Champions League

United find home comforts

2013-12-10 23:55
Manchester United (AFP)

Manchester - Manchester United drew a line beneath recent back-to-back home defeats by overcoming Shakhtar Donetsk 1-0 at Old Trafford on Tuesday to secure top spot in Champions League Group A.

WRAP: Champions League

Beaten 1-0 by first Everton and then Newcastle United in their last two home games, United survived several near-misses against the Ukrainian champions before prevailing through a second-half goal from Phil Jones.

As well as eliminating Shakhtar, the result gave United three home victories in the group phase for the first time since they last won the competition in 2007-08.

Manager David Moyes can now look forward to a favourable tie in the last 16 when the draw is made next Monday, while Shakhtar slip into the Europa League due to Bayer Leverkusen's 1-0 win over Real Sociedad in the other group game.

Having already seen their team beaten twice in the space of a week, there was an understandable nervousness about the Old Trafford crowd that Shakhtar seemed eager to exploit.

Alex Teixeira could have put the visitors ahead in the 12th minute after running onto a pass from fellow Brazilian Taison, but he sent the ball inches wide of United goalkeeper David de Gea's left-hand post.

Andriy Pyatov had already saved from Jones by that stage and the Shakhtar goalkeeper also had to box away a half-volley from tournament debutant Adnan Januzaj, but United continued to look vulnerable.

One-time United target Douglas Costa slashed a shot wide after Alexander Buttner committed himself too early, while Alex Teixeira could only fire straight at De Gea after ghosting past Ryan Giggs, Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans.

Giggs and Ferdinand looked particularly ponderous, both conceding possession in dangerous positions, but gradually United roused themselves.

Wayne Rooney, back in the team after a domestic suspension, brushed the side-netting with a free-kick, while Ashley Young spurned two excellent opportunities prior to half-time.

The first saw him collect a lofted pass from Giggs before lobbing narrowly wide with only Pyatov to beat and he then sliced badly off-target with his left foot after being teed up by Rooney.

The visitors threatened again early in the second period, Yaroslav Rakitskiy seeing a shot deflected wide by Jones after a corner ran right across the United box, and news that Leverkusen had taken the lead in Spain did not aid the hosts' cause.

They improved, however, with Pyatov palming away an in-swinging Young free-kick and repelling a volley from Shinji Kagawa before Rooney feathered a chip onto the roof of the net.

Moyes's decision to introduce Robin van Persie and Tom Cleverley energised the crowd further and in the 67th minute, United scored.

Van Persie's right-wing corner took a glancing blow off a defender at the near post and sat up invitingly for Jones, who smartly readjusted his body position and lashed home a low volley.

Cleverley volleyed over as United looked to extend their lead and Van Persie dinked a shot wide in stoppage time, but Jones's strike proved enough to settle the game and begin the process of repairing Old Trafford's once formidable reputation.


What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

01 November 2016
Besiktas v Napoli, Vodafone Arena 19:45
Borussia Mönchengladbach v Celtic, Borussia-Park 21:45
Benfica v Dynamo Kyiv, Estadio da Luz 21:45
Manchester City v Barcelona, Etihad Stadium 21:45
PSV v FC Bayern München, Philips Stadion 21:45
FC Basel v Paris Saint-Germain, St Jakob-Park 21:45
Ludogorets Razgrad v Arsenal, Vasil Levski National Stadium 21:45
Atlético de Madrid v FC Rostov, Vicente Calderon 21:45
02 November 2016
FC Porto v Club Brugge, Estadio do Dragao 21:45
Juventus v Lyon, Juventus Stadium 21:45
FC København v Leicester City, Parken Stadion 21:45
Legia Warsaw v Real Madrid, Pepsi Arena 21:45
Sevilla v Dinamo Zagreb, Ramon-Sanchez Pizjuan 21:45
Borussia Dortmund v Sporting Lisbon, Signal Iduna Park 21:45
Monaco v CSKA Moscow, Stade Louis II 21:45
Tottenham Hotspur v Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Wembley 21:45
22 November 2016
CSKA Moscow v Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Arena CSKA 19:00
Sporting Lisbon v Real Madrid, Estadio Jose Alvalade 21:45
Leicester City v Club Brugge, King Power Stadium 21:45
Dinamo Zagreb v Lyon, Maksimir 21:45
FC København v FC Porto, Parken Stadion 21:45
Sevilla v Juventus, Ramon-Sanchez Pizjuan 21:45
Borussia Dortmund v Legia Warsaw, Signal Iduna Park 21:45
Monaco v Tottenham Hotspur, Stade Louis II 21:45
23 November 2016
FC Rostov v FC Bayern München, Olimp-2 Stadium 19:00
Besiktas v Benfica, Vodafone Arena 19:45
Borussia Mönchengladbach v Manchester City, Borussia-Park 21:45
Celtic v Barcelona, Celtic Park 21:45
Arsenal v Paris Saint-Germain, Emirates Stadium 21:45
Napoli v Dynamo Kyiv, San Paolo 21:45
Ludogorets Razgrad v FC Basel, Vasil Levski National Stadium 21:45
Atlético de Madrid v PSV, Vicente Calderon 21:45
06 December 2016
FC Bayern München v Atlético de Madrid, Allianz Arena 21:45
Barcelona v Borussia Mönchengladbach, Camp Nou 21:45
Benfica v Napoli, Estadio da Luz 21:45
Manchester City v Celtic, Etihad Stadium 21:45
Dynamo Kyiv v Besiktas, Kiev Olympic Stadium 21:45
Paris Saint-Germain v Ludogorets Razgrad, Parc des Princes 21:45
PSV v FC Rostov, Philips Stadion 21:45
FC Basel v Arsenal, St Jakob-Park 21:45
07 December 2016
Bayer 04 Leverkusen v Monaco, BayArena 21:45
FC Porto v Leicester City, Estadio do Dragao 21:45
Club Brugge v FC København, Jan Breydelstadion 21:45
Juventus v Dinamo Zagreb, Juventus Stadium 21:45
Lyon v Sevilla, Parc OL 21:45
Legia Warsaw v Sporting Lisbon, Pepsi Arena 21:45
Real Madrid v Borussia Dortmund, Santiago Bernabeu 21:45
Tottenham Hotspur v CSKA Moscow, Wembley 21:45
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Who will be the 2015/16 Champions League top scorer?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.