Roma rout Chelsea as United edge closer to knockout stage

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 Champions League group with a convincing 3-0 win over Chelsea on Tuesday.

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.

At Old Trafford Manchester United almost made sure of a place in the knockout stage of the Champions League by beating Benfica 2-0 to make it a perfect four wins in Group A.

An own goal by Benfica’s 18-year-old keeper Mile Svilar on the stroke of halftime and a Daley Blind penalty in the 78th minute were enough for United who struggled at times to find their fluency.

Svilar, the youngest keeper in Champions League history, was unfortunate as a Nemanja Matic shot struck the post and bounced into the goal off his back.

Earlier Svilar, whose error had gifted United a 1-0 win when the teams met two weeks ago in Lisbon, had saved a weak penalty from United’s French forward Anthony Martial to keep his team on level terms.

United’s Dutch defender Blind made no such mistake with his spot kick after substitute Marcus Rashford was brought down by Andreas Samaris.

Benfica had several decent chances in the game but United’s Spanish keeper David De Gea was his usual reliable self and when he was beaten, Mexican forward Raul Jimenez’s shot struck the outside of the post.

The result leaves United top of Group A on 12 points while CSKA Moscow and Basel each have six points with Benfica still without a point.

The other scores on Tuesday were:

Basel 1
CSKA Moscow 2

Celtic 1
Bayern Munich 2

Anderlecht 0

Atletico Madrid 1
FK Qarabag 1

OIympiacos 0
Barcelona 0

Sporting Lisbon 1
Juventus 1