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Published On: Thu, Sep 28th, 2017

Lukaku scores twice as Man Utd hammer CSKA

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Romelu Lukaku scored twice as Manchester United thrashed CSKA Moscow to maintain their 100% record in Group A of the Champions League.
The Red Devils had won just one of their previous 10 away games in the competition, but two goals in the opening 18 minutes set up a very comfortable night at the VEB Arena.
Lukaku headed in a cross from Anthony Martial, who went from provider to goalscorer by converting a penalty after Henrikh Mkhitaryan was brought down.
And, in the city in which their third and most recent European Cup triumph came in 2008, United effectively ended the game as a contest on 26 minutes.
Aided by some dreadful defending from the home side, Lukaku slotted in from a couple of yards out – his 10th goal in nine games since joining from Everton in the summer.
Mkhitaryan added the fourth from close range and United could have scored more – Lukaku was twice denied by brilliant stops from Igor Akinfeev, who also thwarted Jesse Lingard from inside the six-yard box.
Speaking after the game, Lukaku said: “I just work hard and will keep on going. The team is doing well but we must improve. I just want to win trophies.”
CSKA did have chances, with the excellent David de Gea twice saving sharply from Alan Dzagoev and tipping over a Fedor Chalov shot.
And Konstantin Kuchaev slid in a well-taken consolation late on to give the boisterous home fans something to cheer.
In the group’s other game, former Norwich striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel scored a penalty as Basel trounced 10-man Benfica 5-0.

United punish ageing backline
Romelu Lukaku
Lukaku had four shots against CSKA, all of which were on target. Two ended up in the back of the net, but he was denied a hat-trick by Akinfeev
CSKA stalwarts Akinfeev, Sergei Ignashevich and Vasili Berezutski have played more than 1,500 club games between them and earned a total of 322 Russia caps.
But they were badly exposed by United, and the hosts have now failed to keep a clean sheet in their past 30 Champions League games. Akinfeev, meanwhile, has gone 41 straight games without a shutout.
Ignashevich looked all of his 38 years as he failed to get off the ground to meet a cross into the box and allowed Lukaku to head home at the back post.
Berezutski, three years younger than his defensive colleague, then failed to connect properly with a Daley Blind cross, and his miscue allowed Lukaku the easiest of finishes.
Between those two goals Georgi Schennikov chopped down Mkhitaryan with a senseless sliding tackle inside the box, with Martial coolly converting the spot-kick.
Referee Jonas Eriksson had initially waved play on, but then awarded the penalty on the advice of his additional assistant referee standing by the goal.
With the game won, Mkhitaryan converted into an open net after Akinfeev’s parry into the danger area from Martial’s shot.
No grey away day for United
Manchester United
United were last seen in a grey kit over two decades ago
United lined up in their grey third kit – a colour they have not worn since a Premier League trip to Southampton in April 1996.
The Saints led that game 3-0 at half-time, prompting the United players to change their shirts as they claimed they could not see each other.
Against CSKA, there were no such problems as they enjoyed another fruitful trip to eastern Europe – they are now unbeaten in six away games against Russian opposition.
Midfielder Ander Herrera, impressive for much of last season but reduced to a fringe role so far this campaign, was given a fourth start in the absence of Paul Pogba, Marouane Fellaini and Michael Carrick.
The Spaniard quietly went about his business, neat and tidy in possession, attempting 102 passes in the match, the same as midfield partner Nemanja Matic. Herrera also won the ball back 11 times and made three interceptions – more than any other player.
The only blemish for manager Jose Mourinho will be the goal his side conceded in the 90th minute.
United looked to be on their way to a seventh clean sheet from 10 games, when 19-year-old Kuchaev struck his first goal for CSKA.

Manchester United celebrate
United were missing a number of first-team players for the trip to Moscow
Another four-goal show from Manchester United, again looking so much more ruthless than last season, but it is difficult to assess their long-term prospects in the Champions League from this game because CSKA’s defending was so lamentably bad.
What has been proven again though is that United’s squad is very deep – they came here without the likes of Antonio Valencia, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo, Paul Pogba, Marouane Fellaini, Michael Carrick and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
They also have one of the world’s best goalkeepers in David de Gea, who made two top-class saves in the first half.
They should cruise through this group and with Jose Mourinho at the helm they will be a match for most teams in knockout football.
Man of the match – Anthony Martial (Manchester United)
Anthony Martial
Scored one goal, had a hand in the other three and gave the CSKA defence a torrid time with his skilful running and intelligent play
‘Almost there’
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho told BT Sport: “We started so strong, we surprised them with our attitude. They didn’t look as good as they are, because of us.
“Lukaku has a great record, we know he is a very good player who can score lots of goals. He is surrounded by quality players. I have to admit that he is scoring really important goals nearly every game. We are in a good position with four matches to play.
“We are almost there. There was not so much Playstation football tonight, just a little bit of relaxation. That is normal.”

What next?
United will be hoping to secure another big win on Saturday (kick-off 15:00 BST) when they host the Premier League’s bottom side Crystal Palace, who are yet to win a point or score a goal in the top flight this season.

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