Manchester United defeated Newcastle United by a score of 2-1, securing their place in the fourth round of the Capital One Cup, but an advancement in the tournament is hardly the biggest storyline of the evening.
Wayne Rooney made his way back onto the pitch after a gruesome leg injury suffered earlier this season against Fulham, and he played extensively, starting the match and staying on the pitch until the 77th minute.
It's an encouraging sign for Red Devils supporters who feared Rooney would be out well into the winter. Although he may not make an appearance this weekend against Tottenham, he's certainly match fit and will be scoring goals for Manchester United sooner rather than later.
The match started out easily enough at Old Trafford as the home side got on the board late in the first half. A strike from rarely used midfielder Oliveira Anderson that nearly broke the sound barrier put Manchester United up 1-0.
Then, just before the 60th minute, a superb finish by Tom Cleverley put the Red Devils up 2-0 and back in Old Trafford's good graces after a horrible miss earlier in the match.
Newcastle United got a consolation goal a few minutes later, when Papiss Cissé came off the bench and scored after just seconds on the pitch, pulling the Magpies to within one, but the Magpies created few chances after that.
Manchester United came out, guns blazing, advancing in the Capital One Cup with a 2-1 win, but how did the individual players grade out?
Check out how all the Red Devils rated, and let me know if you agree!
David De Gea: 6.5/10
There were a few shots De Gea had to get under control, and visiting Newcastle put a number of good crosses in his box, but generally, the young Spaniard did his part between the posts.
De Gea was partly to blame for Cisse's opportunity in the second half and the visiting Magpies getting back in the match, but overall, he commanded the box well and made saves when he needed to.
Scott Wootton: 7/10
He was physical throughout, and the nearer to goal he was pressed back, the stronger he defended. I think the former Nottingham Forest standout impressed well enough for Sir Alex Ferguson to give him more opportunities at centre-back in league play, especially with Nemanja Vidic's being absent until the spring.
Marnick Vermijl: 7.5/10
Vermijl moved forward with ease, had great crosses to United's forwards throughout the match and looked comfortable the entire night. The 20-year-old gave a great performance.
Michael Keane: 5.5/10
Keane struggled greatly when Papiss Cisse entered the match. He can play against fellow benchwarmers, but he's not ready for the big time.
Alexander Buttner: 7/10
Not nearly the same kind of performance as against Wigan, but then again he was playing Newcastle and not, well, Wigan. Still had great energy along the left flank and was continually mounting pressure against the visiting side, but has a little ways to go before he can be a consistent threat at left-back.
He came out the gate absolutely buzzing. Anderson was easily Manchester United's best player in the first half and a big reason Newcastle United found themselves discouraged early. His strike in the 44th minute should have torn a hole in the net and if not for a superb performance from Magpies goalkeeper Robert Elliot, he'd have had the brace.
Tom Cleverley: 7/10
That curled effort in the 58th minute is going to be on highlight reels for the rest of the season. Cleverley had spotty play throughout, but put the ball in the back of the net when it counted.
Darren Fletcher: 8/10
Fletcher had superb challenges, great passes and disciplined play to stay in the center of the pitch. His assist on Anderson's goal encouraged the rest of the team. He captained an inexperienced Red Devils side into the fourth round of the League Cup.
Ryan Tunnicliffe: 6.5/10
He came on for Vermijl as a replacement right-back, even though the 19-year-old primarily plays midfield. Tunnicliffe settled well and calmed his nerves in his debut at Old Trafford. Now that he's got some live experience, it'll be interesting to see how he plays from here on out.
Nick Powell: 7/10
He replaced the returning Rooney in the 77th minute and led several attacks for the home side. The Devils had good, strong play from the veteran.
Wayne Rooney: 7/10
If he wasn't fully match-fit, he could have fooled me. He didn't score, but his shots looked dangerous, and his pace was as strong as ever. He had energetic bursts early in the match. It'll be interesting to see if he's given the green light to start against Tottenham on Saturday or if he'll be a super sub.
Danny Welbeck: 7.5/10
Welbeck may have had some off-target shots when given chances against Wigan last weekend, but he recovered. He demonstrated great control all match, and his assist on Cleverly's goal in the 58th minute was a thing of grace. He gave the best performance of any of Manchester United's forwards.
Javier Hernandez: 6.5/10
There was spotty play tonight from the Mexican international. He had some great crosses and superb touches, but he also failed to control any of the long passes fed to him.
Robbie Brady: 7/10
Brady came in for the left-back Buttner in the closing minutes of the match. He plays forward for the Red Devils, but it looks as though Ferguson wanted some speed at defense, and Buttner, who'd played 86 minutes, wasn't going to provide it. Brady did well to keep pace with Cisse and prevented visiting Newcastle from getting their equalizer. Well done for Brady in a position he rarely—if ever—plays.