United back to winning ways

A 1-0 victory over Shakhtar Donetsk saw Manchester United stop the rot at Old Trafford and top their UEFA Champions League group.

Last Updated: 11/12/13 at 08:05 Post Comment

Phil Jones: Helped to ease the tension around Old Trafford

Phil Jones: Helped to ease the tension around Old Trafford

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

The Red Devils avoided suffering a third straight defeat on home soil for the first time since 1962 courtesy of a solitary strike from Phil Jones - much to the relief of manager David Moyes and an expectant fan base.

It was a far from a vintage display by the reigning Premier League champions, as they struggled at times during a nervous first half which saw Ashley Young lob one effort narrowly wide and badly slice another, but they will avoid the big boys in the last-16 of European competition and that is job done for now.

Jones' match-winning goal arrived on 67 minutes, with the versatile England international crashing home a volley from 12 yards out after the Ukrainian visitors had failed to deal with a Robin van Persie corner.

Defeat on English soil spells the end of the road for Shakhtar, who finish third in Group A and will have to make do with the consolation prize of a place in the Europa League.

Burden

Whilst Moyes said in the build-up he took complete responsibility for United's downturn in fortunes, his players have been the ones out on the pitch.

As has often been said, they won the Premier League by 11 points last season, so their collective ability should be enough to shoulder some of the burden themselves.

When Jones surged onto Rafael's return pass and brought a close-range save out of Andriy Pyatov it did seem United were in the mood to at least maintain their impressive European form.

Pretty soon though, the anxiety that has enveloped them during those back-to-back home losses to Everton and Newcastle United returned.

Taison's through-ball presented Alex Teixeira with a clear run at goal and his flick rolled narrowly wide of the far post.

Though Adnan Januzaj did bring a decent save out of Pyatov, it was the start of an extended period of Shakhtar pressure, in which United, clearly lacking in confidence, struggled to string more than a couple of passes together.

A lone cry of "get a midfield in there" could be heard about the general groans and not even Wayne Rooney curling a free-kick into the side-netting could counter the growing feeling United were in perilous danger of falling behind.

Fred should have turned that fear into reality after Teixeira had robbed Rio Ferdinand but despite the ball being rolled invitingly into his path, the shot lacked power and did not threaten the home goal.

Opportunities

A couple of good opportunities for Young came and went.

The winger lobbed Pyatov with the first but as the ball dropped narrowly wide, Young would have known if he had elected to square for Rooney, the United skipper would have had a tap-in.

Young also drove wide after collecting Jones' crossfield pass, adding to the growing sense of frustration.

Rafael blocked a Vyacheslav Shevchuk effort at the start of the second-half before the Shakhtar midfielder saw another attempt flick off the outside of a post after taking a slight deflection off Jones.

In response, Ryan Giggs meekly fired at goal following decent approach play by Young and Shinji Kagawa. Young's long-range curling effort to the far post dropped narrowly wide and Rooney's ambitious chip brushed the roof of the Shakhtar net.

Van Persie's introduction brought added potency to the home attack and the Dutchman was a key figure in breaking the deadlock, albeit by taking the corner Jones lashed home.

The relief that rippled round the stadium as Jones' volley hit the net was palpable and whilst Shakhtar did try to respond, they were the ones who lacked conviction as Bayer Leverkusen's win away to Real Sociedad dumped them out of Europe's premier club competition.

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

More Match Results

Wednesday, 22 April 2015
19:45
Monaco 0-0 Juventus Report
R Madrid 1-0 A Madrid  
Tuesday, 21 April 2015
Barcelona 2-0 PSG  
Bay Munich 6-1 FC Porto Report
Wednesday, 15 April 2015
FC Porto 3-1 Bay Munich Report
PSG 1-3 Barcelona  
Tuesday, 14 April 2015
A Madrid 0-0 R Madrid  
Juventus 1-0 Monaco  
Wednesday, 18 March 2015
Barcelona 1-0 Man City Report
B Dortmund 0-3 Juventus  

Footer 365

Jose Mourinho defends Chelsea record

Jose Mourinho has questioned those who value style over substance after Chelsea were branded "boring".

Olivier Giroud backs Arsenal to mount a title challenge next season

Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud believes his team are well placed to mount a serious challenge for the title next season.

Bournemouth all-but secure promotion to the Premier League with a 3-0 win over Bolton

Bournemouth all but secured promotion to the Premier League with a 3-0 win over Bolton on Monday night.

Mail Box

Mourinho A 'Motivator Of Idiots'

The Mailbox asks whether Jose Mourinho is really that special or is he just 'a motivator of idiots?' And strikers don't come through at top clubs...apparently.

Mail From Fan Who Craves Relegation...

In this case it's a Sunderland fan who just wants to see a clear-out. We also have mails about Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Everton. It's long and it's sexy...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company