Champions League - Group A
Man UtdManchester United1Shakhtar DonetskShakhtar Donetsk0

Manchester United 1-0 Shakhtar Donetsk

By Saj ChowdhuryBBC Sport
Manchester United's Phil Jones

Phil Jones scored a second-half winner to ease the pressure on manager David Moyes as Manchester United finished top of Champions League Group A with victory over Shakhtar Donetsk.

United, who came into the game having lost successive home matches for the first time since 2002, struggled to match Shakhtar for large periods.

But they got the decisive goal when Jones volleyed in from a corner.

Earlier, winger Ashley Young should have scored twice but shot wide.

Those misses, in the end, did not prove costly as Moyes's men finished their group campaign with an impressive 14 points and four wins from six matches.

But for most of this match, there was one team who played like the United of old, and it was not the home side.

The three-time champions looked sluggish and lacked invention at times - two characteristics that rarely reared their heads under the stewardship of Sir Alex Ferguson.

But what they do have - which other struggling sides in the Premier League do not - is quality and experience of getting out of difficult situations.

And it was the quality of delivery from substitute Robin van Persie and the finish of England international Jones that helped United avoid the ignominy of three successive home defeats for the first time since 1962.

For 60 minutes, United were chasing Shakhtar, who zipped the ball about brilliantly on the Old Trafford surface.

The English champions' best chances, up to the time of the goal, came on the counter and from errors by the Ukrainian side.

Two fell to Young. The former Aston Villa winger first did brilliantly to nick the ball from Darijo Srna before lifting the ball above keeper Andriy Pyatov but wide of the far post.

He then sliced a shot wide with the keeper to beat after Wayne Rooney had played his team-mate in. In between those efforts, Rooney looked like he was about to burst the net, but was stopped from doing so by Olexandr Kucher's outstanding block.

Jones, aside from his agility on the goal, and Ryan Giggs looked relatively cumbersome alongside the sprightly Brazilians of Taison, Alex Teixeira and Douglas Costa, who circled around them.

It was only when 40-year-old Giggs - making his 149th appearance in the competition - was replaced by Tom Cleverley that United looked more competitive in the middle.

Van Persie came on for Young at the same time. Four minutes later, he was involved in the opener.

The Dutchman, who is as effective on set-pieces as he is in front of goal, delivered a wicked in-swinging corner that found its way to Jones, who swung his leg at the ball and smashed a shot past Pyatov.

By this stage, Shakhtar knew that Bayer Leverkusen, a point behind them in third at the start of the evening, were ahead against Real Sociedad and on course to beat them to second place in the group.

Their heads dropped further after the goal and they failed to muster an effort of note in the closing stages, having earlier gone close through Teixeira, whose angled shot went a yard wide, and Yaroslav Rakitskiy, whose deflected effort spun off the post.

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Line-ups

Man Utd

Formation 4-4-1-1

  • 1de Gea
  • 2da Silva
  • 28BüttnerBooked at 71minsSubstituted forA Valenciaat 88'minutes
  • 4Jones
  • 5Ferdinand
  • 6Evans
  • 44Januzaj
  • 11GiggsSubstituted forCleverleyat 63'minutesBooked at 77mins
  • 10Rooney
  • 26Kagawa
  • 18YoungSubstituted forvan Persieat 63'minutes

Substitutes

  • 8Oliveira
  • 13Lindegaard
  • 14Hernández
  • 17Almeida da Cunha
  • 20van Persie
  • 23Cleverley
  • 25A Valencia

Shakhtar Donetsk

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 30Pyatov
  • 33SrnaBooked at 77mins
  • 13Shevchuk
  • 6Stepanenko
  • 5KucherBooked at 81mins
  • 44Rakitskiy
  • 20Douglas Costa
  • 8FredSubstituted forLucas Martinsat 80'minutes
  • 9De Souza da SilvaSubstituted forFerreyraat 88'minutes
  • 29Teixeira
  • 28TaisonSubstituted forBernardat 64'minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Hübschman
  • 10Bernard
  • 11da Silva
  • 17Lucas Martins
  • 19Ferreyra
  • 32Kanibolotskiy
  • 38Krivtsov
Referee:
Milorad Mazic

Match Stats

Home TeamMan UtdAway TeamShakhtar Donetsk
Possession
Home55%
Away45%
Shots
Home10
Away17
Shots on Target
Home2
Away3
Corners
Home7
Away6
Fouls
Home9
Away14

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Manchester United 1, Shakhtar Donetsk 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Manchester United 1, Shakhtar Donetsk 0.

  3. Post update

    Dangerous play by Luis Antonio Valencia (Manchester United).

  4. Post update

    Alex Teixeira (Shakhtar Donetsk) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  5. Post update

    Attempt missed. Robin van Persie (Manchester United) left footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Wayne Rooney.

  6. Post update

    Offside, Shakhtar Donetsk. Viacheslav Shevchuk tries a through ball, but Facundo Ferreyra is caught offside.

  7. Post update

    Hand ball by Luis Antonio Valencia (Manchester United).

  8. Post update

    Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  9. Post update

    Foul by Fernando (Shakhtar Donetsk).

  10. Substitution

    Substitution, Shakhtar Donetsk. Facundo Ferreyra replaces Luiz Adriano.

  11. Substitution

    Substitution, Manchester United. Luis Antonio Valencia replaces Alexander Büttner.

  12. Post update

    Attempt saved. Darijo Srna (Shakhtar Donetsk) left footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Taras Stepanenko.

  13. Post update

    Robin van Persie (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  14. Post update

    Dangerous play by Taras Stepanenko (Shakhtar Donetsk).

  15. Post update

    Attempt missed. Tom Cleverley (Manchester United) right footed shot from the right side of the box is too high. Assisted by Wayne Rooney with a cross following a corner.

  16. Post update

    Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Darijo Srna.

  17. Booking

    Olexandr Kucher (Shakhtar Donetsk) is shown the yellow card.

  18. Post update

    Robin van Persie (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  19. Post update

    Foul by Olexandr Kucher (Shakhtar Donetsk).

  20. Substitution

    Substitution, Shakhtar Donetsk. Fernando replaces Fred.