Manchester United sealed their place at the top of their Champions League group with a 1-0 home win over Shakhtar Donetsk, who go out.
4 - Manchester United’s last four home games have ended 1-0 (all competitions; two wins and two defeats). Margins.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 10, 2013
A quiet start to the game was ended when the home crowd were almost given a shock, with Alex Teixeira outpacing Jonny Evans only to put his shot wide. Adnan Januzaj had United's best chance inside the first 20 minutes, taking the ball on his chest before turning and shooting at the 'keeper.
Teixeira made a darting run through the centre of United's midfield but only put his shot straight at David de Gea as Shakhtar started to control proceedings. Wayne Rooney fired back with a free-kick of his own which beat the keeper but flew just wide of the post.
United's best chances of the half fell to Ashley Young after he robbed Darijo Srna of the ball, but his attempted lob bounced just wide of the target before he spurned another great chance just before the break.
Into the second half, Shinji Kagawa had the best chance of the early stages but fired just wide before Rooney attempted a 25-yard chip over the keeper which just cleared the bar.
It was left to the unlikely figure of Phil Jones to break the deadlock, spinning to volley home a half-cleared corner after 68 minutes.
With Leverkusen beating Real Sociedad in the other group game, Shakhtar knew they had to come back into the game to save their European season, but United grew in stature as the game went on and didn't often look as though they would concede the lead.
Key Player Grades
Alex Teixeira: B
Shakhtar's most creative player in the first half and looked most likely to score for them, too. When he faded somewhat as the game went on, so too did Shakhtar as a team.
Wayne Rooney: B+
United's best player again. Showed good invention and determination to create chances for himself and others, always looked to find space to receive the ball and went close to scoring on more than one occasion.
United were already through before this game and will contest the knockout stages of the Champions League in the new year. Shakhtar drop from second to third and go out of the competition, with Bayer Leverkusen beating them at the last.