the finish was exemplary. Lukaku flicked on a long ball, Rashford gave chase, the ball bounced off Vasin to Juan Mata, who lobbed a pass over the top of CSKA’s two defenders and into the path of Rashford, who drilled his shot beautifully into the far corner. It is 51 years since United last went 40 games undefeated at home. All Mourinho cares about for now, though, is beating City on Sunday.  Man Utd 2 - 1 CSKA Moscow (Marcus Rashford, 66 min) 10:02PM Jose Mourinho post-match "We confirm the way we want to confirm, playing well, having a result. At half time we were losing but playing well, I was not unhappy at all, we had a strong reaction, played professionally. "If I could choose goalscorers I would always choose the strikers because their confidence sometimes depends on that. Lukaku I think his work for the team is... pftt... crazy.  "Other guys not playing so much, Luke Shaw offensively was very good. I'm really happy. "He was waiting for quite a long time, it's not easy to give an opportunity to a player who hasn't played for many months. I wanted to make changes but changes in players who need a change, he managed to stay on for 90 minutes. I told him it's not a test and honestly I am happy with his performance." 9:48PM Pogba's flash of skill �� Behave Paul Pogba �� Outrageous piece of skill from the French star �� pic.twitter.com/104OqkzTbh— BT Sport Football (@btsportfootball) December 5, 2017   9:48PM Mata and Rashford reaction Marcus Rashford I think it's always a good feeling to get on the scoresheet but the the most important thing was to win and avoid any injuries ahead of the weekend. Juan Mata It's a new rule. We asked the referee but it counted so we have to be careful with that because it counts. It's important to win for your confidence level. Sunday is a big game, tomorrow we have day off we rest, hopefully it's a good game of football and we can get the three points. 9:41PM Average positions Average touch positions (0 min)   9:38PM The offside rule A defending player who leaves the field of play without the referee’s permission shall be considered to be on the goal line or touchline for the purposes of offside until the next stoppage in play or until the defending team has played the ball towards the halfway line and it is outside their penalty area. If the player left the field of play deliberately, the player must be cautioned when the ball is next out of play. Turns out I was rather wrong. Apologies to you, Mr Referee. 9:36PM FULL TIME United deserve their win and finish top of their group on merit. Luke Shaw had a great comeback and will surely be given chances in the coming weeks but Mourinho will be most pleased with the relative ease his players saw off this CSKA side, even if the finishing wasn't quite at the level he'll need it if United are to progress. Job done. From Russia with goalie gloves. 9:35PM 90 mins +2 Credit: GETTY IMAGES Credit: GETTY IMAGES CSKA have brought rather a few fans and none of them seem to mind it's cold. That is because it's Manchester cold and not Russia cold.  9:33PM 90 mins You can't say Man Utd haven't tried to extend their lead tonight: Man Utd vs CSKA Moscow shots on goal  Still just a little profligate. That was what worried Mourinho last season. 9:30PM 88 mins Rashford does well to skip away from a defender at the halfway line and break to the penalty area but when he gets there, his choice of final pass isn't quite good enough and CSKA can block the path.  9:27PM 85 mins And it's nearly 2-2! That's a really smart save by Romero! CSKA are somehow able to cut the defence open and very nearly grab a late equaliser. Update on the offside goal fiasco: Manchester United have turned it around and lead 2-1. The CSKA goal was correctly given. If a player leaves the field he’s deemed as being on the byline. I got it wrong at halftime so apologies and well played, referee.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) December 5, 2017   9:24PM 83 mins Martial goes down on the edge of the area, Rashford flicks the ball across the penalty area and the ref doesn't bring play back for a free-kick after the non-advantage. Another interesting decision. Vitinho - the goalscorer - comes off for Zhamaletdinov. 9:21PM 80 mins Man Utd's goals: 64' - Man United 1-1 CSKA Moscow 66' - Man United 2-1 CSKA Moscow You wait 64 minutes for a goal and two come along in 66 seconds... Lukaku and Rashford fire United ahead ��⚪️ pic.twitter.com/9KdygkJ5ku— BT Sport Football (@btsportfootball) December 5, 2017   9:20PM 79 mins Luke Shaw has gone down with what may well be cramp. He hasn't played any football this season so that's to be expected and to be fair, Shaw has been excellent tonight, if we ignore the momentary lapse in concentration that led to CSKA's non-goal-that-was. 9:17PM 76 mins McTominay is booked straight away with a late, lunging tackle, earning valuable XP in the process. You can't do that in the Champions League, young Scott. Lukaku comes off for Martial and will sleep well tonight after that goal. Mourinho gives him a hug as he comes off and is sent straight to the changing room to join Antonio Valencia. Mourinho's already getting his players prepared for the derby on Sunday. Pogba hits a shot from miles away but misses the target.  Wayne Rooney is watching in the crowd. Eagle eyes from the BT Sport camerapeople! 9:14PM 73 mins Axel Tuanzebe is getting warmed up on the touchline. Mata is able to outsprint Berezutski on the left... Valencia is taken off for the final 20 minutes in place of Tuanzebe, handing the captain's armband to Chris Smalling.  9:11PM 70 mins Scott McTominay is on for Ander Herrera. This game has completely changed in three minutes. How bizarre. FC Basel are 2-0 up on Benfica just now so it doesn't even really matter if CSKA do get back into this one. Pogba has just drawn the same reaction from the Old Trafford crowd as a firework gets. "Ooooohhhhhh!" they say collectively, as the Frenchman pulls off a wonderful bit of skill in the CSKA half. 9:08PM GOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLL! RASHFORD MAKES IT TWO! Man Utd 2 - 1 CSKA Moscow (Marcus Rashford, 66 min) CSKA get caught as Lukaku flicks on a long ball from Valencia, Mata weights a perfect looping pass back over to Rashford, and the forward waits for the ball to drop before powering a left-footed finish into the bottom corner. 9:07PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLL! Brilliant from Lukaku! What a finish that is!  Man Utd 1 - 1 CSKA Moscow (Romelu Lukaku, 64 min) The pass is stunning too. He controls, turns and sees the space ahead of Lukaku who holds off his man and executes a stretching, jumping, cushioned volleyed finish.  9:05PM 64 mins CSKA are camped in their own half - they can't get out! Pogba somehow manages to control a wild Lukaku first-time pass but CSKA do win the ball back and have a counter-attack chance on now... Blind heads away and now Rashford can run at goal. Mata finds Pogba, who plays it back to Mata, who switches to the right wing. Valencia looks for Lukaku but he doesn't get enough on his header and it's cleared. Shaw tracks back and wins another tackle. 9:02PM 61 mins RASHFORDDDDD hits the wall and the ball deflects behind for a corner. United work the ball around the final third, Rashford crosses it in and Akinfeev flaps at it. United keep the pressure up, Shaw finds Mata with a really intelligent first time pass and then Herrera is held back and pulled to the ground inside the D. That should be a free-kick... but it isn't. This referee is... interesting. 9:00PM 59 mins Superb from Pogba. He comes to life 30 yards from goal, skips past one defender, plays a one-two and is barged to the ground on the edge of the box. This is a fantastic position for a free-kick, on the edge of the D, and Pogba, Mata and Rashford all fancy it.  8:57PM 56 mins So close United! Smalling (!) attacks a header at the back post as Mata pulls it across goal but he misses the goal. Another big chance, although that was a difficult one. Out: Man Utd 0 - 1 CSKA Moscow (Chris Smalling, 55 min)   8:56PM 54 mins Shaw has the pace and strength to send Golovin flying as they contest a ball on the touchline. Great play again from the left-back. Credit: GETTY IMAGES Here's Daley Blind sitting down after sliding out of play, back in the simpler minutes when the referees  were trying to make out that Blind was playing Dzagoev onside. 8:53PM 51 mins Ironic cheers from the Man Utd fans as Dzagoev is ruled to be offside. I wonder if the officials have reviewed that goal during the break? Intriguingly, the goal has been given to Vitinho and not Dzagoev. Vitinho shot, it hit Dzagoev in an offside position, and the official stance is that Dzagoev... doesn't exist. We live in an alternate reality. 8:50PM 48 mins Rashford has the CSKA defence all sussed out but just can't find a finish yet. He goes close again early in the second half.  Attempt Saved: Man Utd 0 - 1 CSKA Moscow (Marcus Rashford, 47 min)   8:47PM KICK-OFF 2 We're back! How will Man Utd respond? With goals probably. 8:47PM Tough translation of the offside rule "If a player goes deliberately off the pitch then he's onside but if he slides off accidentally then it should be offside." So because the referee thought Blind could get back on the pitch, he awarded the goal. Not for me, Clive. He's done a massive wrong there. 8:37PM Half time stats Man Utd vs CSKA Moscow shots on goal Man Utd vs CSKA Moscow   8:33PM HALF TIME Well well well! Who saw that coming? United are in control of the game but not the score. I'd expect that to change in the second half. 8:33PM  GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! CSKA have taken the lead! Wow! Where did that come from? Man Utd 0 - 1 CSKA Moscow (Alan Dzagoev, 45 min) And more importantly, should it count?! Almost certainly not! The ball clearly hits the man circled, who is obviously offside. What on earth does that referee behind the goal-line even do? We'll need some clarification, but from my understanding of the rules, that is 100 per cent offside. 8:29PM 45 mins Valencia tries to go around the inside Nababkin, the defender falls down and takes Valencia with him. It's not a penalty... but that little incident has denied Valencia the chance to get in at goal. Shouldn't it be a foul? Owen Hargreaves says it'd be harsh. 8:28PM 43mins Man Utd have dominated the midfield battle tonight and are having most fun attacking down the left wing. Whether that's because Shaw happens to be there or because Mourinho is focusing play on that channel is something I'm not sure about yet. Average touch positions (40 min)   8:26PM 42 mins Another great tackle by Shaw who matches the pace of the wide player and then slides in perfectly to put it behind. Pogba leads the counter-attack from the corner, Rashford comes inside and very nearly finds Pogba with a clever reverse pass. Pogba wins a corner with some trickery, balance and strength. United are going to really miss Pogba against Man City - some of the stuff he does with the ball is entirely unique to him. 8:24PM 39 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES Mata's given the ball away in his own area! Smalling doesn't read the pass, Shaw has to be careful not to bring Chalov down... he's falling like a cut tree... and Shaw flies into the next challenge, clearing the ball cleanly while taking the man out. It looks a little bit like a penalty but the replay shows Shaw has done brilliantly to clean up that mess.  8:21PM 36 mins What a pass. Lukaku keeps the ball in play, finds Pogba inside the pitch and then sprints into space on the left. Pogba knows where he's going and drops a beautiful pass in his running path but Lukaku doesn't take it down, let's it bounce and by the time he can actually touch the ball, can only cross it. His attempted pass isn't that bad really, but no-one is in the area looking for the cut-back.  8:19PM 33 mins Shaw is having a strong game here, defending well and using his pace to get forward when possible. Maybe he has a football brain after all. CSKA are getting the ball into the final third and being forced all the way back. United are organised and look at least a level above. 8:15PM 30 mins Man Utd vs CSKA Moscow shots on goal   8:12PM 27 mins Wild effort from Vitinho. He strikes across the ball from 20 yards and watches the ball drift into the crowd and must have known he's never beating Romero from there.  8:09PM 24 mins Possession: Man Utd vs CSKA Moscow  United's shape really suits Mata. And Shaw, it turns out! The latter spots Pogba on the ball and sprints to burn past the last man, creating a through-ball opportunity which Pogba passes into. Shaw is in behind, crosses to Rashford and it must be the opening goal... but the ball is slightly hard and just too far ahead of Rashford.  Pass: Man Utd 0 - 0 CSKA Moscow (Luke Shaw, 22 min)   8:07PM 21 mins SO CLOSE UNITED! It's another quick, flowing move and Valencia crosses from the right wing into the box. It misses everyone, Shaw turns up at hte back post and hits a sweet first-time volley back across goal. Saved! Lukaku goes for the rebound but doesn't do enough and it's saved. United are creating some decent chances here. Attempt Saved: Man Utd 0 - 0 CSKA Moscow (Luke Shaw, 20 min)   8:04PM 20 mins Rashford tries a smart turn and beats one man but has another defender further back to beat. Blind steps out to intercept in the centre-circle and suddenly United are on the attack! Lukaku faces up to the central defenders, does a few step-overs and is easily tackled.  8:02PM 17 mins Great move from United! Mata's control and touch are brilliant and Rashford is able to run onto the ball into the box and attempts a side foot shot. The goalie gets down to save and Lukaku is too wide to get on the rebound. Attempt Saved: Man Utd 0 - 0 CSKA Moscow (Marcus Rashford, 15 min)   7:59PM 14 mins Dzagoev gets a shot away from 25 yards but it rolls harmlessly to the waiting Romero. United are kicking the ball to midfield from the goalkeeper and winning the second ball, bypassing the attempted high press of CSKA. Rashford takes a knock to the head from Berezutski but will survive. 7:56PM 11 mins Romero has just gotten away with a poor pass, making Smalling scramble to reach it before the waiting CSKA forwards can pounce and counter. Credit: GETTY IMAGES   7:55PM 9 mins Man Utd have never lost at home to a Russian team apparently. Judging by this early start, that won't change tonight.  Shaw clears a corner but only as far as the CSKA midfield who work hard to get the ball back in an attacking position.  Mata is enjoying his central role and holds the ball until Valencia can join in down the right. The Ecuadorian tries a shot at goal but is blocked and it's a corner. Blind tries a super volley from distance and it's another corner. 7:52PM 6 mins CSKA want to pass around the United final third but can't quite find the final ball. Lukaku and Rashford are waiting high up the pitch to counter-attack, Lukaku gets the ball and feeds in Rashford... HE'S ONE ON ONE! Shoots... and it's in! NO! The ball comes back off the post! Huge moment and it's cleared behind for a corner which the Russians clear. Rashford should have scored. Post: Man Utd 0 - 0 CSKA Moscow (Marcus Rashford, 4 min)  And United are in again! The ball is fizzed across the six yard box but nobody can poke it in. Shaw takes too long and has his shot blocked at the edge of the area. United are dangerous on the counter here! 7:47PM 3 mins It's a fairly scrappy opening with both teams swapping possession. United looking to start slowly and keep the ball where possible but CSKA are pressing them high trying to win it back. 7:46PM KICK-OFF CSKA get us started. 7:44PM No Champions League theme Shenanigans! Something's gone wrong with the p.a there.  7:34PM Mourinho pre-match "The ones we save is because they need to be saved. Matic is injured. "Luke Shaw plays now and is a good opportunity for him but I don't want to look at it as though it's now or never, the group is good, people fight to have an opportunity. It's not an exam, they have to play, they have conditions to play. Hopefully they don't focus on individuals, focus on the team as a whole." 7:25PM Players warming up Credit: REUTERS   7:23PM Man Utd's best players Some make an appearance in our ranking of Premier League players right here: Babbello Index November This doesn't take the Champions League into account by the way.  7:11PM Paul Scholes on Shaw "He doesn't live as clean a life as he should. I hope there's a future for him because a few seasons ago I thought we were signing one of the best left-backs in the world." 7:09PM Mkhitaryan not even on the bench It's not really working out for the Armenian at Old Trafford. Yet again he's not even made the United squad and he's come under intense scrutiny from his manager. 6:59PM Shaw's 50th appearance It really doesn't feel like he's played that many games for... anyone actually, but apparently Luke Shaw will play his 50th tonight for Man Utd alone. This #UCL match marks a milestone appearance for @LukeShaw23! pic.twitter.com/HB6ibNJIVS— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 5, 2017 In previous months Jose Mourinho has been heavily critical of a footballer nowhere near his potential: "He was in front of me and I was making every decision for him," said Mourinho in April this year. "He has to change his football brain. We need his fantastic physical and technical qualities but he cannot play with my brain."   "He must accelerate the process. Twenty-one is old enough to have a better understanding. He has a future here but Manchester United cannot wait." 6:53PM CSKA Moscow starting XI 3-4-3 Akinfeev; Ignashevich, Vasin, Berezutski; Fernandes, Golovin, Kuchaev, Nababkin; Vitinho, Chalov, Dzagoev 6:50PM Man Utd starting lineup Tonight's #MUFC team to face CSKA Moscow... pic.twitter.com/7o29qkl4Cp— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 5, 2017 No messing around from Mourinho here - he's gone for a first choice starting XI to make sure United get the job done. If they are able to put a bit of distance, say two or three goals, past CSKA we might see one of the young substitutes later on. Luke Shaw has a gigantic chance to ensure he isn't written out of Mourinho's plans going forward. 6:38PM Hello Good evening and welcome to our liveblog for Man Utd's final Champions League group game of the competition. CSKA Moscow are the visitors tonight and will not be easy opposition, with the Russians sitting level on nine points with FC Basel and certainly committed to getting a result that will see them through to the knock-out stages. United are top of the table with 12 points and will only miss out on progressing to the money-making latter stages if they lose six goals. So it's improbable... but not impossible (it basically is). Jose Mourinho can't afford to take it lightly then but may well take the opportunity to rest some key players, the most likely being Romelu Lukaku making way for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and maybe even some academy graduates. Who'd have thought? Credit: REUTERS The pitch looks lovely, Paul Pogba will grace it with his presence before he sits out however many games he has to miss through suspension, and those factors alone should guarantee some goals in this game. CSKA need to win since it's unlikely that Basel will lose to Benfica on current form, and to do that they have to attack. We'll find out the teams soon and can work out the gameplans accordingly!  Mourinho said previously: "I am going to make a few, but not too many changes. "We didn't qualify yet, we didn't finish first in the group yet, there are other clubs also involved in qualification and I need to keep a certain balance in the team. "But when we speak about Luke Shaw, he's working to have an opportunity and sooner or later that opportunity will arrive because he deserves that opportunity. "He is selected for tomorrow for sure... to start or be on the bench, I cannot answer."

Man Utd 2 CSKA Moscow 1: United top their group as Marcus Rashford completes comeback

It remains to be seen whether Manchester United derive any benefit from winning their Champions League group. Real Madrid, the ­European champions, last season’s beaten finalists Juventus and Bayern Munich, all of whom have finished second in their respective groups, could lie in store when the draw for the round of 16 is made on Monday.  But that is a matter for another day. For now, all focus turns to Sunday’s derby against Manchester City and, while Jose Mourinho was happy with how United warmed up for a potentially defining game in the Premier League title race by coming from behind to beat CSKA Moscow and equal a club record 40 games unbeaten at Old Trafford, he was less amused by Pep Guardiola’s perceived mind games.  The City manager had suggested earlier in the day that David Silva was a doubt for the derby but, having heard Arsene Wenger say something similar about Alexandre Lacazette only for the striker to appear for Arsenal against United last weekend, Mourinho was not buying Guardiola’s claims for a minute.  It says a lot about how civil relations have been between Mourinho and Guardiola in Manchester that those remarks are about the closest things have come to a whiff of animosity, but the Portuguese has enough selection headaches of his own to contend with without trying to second guess his counterpart’s every move.  CSKA may not be up to much – defeat here consigned them to the Europa League as Basel took second spot in Group A – but Paul Pogba underlined just how big a loss his absence through suspension will be in midfield for United, especially as Mourinho said Nemanja Matic will be asked to play through injury against City.  Luke Shaw was impressive on his return to first team action Credit: AFP It is uncertain United have another player who can, at will, produce the sort of sumptuous pass that Pogba provided for Romelu Lukaku to claim only his second goal in 13 matches, cancelling out Alan Dzagoev’s fortuitous first-half goal in the process and kick-starting a 66-second fightback that rubber-stamped top spot in Group A. But at least Mourinho has Lukaku back among the goals.  Mourinho suggested that mattered less to him than the player, but it was a welcome fillip for the Belgium striker, even if his all-around performance, like against Arsenal, hardly pointed to a crisis of confidence. Mourinho will certainly hope Lukaku leads the line with the same sort of gusto he did against the Russians.  Marcus Rashford was just as lively here, and although there are no guarantees he will start against City after losing ground to Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard of late, this was a performance full of cunning and running from the England forward, who also claimed the winner with his first goal in 10 games.  Despite resting a posse of players for the derby, there was still no space in the squad for Henrikh Mkhitaryan, with the Armenian nowhere to be seen for the fifth time in six matches, although there was a spot for another outcast.  This was Luke Shaw’s first start for United for seven months and his first appearance in the Champions League since he suffered a double leg break in September 2015 that has wreaked havoc with his career since. But if he is to turn things around at United, this was a good place to start.  He might have done a little better for CSKA’s goal, but he got forward with pace and purpose, drew a fine save in the first half and, with a little more composure, might have teed up Rashford for a goal only to over-hit his pass after a surging run into the penalty area.  By the end, even Mourinho – his harshest critic – was glowing in his praise. United had been so dominant in that opening period, with Rashford also hitting a post, that it was a surprise to most to see CSKA take the lead, and in slightly unusual circumstances. Shaw had failed to track Mario Fernandes’s run and Daley Blind could not prevent the CSKA wing-back from pulling the ball back for Vitinho, whose shot was heading wide only for it to bounce in off the back of Dzagoev.  Man Utd vs CSKA Moscow shots on goal Dzagoev initially looked offside but Blind, who had slid off the pitch trying and failing to thwart Fernandes, was still correctly deemed active and so the goal stood. Indeed, the rules state that “a defending player who leaves the field of play without the referee’s permission shall be considered to be on the goal line or touchline for the purposes of offside until the next stoppage in play”.  It was fanciful to think CSKA could hold on to their lead, though, and within a quick burst midway through the second period, they went from being in front to trailing. Anyone doubting how badly Pogba will be missed against City need only watch his involvement for the first goal. Picking up a pass from Chris Smalling 30 yards from CSKA’s goal, he curled a delicious left-footed pass into the penalty area for Lukaku to attack. It was the sort of ball that is a nightmare to defend but which strikers thrive upon and Lukaku reacted quickest, holding off Viktor Vasin to steer a controlled left-footed volley past Igor Akinfeev.  Man Utd 1 - 1 CSKA Moscow (Romelu Lukaku, 64 min) One became two soon after and again the finish was exemplary. Lukaku flicked on a long ball, Rashford gave chase, the ball bounced off Vasin to Juan Mata, who lobbed a pass over the top of CSKA’s two defenders and into the path of Rashford, who drilled his shot beautifully into the far corner. It is 51 years since United last went 40 games undefeated at home. All Mourinho cares about for now, though, is beating City on Sunday.  Man Utd 2 - 1 CSKA Moscow (Marcus Rashford, 66 min) 10:02PM Jose Mourinho post-match "We confirm the way we want to confirm, playing well, having a result. At half time we were losing but playing well, I was not unhappy at all, we had a strong reaction, played professionally. "If I could choose goalscorers I would always choose the strikers because their confidence sometimes depends on that. Lukaku I think his work for the team is... pftt... crazy.  "Other guys not playing so much, Luke Shaw offensively was very good. I'm really happy. "He was waiting for quite a long time, it's not easy to give an opportunity to a player who hasn't played for many months. I wanted to make changes but changes in players who need a change, he managed to stay on for 90 minutes. I told him it's not a test and honestly I am happy with his performance." 9:48PM Pogba's flash of skill �� Behave Paul Pogba �� Outrageous piece of skill from the French star �� pic.twitter.com/104OqkzTbh— BT Sport Football (@btsportfootball) December 5, 2017   9:48PM Mata and Rashford reaction Marcus Rashford I think it's always a good feeling to get on the scoresheet but the the most important thing was to win and avoid any injuries ahead of the weekend. Juan Mata It's a new rule. We asked the referee but it counted so we have to be careful with that because it counts. It's important to win for your confidence level. Sunday is a big game, tomorrow we have day off we rest, hopefully it's a good game of football and we can get the three points. 9:41PM Average positions Average touch positions (0 min)   9:38PM The offside rule A defending player who leaves the field of play without the referee’s permission shall be considered to be on the goal line or touchline for the purposes of offside until the next stoppage in play or until the defending team has played the ball towards the halfway line and it is outside their penalty area. If the player left the field of play deliberately, the player must be cautioned when the ball is next out of play. Turns out I was rather wrong. Apologies to you, Mr Referee. 9:36PM FULL TIME United deserve their win and finish top of their group on merit. Luke Shaw had a great comeback and will surely be given chances in the coming weeks but Mourinho will be most pleased with the relative ease his players saw off this CSKA side, even if the finishing wasn't quite at the level he'll need it if United are to progress. Job done. From Russia with goalie gloves. 9:35PM 90 mins +2 Credit: GETTY IMAGES Credit: GETTY IMAGES CSKA have brought rather a few fans and none of them seem to mind it's cold. That is because it's Manchester cold and not Russia cold.  9:33PM 90 mins You can't say Man Utd haven't tried to extend their lead tonight: Man Utd vs CSKA Moscow shots on goal  Still just a little profligate. That was what worried Mourinho last season. 9:30PM 88 mins Rashford does well to skip away from a defender at the halfway line and break to the penalty area but when he gets there, his choice of final pass isn't quite good enough and CSKA can block the path.  9:27PM 85 mins And it's nearly 2-2! That's a really smart save by Romero! CSKA are somehow able to cut the defence open and very nearly grab a late equaliser. Update on the offside goal fiasco: Manchester United have turned it around and lead 2-1. The CSKA goal was correctly given. If a player leaves the field he’s deemed as being on the byline. I got it wrong at halftime so apologies and well played, referee.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) December 5, 2017   9:24PM 83 mins Martial goes down on the edge of the area, Rashford flicks the ball across the penalty area and the ref doesn't bring play back for a free-kick after the non-advantage. Another interesting decision. Vitinho - the goalscorer - comes off for Zhamaletdinov. 9:21PM 80 mins Man Utd's goals: 64' - Man United 1-1 CSKA Moscow 66' - Man United 2-1 CSKA Moscow You wait 64 minutes for a goal and two come along in 66 seconds... Lukaku and Rashford fire United ahead ��⚪️ pic.twitter.com/9KdygkJ5ku— BT Sport Football (@btsportfootball) December 5, 2017   9:20PM 79 mins Luke Shaw has gone down with what may well be cramp. He hasn't played any football this season so that's to be expected and to be fair, Shaw has been excellent tonight, if we ignore the momentary lapse in concentration that led to CSKA's non-goal-that-was. 9:17PM 76 mins McTominay is booked straight away with a late, lunging tackle, earning valuable XP in the process. You can't do that in the Champions League, young Scott. Lukaku comes off for Martial and will sleep well tonight after that goal. Mourinho gives him a hug as he comes off and is sent straight to the changing room to join Antonio Valencia. Mourinho's already getting his players prepared for the derby on Sunday. Pogba hits a shot from miles away but misses the target.  Wayne Rooney is watching in the crowd. Eagle eyes from the BT Sport camerapeople! 9:14PM 73 mins Axel Tuanzebe is getting warmed up on the touchline. Mata is able to outsprint Berezutski on the left... Valencia is taken off for the final 20 minutes in place of Tuanzebe, handing the captain's armband to Chris Smalling.  9:11PM 70 mins Scott McTominay is on for Ander Herrera. This game has completely changed in three minutes. How bizarre. FC Basel are 2-0 up on Benfica just now so it doesn't even really matter if CSKA do get back into this one. Pogba has just drawn the same reaction from the Old Trafford crowd as a firework gets. "Ooooohhhhhh!" they say collectively, as the Frenchman pulls off a wonderful bit of skill in the CSKA half. 9:08PM GOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLL! RASHFORD MAKES IT TWO! Man Utd 2 - 1 CSKA Moscow (Marcus Rashford, 66 min) CSKA get caught as Lukaku flicks on a long ball from Valencia, Mata weights a perfect looping pass back over to Rashford, and the forward waits for the ball to drop before powering a left-footed finish into the bottom corner. 9:07PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLL! Brilliant from Lukaku! What a finish that is!  Man Utd 1 - 1 CSKA Moscow (Romelu Lukaku, 64 min) The pass is stunning too. He controls, turns and sees the space ahead of Lukaku who holds off his man and executes a stretching, jumping, cushioned volleyed finish.  9:05PM 64 mins CSKA are camped in their own half - they can't get out! Pogba somehow manages to control a wild Lukaku first-time pass but CSKA do win the ball back and have a counter-attack chance on now... Blind heads away and now Rashford can run at goal. Mata finds Pogba, who plays it back to Mata, who switches to the right wing. Valencia looks for Lukaku but he doesn't get enough on his header and it's cleared. Shaw tracks back and wins another tackle. 9:02PM 61 mins RASHFORDDDDD hits the wall and the ball deflects behind for a corner. United work the ball around the final third, Rashford crosses it in and Akinfeev flaps at it. United keep the pressure up, Shaw finds Mata with a really intelligent first time pass and then Herrera is held back and pulled to the ground inside the D. That should be a free-kick... but it isn't. This referee is... interesting. 9:00PM 59 mins Superb from Pogba. He comes to life 30 yards from goal, skips past one defender, plays a one-two and is barged to the ground on the edge of the box. This is a fantastic position for a free-kick, on the edge of the D, and Pogba, Mata and Rashford all fancy it.  8:57PM 56 mins So close United! Smalling (!) attacks a header at the back post as Mata pulls it across goal but he misses the goal. Another big chance, although that was a difficult one. Out: Man Utd 0 - 1 CSKA Moscow (Chris Smalling, 55 min)   8:56PM 54 mins Shaw has the pace and strength to send Golovin flying as they contest a ball on the touchline. Great play again from the left-back. Credit: GETTY IMAGES Here's Daley Blind sitting down after sliding out of play, back in the simpler minutes when the referees  were trying to make out that Blind was playing Dzagoev onside. 8:53PM 51 mins Ironic cheers from the Man Utd fans as Dzagoev is ruled to be offside. I wonder if the officials have reviewed that goal during the break? Intriguingly, the goal has been given to Vitinho and not Dzagoev. Vitinho shot, it hit Dzagoev in an offside position, and the official stance is that Dzagoev... doesn't exist. We live in an alternate reality. 8:50PM 48 mins Rashford has the CSKA defence all sussed out but just can't find a finish yet. He goes close again early in the second half.  Attempt Saved: Man Utd 0 - 1 CSKA Moscow (Marcus Rashford, 47 min)   8:47PM KICK-OFF 2 We're back! How will Man Utd respond? With goals probably. 8:47PM Tough translation of the offside rule "If a player goes deliberately off the pitch then he's onside but if he slides off accidentally then it should be offside." So because the referee thought Blind could get back on the pitch, he awarded the goal. Not for me, Clive. He's done a massive wrong there. 8:37PM Half time stats Man Utd vs CSKA Moscow shots on goal Man Utd vs CSKA Moscow   8:33PM HALF TIME Well well well! Who saw that coming? United are in control of the game but not the score. I'd expect that to change in the second half. 8:33PM  GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! CSKA have taken the lead! Wow! Where did that come from? Man Utd 0 - 1 CSKA Moscow (Alan Dzagoev, 45 min) And more importantly, should it count?! Almost certainly not! The ball clearly hits the man circled, who is obviously offside. What on earth does that referee behind the goal-line even do? We'll need some clarification, but from my understanding of the rules, that is 100 per cent offside. 8:29PM 45 mins Valencia tries to go around the inside Nababkin, the defender falls down and takes Valencia with him. It's not a penalty... but that little incident has denied Valencia the chance to get in at goal. Shouldn't it be a foul? Owen Hargreaves says it'd be harsh. 8:28PM 43mins Man Utd have dominated the midfield battle tonight and are having most fun attacking down the left wing. Whether that's because Shaw happens to be there or because Mourinho is focusing play on that channel is something I'm not sure about yet. Average touch positions (40 min)   8:26PM 42 mins Another great tackle by Shaw who matches the pace of the wide player and then slides in perfectly to put it behind. Pogba leads the counter-attack from the corner, Rashford comes inside and very nearly finds Pogba with a clever reverse pass. Pogba wins a corner with some trickery, balance and strength. United are going to really miss Pogba against Man City - some of the stuff he does with the ball is entirely unique to him. 8:24PM 39 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES Mata's given the ball away in his own area! Smalling doesn't read the pass, Shaw has to be careful not to bring Chalov down... he's falling like a cut tree... and Shaw flies into the next challenge, clearing the ball cleanly while taking the man out. It looks a little bit like a penalty but the replay shows Shaw has done brilliantly to clean up that mess.  8:21PM 36 mins What a pass. Lukaku keeps the ball in play, finds Pogba inside the pitch and then sprints into space on the left. Pogba knows where he's going and drops a beautiful pass in his running path but Lukaku doesn't take it down, let's it bounce and by the time he can actually touch the ball, can only cross it. His attempted pass isn't that bad really, but no-one is in the area looking for the cut-back.  8:19PM 33 mins Shaw is having a strong game here, defending well and using his pace to get forward when possible. Maybe he has a football brain after all. CSKA are getting the ball into the final third and being forced all the way back. United are organised and look at least a level above. 8:15PM 30 mins Man Utd vs CSKA Moscow shots on goal   8:12PM 27 mins Wild effort from Vitinho. He strikes across the ball from 20 yards and watches the ball drift into the crowd and must have known he's never beating Romero from there.  8:09PM 24 mins Possession: Man Utd vs CSKA Moscow  United's shape really suits Mata. And Shaw, it turns out! The latter spots Pogba on the ball and sprints to burn past the last man, creating a through-ball opportunity which Pogba passes into. Shaw is in behind, crosses to Rashford and it must be the opening goal... but the ball is slightly hard and just too far ahead of Rashford.  Pass: Man Utd 0 - 0 CSKA Moscow (Luke Shaw, 22 min)   8:07PM 21 mins SO CLOSE UNITED! It's another quick, flowing move and Valencia crosses from the right wing into the box. It misses everyone, Shaw turns up at hte back post and hits a sweet first-time volley back across goal. Saved! Lukaku goes for the rebound but doesn't do enough and it's saved. United are creating some decent chances here. Attempt Saved: Man Utd 0 - 0 CSKA Moscow (Luke Shaw, 20 min)   8:04PM 20 mins Rashford tries a smart turn and beats one man but has another defender further back to beat. Blind steps out to intercept in the centre-circle and suddenly United are on the attack! Lukaku faces up to the central defenders, does a few step-overs and is easily tackled.  8:02PM 17 mins Great move from United! Mata's control and touch are brilliant and Rashford is able to run onto the ball into the box and attempts a side foot shot. The goalie gets down to save and Lukaku is too wide to get on the rebound. Attempt Saved: Man Utd 0 - 0 CSKA Moscow (Marcus Rashford, 15 min)   7:59PM 14 mins Dzagoev gets a shot away from 25 yards but it rolls harmlessly to the waiting Romero. United are kicking the ball to midfield from the goalkeeper and winning the second ball, bypassing the attempted high press of CSKA. Rashford takes a knock to the head from Berezutski but will survive. 7:56PM 11 mins Romero has just gotten away with a poor pass, making Smalling scramble to reach it before the waiting CSKA forwards can pounce and counter. Credit: GETTY IMAGES   7:55PM 9 mins Man Utd have never lost at home to a Russian team apparently. Judging by this early start, that won't change tonight.  Shaw clears a corner but only as far as the CSKA midfield who work hard to get the ball back in an attacking position.  Mata is enjoying his central role and holds the ball until Valencia can join in down the right. The Ecuadorian tries a shot at goal but is blocked and it's a corner. Blind tries a super volley from distance and it's another corner. 7:52PM 6 mins CSKA want to pass around the United final third but can't quite find the final ball. Lukaku and Rashford are waiting high up the pitch to counter-attack, Lukaku gets the ball and feeds in Rashford... HE'S ONE ON ONE! Shoots... and it's in! NO! The ball comes back off the post! Huge moment and it's cleared behind for a corner which the Russians clear. Rashford should have scored. Post: Man Utd 0 - 0 CSKA Moscow (Marcus Rashford, 4 min)  And United are in again! The ball is fizzed across the six yard box but nobody can poke it in. Shaw takes too long and has his shot blocked at the edge of the area. United are dangerous on the counter here! 7:47PM 3 mins It's a fairly scrappy opening with both teams swapping possession. United looking to start slowly and keep the ball where possible but CSKA are pressing them high trying to win it back. 7:46PM KICK-OFF CSKA get us started. 7:44PM No Champions League theme Shenanigans! Something's gone wrong with the p.a there.  7:34PM Mourinho pre-match "The ones we save is because they need to be saved. Matic is injured. "Luke Shaw plays now and is a good opportunity for him but I don't want to look at it as though it's now or never, the group is good, people fight to have an opportunity. It's not an exam, they have to play, they have conditions to play. Hopefully they don't focus on individuals, focus on the team as a whole." 7:25PM Players warming up Credit: REUTERS   7:23PM Man Utd's best players Some make an appearance in our ranking of Premier League players right here: Babbello Index November This doesn't take the Champions League into account by the way.  7:11PM Paul Scholes on Shaw "He doesn't live as clean a life as he should. I hope there's a future for him because a few seasons ago I thought we were signing one of the best left-backs in the world." 7:09PM Mkhitaryan not even on the bench It's not really working out for the Armenian at Old Trafford. Yet again he's not even made the United squad and he's come under intense scrutiny from his manager. 6:59PM Shaw's 50th appearance It really doesn't feel like he's played that many games for... anyone actually, but apparently Luke Shaw will play his 50th tonight for Man Utd alone. This #UCL match marks a milestone appearance for @LukeShaw23! pic.twitter.com/HB6ibNJIVS— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 5, 2017 In previous months Jose Mourinho has been heavily critical of a footballer nowhere near his potential: "He was in front of me and I was making every decision for him," said Mourinho in April this year. "He has to change his football brain. We need his fantastic physical and technical qualities but he cannot play with my brain."   "He must accelerate the process. Twenty-one is old enough to have a better understanding. He has a future here but Manchester United cannot wait." 6:53PM CSKA Moscow starting XI 3-4-3 Akinfeev; Ignashevich, Vasin, Berezutski; Fernandes, Golovin, Kuchaev, Nababkin; Vitinho, Chalov, Dzagoev 6:50PM Man Utd starting lineup Tonight's #MUFC team to face CSKA Moscow... pic.twitter.com/7o29qkl4Cp— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 5, 2017 No messing around from Mourinho here - he's gone for a first choice starting XI to make sure United get the job done. If they are able to put a bit of distance, say two or three goals, past CSKA we might see one of the young substitutes later on. Luke Shaw has a gigantic chance to ensure he isn't written out of Mourinho's plans going forward. 6:38PM Hello Good evening and welcome to our liveblog for Man Utd's final Champions League group game of the competition. CSKA Moscow are the visitors tonight and will not be easy opposition, with the Russians sitting level on nine points with FC Basel and certainly committed to getting a result that will see them through to the knock-out stages. United are top of the table with 12 points and will only miss out on progressing to the money-making latter stages if they lose six goals. So it's improbable... but not impossible (it basically is). Jose Mourinho can't afford to take it lightly then but may well take the opportunity to rest some key players, the most likely being Romelu Lukaku making way for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and maybe even some academy graduates. Who'd have thought? Credit: REUTERS The pitch looks lovely, Paul Pogba will grace it with his presence before he sits out however many games he has to miss through suspension, and those factors alone should guarantee some goals in this game. CSKA need to win since it's unlikely that Basel will lose to Benfica on current form, and to do that they have to attack. We'll find out the teams soon and can work out the gameplans accordingly!  Mourinho said previously: "I am going to make a few, but not too many changes. "We didn't qualify yet, we didn't finish first in the group yet, there are other clubs also involved in qualification and I need to keep a certain balance in the team. "But when we speak about Luke Shaw, he's working to have an opportunity and sooner or later that opportunity will arrive because he deserves that opportunity. "He is selected for tomorrow for sure... to start or be on the bench, I cannot answer."

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