Manchester United FC put their Premier League worries behind them with a 1-0 victory over FC Shakhtar Donetsk – a result that eliminated the Ukrainian title holders from this season's UEFA Champions League while securing first place in Group A.
Phil Jones's 67th-minute goal earned United a third straight home success in Group A and left Shakhtar ruing a series of missed opportunities in a match where they had three times as many attempts on target. While United can now look forward to Monday's draw for the round of 16, Shakhtar's name will go into the hat for the UEFA Europa League last 32 draw an hour later after Bayer 04 Leverkusen pipped them to second spot.
United came into the game looking for a big improvement on their successive home defeats by Everton FC and Newcastle United FC and manager David Moyes's response was a team showing six changes from the Newcastle game, although the most noteworthy starter was a player retained from Saturday, 18-year-old attacker Adnan Januzaj. The Belgian was making his first UEFA Champions League appearance and underlined his potential early on with a smart turn and shot at Andriy Pyatov.
With United already qualified, Shakhtar's need for a result was greater and they got players forward at every opportunity. They almost got a goal after 13 minutes when Taison picked up the ball in the midfield, wriggled out of a cluster of red shirts and slipped a pass through to Alex Teixeira but under pressure from Jonny Evans he steered his left-foot shot past the far post. United looked vulnerable and Teixeira almost took advantage when he accelerated away Ryan Giggs in the midfield, cut across both United centre-backs but shot straight at David De Gea.
United's discomfort continued as Rio Ferdinand lost the ball to Teixeira out on the right but the resulting cutback to Fred ended with a shot blocked by the centre-back. That said, it was not one-way traffic, Ashley Young lobbing over after breaking clear.
Shakhtar pushed again after the restart and Yaroslav Rakitskiy saw his shot deflected by Jones on to the post following a corner. In the end, though, it was Jones at the other end who provided the decisive intervention. Shakhtar failed to clear substitute Robin van Persie's corner at the near post and the ball carried to Jones who from ten metres out fired home on the half-volley.