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Champions League: How United reached the last 16

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European football’s showpiece competition resumes this week at the Round of 16 stage. So what better time to revisit the Reds' campaign thus far, ahead of the first leg of our clash with Sevilla next Wednesday…

MATCHDAY 1: UNITED 3 FC BASEL 0
United’s return to Champions League football didn’t exactly begin in ideal fashion, as Paul Pogba limped off within 20 minutes due to a hamstring injury. That particular dark cloud did, however, offer a pleasing silver lining: the Frenchman’s replacement, Marouane Fellaini, nodded the Reds into the lead on 35 minutes. Another header, from Romelu Lukaku, doubled the score early in the second period, before Marcus Rashford came off the bench to score on his Champions League debut, completing a straightforward night’s work. 
 
“When you start the group phase, it’s always important to win,”
reflected a very content Jose Mourinho.

Goals: United 3 Basel 0Video

MATCHDAY 2: CSKA MOSCOW 1 UNITED 4
Inspired by a devastating spell of twinkle-toed wizardry on the left-flank from Anthony Martial, United notched four goals for the fifth time in nine matches on a comfortable night in Russia. A last-gasp strike from Konstantin Kuchaev offered the home side a sliver of consolation – and infuriated David De Gea – but a double from Lukaku, a penalty from Martial and a neat Henrikh Mkhitaryan finish had long put the game to bed. 
 
“We made it look easy,”
said the boss.
“They didn’t look as good as they are, but because of us.”

Four-midable Reds Video

MATCHDAY 3: BENFICA 0 UNITED 1
A repeat of the 1968 European Cup final always sets pulses racing, but Benfica had been well beaten in their opening two matches, and only sporadically troubled United here. Still, the Reds were reliant on a quick piece of wit from Marcus Rashford to nab the only goal. Noticing 18-year-old goalkeeper Mile Svilar’s advanced position, Rashford sent in a swirling free-kick that Svilar couldn’t help but carry over the goal-line. Luisao received a second yellow card for a wild challenge on substitute Scott McTominay towards the close, as United saw out the match in controlled fashion. 
 
“It’s not a match where I have one more white hair,”
said a relaxed Mourinho.
“Everything was calm, in control.”

Benfica v United highlightsVideo

MATCHDAY 4: UNITED 2 BENFICA 0
 
Svilar’s painful introduction to Champions League football continued in the return fixture at Old Trafford, when Nemanja Matic’s 25-yard piledriver cannoned into the net off the goalkeeper’s back, having initially hit the post. A second-half penalty from the unlikely left boot of Daley Blind made the game safe, condemning Benfica to a fourth straight defeat, and placing United on the brink of qualification.

Goals: United 2 Benfica 0Video

MATCHDAY 5: BASEL 1 UNITED 0
The one blemish in an otherwise flawless campaign was a narrow defeat in Basel, due to Michael Lang’s 89th-minute close-range winner. The Reds would rue numerous first-half chances, including a Fellaini effort that clipped the post, and were made to pay as Basel grew into the game during the second period. Lang nipped in ahead of Blind in the dying moments to turn home Raoul Petretta's low cross from the left, forcing a result that left United frustratingly short of qualification. 
 
“I cannot complain or blame the players,”
suggested Jose.
“I think we play a match like this 10 times and nine times we win comfortably.”

What happened away at BaselVideo

Goals: United 2 CSKA Moscow 1Video

MATCHDAY 6: UNITED 2 CSKA MOSCOW 1
Despite the setback in Switzerland, only an unfeasibly heavy home defeat on matchday six could have denied United progression. Though Vitinho gave CSKA the lead on the stroke of half-time – amid suggestions of offside – two goals in three quick-fire minutes from Lukaku and Rashford were enough to ensure the Reds would finish atop Group A. The draw for the first of the knockout stages followed, where United were paired with five-times Europa League winners Sevilla. 
 
“Spanish teams are always good and difficult,”
responded Jose.
 
After months of anticipation, the exciting tie is just days away.