By John Ryan
- United look to make it four wins out of four
- Three points will send United through to the knockout stages
A win against Benfica tonight will send Manchester United through to the knockout stages of the Champions League.
With three wins from three to date. Jose Mourinho will be relishing the prospect of sealing qualification with two games to spare.
These sides have met ten times in European football with United winning seven and just losing once.
The 1968 European Cup final is the most famous pairing of these giants yet recent games against Portuguese opposition have been pretty average viewing for the more than average United fan.
United recently won 1-0 in Lisbon to a dreadful goalkeeping error. It was quite a contrast to Alex Stepney blocking Eusebio’s rocket at Wembley forty nine years ago.
Mourinho, recently criticised for his side’s performances will not care how victory is achieved but the match day Red will.
With half a decent side out injured, Mourinho might not think he can afford to let the hand brake off tonight but if he is smart this is the perfect opportunity.
The romance of this competition the opposition and the timing are everything. Even a draw with end to end football will be preferable to a stalemate.
Benfica are currently third in the Portuguese top flight and have won their last two league games since playing United where their star player Jonas netted three times.
They will relish the opportunity to run out at Old Trafford and having created many chances in the group to date but taken very little, one early goal could change everything.
Verdict United 3-1 Benfica