United tops Champions League group with 2-1 win over CSKA

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MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Manchester United scored two goals in 66 seconds in coming from behind to beat CSKA Moscow 2-1 and finish top of its Champions League group on Tuesday.

And Jose Mourinho couldn't be happier with the identity of his scorers just days before the Manchester derby.

Romelu Lukaku volleyed in just his second goal since September for the 64th-minute equalizer at Old Trafford. Strike partner Marcus Rashford then drove home an angled winner to complete the comeback, his first goal in 10 games stretching back six weeks.

"If I could choose goalscorers, I would always choose the strikers," Mourinho said. "Their confidence depends on that sometimes."

He'll need his strikers to be in form against City, which has yet to lose a match this season and goes into the derby with an eight-point lead over United in the English Premier League.

Not that he was ever worried about Lukaku, even though the Belgium striker had only one goal in his previous 12 games — having opened the season with 11 goals in his first 10 games for United following his move from Everton.

"I am always happy with Romelu because the way he plays for the team is absolutely amazing," Mourinho added. "But if he can score that goal and feel that happiness that strikers only get when they score goals, then great."

By extending its unbeaten run at home to a club record-equaling 40 games, United eliminated CSKA from the competition. The Russian side finished behind Basel in third in Group A and dropped into the Europa League.

CSKA's chances of sneaking second place looked possible, however, when Vitinho gave them the lead seconds before halftime by prodding home a finish that grazed the back of Alan Dzagoev, who was looking to dodge the ball in front of the goal.

United players appealed that Dzagoev was in an offside position, but United defender Daley Blind had slid off the pitch in the build-up to the goal and, according to FIFA regulations, was keeping Dzagoev onside.

In one of the best seasons in years for English clubs in the Champions League, Manchester City and Tottenham were already assured of first place heading into their final group games on Wednesday. Liverpool could secure top spot, too, by beating Spartak Moscow on Wednesday. And with Chelsea also through, it means England could have five teams into the last 16 for the first time.

Finishing first in the group is usually seen as preferable to being runner-up. But with the likes of Real Madrid, Juventus and Bayern Munich in line to finish second, United might not find a benefit this season.

"It doesn't matter the team we get in the draw," Mourinho said. "That team will not be jumping with happiness to play against us."


More AP Champions League coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/ChampionsLeague


Steve Douglas is at www.twitter.com/sdouglas80

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