Lukaku helps United sweep CSKA Moscow aside in Group A battle

The Red Devils established an early three-point lead at the top of Group A.

Lukaku helps United sweep CSKA Moscow aside in Group A battle

Striker Romelu Lukaku continued his remarkable scoring run with two goals as Manchester United swept aside CSKA Moscow 4-1 in Russia.

The Belgium international arrived from Everton in the summer with a £90million price tag but has done plenty to quickly justify that sum as he clinically exposed an ageing defence at the VEB Arena.

Lukaku took his tally to 10 goals in nine appearances - the great Sir Bobby Charlton managed 'only' nine in his first nine - as he scored in his eighth successive European game with a double in the first half either side of an Anthony Martial penalty with Henrikh Mkhitaryan adding a fourth just after the interval.

In doing so Lukaku became the first United player to score in his opening two Champions League matches as the Red Devils established an early three-point lead at the top of Group A.

Substitute Konstantin Kuchaev's 90th-minute goal was little consolation.

CSKA fielded three central defenders with a combined age of 101 and Viktor Vasin, the spring chicken at 28, was the only one not to be wholly embarrassed.

Manager Jose Mourinho, who made it eight wins and three draws in his own unbeaten run against Russian clubs, had warned the players he would not tolerate the sort of "PlayStation football" which had seen his side ease up at 2-0 in their opening Champions League fixture at home to Basel.

What he got was a consummate, if relatively easy, professional performance from a team missing seven senior players - including Paul Pogba, Marouane Fellaini and Antonio Valencia.

Just four minutes in Martial swung over a cross from the left to the far post where Lukaku out-jumped the 38-year-old Sergei Ignashevich to head home - making it 45 Champions League games proper without a clean sheet for Igor Akinfeev.

The goalkeeper's legs kept out Mkhitaryan's shot but when the Armenia international was brought down by Georgi Schennikov, Martial - a constant threat down the left - confidently stroked home the penalty.

Another Martial cross from the left was completely missed by Vasili Berezutski, 35, to present Lukaku with a simple side-foot finish to make it 3-0 and the Belgian was only denied his hat-trick by a good low Akinfeev save.

Mourinho had said pre-match the current CSKA side were the best he had faced - having been here with Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Chelsea - but that appeared flattery of the highest order.

Fedor Chalov's 37th-minute shot brought a first-class tip-over from David de Gea but it was a rare threat from the Russian side.

Lukaku was again denied his hat-trick by Akinfeev early in the second half but when the goalkeeper parried Martial's shot Mkhitaryan was on hand to slot home.

More in this section


Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox