Manchester United closed to the brink of the Champions League knockout phase after more inadvertent generosity from Benfica goalkeeper Mile Svilar helped them to a 2-0 victory on Tuesday.
Having carried a Marcus Rashford free-kick into his own net to gift United victory in the reverse fixture, 18-year-old Svilar scored an unwitting own goal when Nemanja Matic’s shot hit the post and went in off his back.
Daley Blind’s 78th-minute penalty completed victory, but with CSKA Moscow beating Basel in the other Group A game, United were left needing one point from their final two games to be certain of a last 16 berth.
Rui Vitoria’s Benfica remain bottom of the group with no points after their fifth successive European defeat – the worst run in the club’s history – and can no longer qualify for the knockout rounds.
* Stephan El Shaarawy struck twice, including the fastest goal of this season’s Champions League after just 39 seconds, to help thrust AS Roma to the top of their group with a convincing 3-0 win over Chelsea.
Following the sides’ thrilling 3-3 draw in London two weeks earlier, the Italian international striker’s brace was the highlight of another impressive display from Roma, which allowed them to leapfrog the English champions at the summit of Group C.
El Shaarawy’s thunderous first-minute shot was the earliest recorded in any match in the competition this term and, despite Chelsea creating early chances, Antonio Rudiger’s defensive indecision allowed him to nip in for a neatly-taken second after 36 minutes.
Not for the first time this season, Chelsea again looked uncharacteristically disorganised at the back as Diego Perotti thrashed home a third after 63 minutes to move Roma on to eight points, one clear of Chelsea, who slip to second.
* Barcelona’s seemingly inevitable passage to the Champions League last 16 was postponed by a determined Olympiakos Piraeus side on Tuesday as the Greek champions held the Spanish giants to a 0-0 draw in an absorbing Group D clash.
Ernesto Valverde’s in-form Barca team enjoyed the lion’s share of possession and chances in an often frenetic, open match at the Georgios Karaiskakis stadium, but the La Liga club could not find a way past goalkeeper Silvio Proto.
The Belgian made several fine saves, especially in the first half, to deny a somewhat subdued Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez in a pulsating atmosphere generated by the boisterous home fans.
Barcelona are top of the section with 10 points, having extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to 15 matches with 13 wins and two draws.
It was the first Champions League point in four matches for Takis Lemonis’ Olympiakos team who are also struggling in the Greek SuperLeague.
Champions League Results
Group A: Basel 1 CSKA Moscow 2, Manchester United 2 Benfica 0
Group B: Celtic 1 Bayern Munich 2, PSG 5 Anderlecht 0
Group C: Atletico Madrid 1 Qarabag 1, Roma 3 Chelsea 0
Group D: Olympiakos 0 Barcelona 0, Sporting Lisbon 1 Juventus 1