Manchester United score first goal in 404 minutes with a header from Rooney to beat CSKA Moscow 1-0 in match day 4 of the Champions League group stage.
Despite the victory, it will be mixed feelings for many Manchester United fans with the overall performance improved, but there was still little work for Akinfeev to do in the CSKA Moscow goal.
United controlled the game from the start and started at a much higher tempo than in recent games. More crosses were put in and more chances created.
The first fell to Wayne Rooney in the 4th minute. Marcos Rojo played a first time cross from the left which took a touch off Anthony Martial. The ball then bounced for Rooney who hit his volley just wide.
In the 9th and 10th minute Marcos Rojo and Jesse Lingard had a chance each to get on the score sheet but Rojo’s shot was closed down quickly by Akinfeev and Lingard’s strike sailed over the bar.
In the 16th minute Daley Blind spotted a Juan Mata run and hit a long ball over the top. Mata was able to beat his marker but a charging Akinfeev forced Mata to slide and poke the ball just wide of the bottom right post.
Marcos Rojo and Jesse Lingard both had chances again around the half hour mark. Lingard’s attempt again went high over the bar while Rojo was closer with his volley from an Ashley Young cross. But pulled the volley wide of the left post.
Manchester United started the second half well by pressing the CSKA Moscow defence.
Marcos Rojo popped up again, this time from a Rooney corner. The left-back got in front of his man but placed his header just wide of the back post.
A few minutes later Anthony Martial had a chance to put United ahead when he got his head on the end of a Rojo cross but his header was too close to Akinfeev.
Around the hour mark Manchester United began to ease off. The fans around the stadium voiced their disapproval with echoing chants of “We’re Man United, and we want some attack”, quickly followed by “Attack! Attack! Attack!”
The team responded to the chants and created a couple more chances. In the 71st minute, Jesse Lingard finished a winding run into the box with a short pass to Mata who then played the ball into Rooney’s feet but he was unable to position himself to get a shot off.
In the 75th minute, a CSKA defensive header looped up into the air. Just outside the box Michael Carrick watched it drop and hit a thunderous volley just wide.
A couple of minutes later United had a scare when Doumbia was put through on goal but David de Gea read the play and was out quick to block his shot. Doumbia then chased the loose ball just a couple of yards in front of him and hit another shot while de Gea was still down, but a sprinting Chris Smalling slid in and blocked the shot putting it out for a corner.
If there was a time for Manchester United to score, it was now. And Wayne Rooney delivered with a headed goal from a Jesse Lingard volleyed cross in the 79th minute.
Two minutes later Lingard had another chance when Wayne Rooney played a defence boggling, reverse-flick through ball into the youngsters path. But Lingard’s lashing volley was saved by Akinfeev.
It was a much needed win for United. Both to boost their chances of progressing from the group stage and also to end the goal drought and avoid another 0-0 stalemate.
The victory puts Manchester United top of the group stage with two games left to play. One of which is at home to PSV Eindhoven.
What did you think of the game? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below or you can visit The United Stand Fan Forum here to join the post match discussion.
You can also watch the Manchester United V CSKA Moscow match reaction on The United Stand’s YouTube channel by clicking here. Or by watching below.
Manchester United Team Sheet
Schweinsteiger (Herrera – 89′)
Mata (Depay – 74′)
Martial (Fellaini – 66′)
CSKA Moscow Team Sheet
Dzagoev (Panchenko – 85′)
Tosic (Golovin – 75′)
Natcho (Doumbia – 55′)