Manchester United made hard work of finishing off Otelul Galati but Wayne Rooney's late second goal sent them top of Group C on goal difference and kept them on course for the Champions League knockout stages.
It appeared Antonio Valencia's close-range finish in the eighth minute would be the only goal of the night against the resolute Romanian side until defender Cristian Sarghi's ill-advised attempt to block Rooney's 25-yard shot ended with the ball looping into the net.
Basel's draw with Benfica means United replace the Portuguese outfit as group leaders, and sets up a showdown between the top two at Old Trafford on 22 November.
United, playing their first game on home turf since their 6-1 defeat by neighbours Manchester City, have now won three games in three competitions since that derby debacle and, while they may not be playing with the verve they displayed earlier in the season, they are doing the most important thing - which is winning.
Ferguson happy with Rooney position switch
With Otelul coach Dorinel Munteaunu describing a point here as a "dream result" before kick-off, his side's ambitions were clear, so for United to take the lead so early on was a relief for the home fans, especially after what had happened in the last game here.
It was a simple goal too. Dimitar Berbatov fed Phil Jones down the right and, although Michael Owen failed to get enough on his low cross at the near post, Valencia was on hand to turn it home.
If that settled some nerves, it did not open the floodgates. Otelul almost managed an instant reply when Marius Pena sent a glancing header wide from Liviu Antal's cross, but otherwise they continued to defend in numbers.
And United's fast start soon turned into frustration, beginning when Owen's rare chance to shine alongside Berbatov ended when he limped off with a suspected thigh strain after just 11 minutes.
His replacement Javier Hernandez was unusually sloppy in the final third leaving Jones with his marauding runs forward as by far United's best attacking outlet.
Jones was unlucky to see Sarghi head his curling shot away after cutting into the area but that was the closest the home side came to extending their lead before the break.
Otelul created little in response apart from what United gave them, with one example a careless Jonny Evans pass which almost released Pena but instead was the launchpad for Fabio's fruitless surge forward.
ROONEY ON TRACK
Wayne Rooney's 27 goals in the Champions League from the group stages onwards rank him joint second in club history behind Ruud van Nistelrooy (35) and level with Ryan Giggs (27).
Nani repeated the trick on the stroke of half-time, allowing Ionut Neagu to cut into the area and fire in a shot which took a hefty deflection off Rio Ferdinand but was brilliantly pushed away by David de Gea.
With their advantage far from safe, United understandably looked anxious to finish the game off after the break but they were continually thwarted by poor finishing.
Berbatov - so often ignored this season - brought a fine stop from Branko Grahovac after being played in by Hernandez, but otherwise he struggled to find the target - most notably when he ran on to Cornel Rapa's poor back-pass but steered his shot into the side netting.
Hernandez was also guilty of wastefulness in front of goal, heading a fine Jones cross over, while Anderson was denied by Sergiu Costin's desperate goal-line clearance after flicking the ball past Grahovac.
The Romanian side were hardly looking a threat at the other end but it took until the 87th minute for the points to be truly safe.
Rooney, who had been operating in central midfield all night, tried his luck from distance and ended up wrong-footing the Otelul goalkeeper after the ball cannoned off Sarghi.
Gabriel Paraschiv has an effort at goal from outside the box which goes wide right of the target.
Javier Hernandez challenges Cornel Rapa unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Cornel Rapa.
Gabriel Paraschiv takes a shot from deep inside the box clearing the bar.
Substitution (Man Utd) makes a substitution, with Ezekiel Fryers coming on for Jonathan Evans.
Wayne Rooney produces a right-footed shot from just outside the area that goes harmlessly over the bar.
Corner taken left-footed by Sorin Frunza, clearance by Jonathan Evans.
Assist by Ji-Sung Park.
86:33 Goal scored
Goal - Wayne Rooney - Man Utd 2 - 0 O Galati Wayne Rooney scores a goal from outside the penalty area to the bottom right corner of the goal. Man Utd 2-0 Otelul Galati.
Ioan Filip challenges Dimitar Berbatov unfairly and gives away a free kick. Wayne Rooney takes the direct free kick.
Foul by Ionut Neagu on Ji-Sung Park, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Rio Ferdinand.
Jonathan Evans challenges Marius Pena unfairly and gives away a free kick. The free kick is delivered left-footed by Adrian Salageanu from right channel, save by David De Gea.
Direct free kick taken by David De Gea.
Substitution Gabriel Giurgiu leaves the field to be replaced by Gabriel Paraschiv.
Substitution Oliveira Anderson leaves the field to be replaced by Ji-Sung Park.
The ball is crossed by Cornel Rapa. Unfair challenge on Phil Jones by Gabriel Giurgiu results in a free kick.
Sorin Frunza gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Phil Jones. Direct free kick taken by David De Gea.
Cornel Rapa sends in a cross, Fabio Da Silva manages to make a clearance.
Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Sorin Frunza from the right by-line, clearance by Phil Jones.
Effort from inside the area by Dimitar Berbatov misses to the left of the target.
Unfair challenge on Ionut Neagu by Luis Nani results in a free kick. Adrian Salageanu delivers the ball from the free kick left-footed from right wing. Sergiu Costin challenges Rio Ferdinand unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by David De Gea.
Free kick awarded for a foul by Dimitar Berbatov on Ioan Filip. Free kick crossed right-footed by Ionut Neagu, Rio Ferdinand makes a clearance.
The ball is sent over by Fabio Da Silva, Dimitar Berbatov takes a shot. Save by Branko Grahovac.
Oliveira Anderson takes a short corner.
Luis Nani takes a shot. Save by Branko Grahovac.
Phil Jones delivers the ball, Javier Hernandez has a headed effort at goal from close range which goes wide of the left-hand upright.
Substitution Laurentiu Iorga on for Liviu Antal.
Liviu Antal produces a right-footed shot from the edge of the box and misses to the right of the target.
Sorin Frunza has an effort at goal from outside the box which goes wide right of the target.
Wayne Rooney takes a shot. Comfortable save by Branko Grahovac.
Oliveira Anderson takes a shot. Clearance made by Sergiu Costin.
Cornel Rapa sends in a cross.
Sorin Frunza takes a inswinging corner from the right by-line to the near post, Wayne Rooney makes a clearance.
The ball is delivered by Sorin Frunza, Fabio Da Silva manages to make a clearance. Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Sorin Frunza from the right by-line, Cristian Sarghi takes a shot. Save made by David De Gea.
Effort on goal by Dimitar Berbatov from just inside the box goes harmlessly over the target.
Substitution Sorin Frunza on for Silviu Ilie.
Adrian Salageanu produces a cross, save made by David De Gea.
Javier Hernandez takes a shot. Save by Branko Grahovac.
Luis Nani takes a shot. Branko Grahovac makes a comfortable save.
Branko Grahovac makes a save. The ball is delivered by Dimitar Berbatov,
Wayne Rooney fouled by Ionut Neagu, the ref awards a free kick. Jonathan Evans restarts play with the free kick.
The assistant referee flags for offside against Javier Hernandez. Branko Grahovac takes the indirect free kick.
Dimitar Berbatov takes a shot. Save by Branko Grahovac.
Foul by Ionut Neagu on Jonathan Evans, free kick awarded. Jonathan Evans restarts play with the free kick.
The referee blows his whistle to start the second half.
45:00 +1:06 Half time
Half Time The match has reached half-time.
Oliveira Anderson produces a left-footed shot from just outside the penalty box that goes wide left of the target.
Liviu Antal produces a cross. Marius Pena gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Phil Jones. David De Gea restarts play with the free kick.
Corner from the left by-line taken by Luis Nani, clearance made by Cristian Sarghi.
Ionut Neagu takes a shot. Blocked by Rio Ferdinand.
Ionut Neagu takes a shot. Save by David De Gea.
Jonathan Evans sends in a cross, save made by Branko Grahovac.
Marius Pena is caught offside. Rio Ferdinand takes the indirect free kick.
Handball by Antonio Valencia. Branko Grahovac takes the direct free kick.
Cornel Rapa takes the direct free kick.
Booking Jonathan Evans is cautioned.
Jonathan Evans concedes a free kick for a foul on Marius Pena.
Fabio Da Silva produces a cross, Cristian Sarghi manages to make a clearance. Corner taken by Luis Nani, Antonio Valencia takes a shot. Silviu Ilie gets a block in.
Phil Jones takes a shot. Cristian Sarghi gets a block in. Corner from the right by-line taken by Oliveira Anderson, Sergiu Costin makes a clearance.
Centre by Fabio Da Silva, Cristian Sarghi gets a block in.
Shot from outside the area by Javier Hernandez misses to the left of the target.
Phil Jones delivers the ball, blocked by Gabriel Giurgiu. Inswinging corner taken by Oliveira Anderson.
Luis Nani takes a shot. Blocked by Cristian Sarghi.
Unfair challenge on Gabriel Giurgiu by Wayne Rooney results in a free kick. Free kick crossed by Adrian Salageanu, save by David De Gea.
Centre by Phil Jones, Branko Grahovac makes a save.
Cornel Rapa produces a cross, clearance by Rio Ferdinand. Pass corner from right by-line taken by Silviu Ilie to short, clearance made by Antonio Valencia.
Fabio Da Silva concedes a free kick for a foul on Liviu Antal. The free kick is delivered right-footed by Adrian Salageanu from right channel, Jonathan Evans makes a clearance.
Free kick awarded for a foul by Luis Nani on Ionut Neagu. Direct free kick taken by Cornel Rapa.
Free kick taken by Rio Ferdinand.
Booking Sergiu Costin is cautioned.
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Dimitar Berbatov by Sergiu Costin.
The ball is crossed by Cornel Rapa, Jonathan Evans manages to make a clearance.
The ball is crossed by Cornel Rapa, clearance made by Phil Jones.
Sergiu Costin gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Javier Hernandez. Direct free kick taken by Oliveira Anderson.
Substitution (Man Utd) makes a substitution, with Javier Hernandez coming on for Michael Owen.
Liviu Antal sends in a cross, Headed effort from deep inside the area by Marius Pena misses to the left of the goal.
Assist on the goal came from Phil Jones.
7:23 Goal scored
Goal - Antonio Valencia - Man Utd 1 - 0 O Galati A goal is scored by Antonio Valencia from inside the six-yard box low into the middle of the goal. Man Utd 1-0 Otelul Galati.
Phil Jones sends in a cross,
Foul by Cornel Rapa on Luis Nani, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Luis Nani.
The ball is delivered by Fabio Da Silva, blocked by Ioan Filip. Luis Nani delivers the ball in from the corner, clearance by Cornel Rapa.
The referee gets the match started.
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