Manchester United finally found their fighting spirit as a 1-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk secured top spot in UEFA Champions League Group A.
Under performing and under fire in the Premier League, David Moyes' men responded to their first consecutive home league defeats since 2002 with a battling display on their return to the top table of European football to progress to the knockout stages on a high.
Phil Jones' 67th-minute half volley ultimately proved the difference, but Shakhtar were left to rue what might have been as they controlled the action for long periods.
The Ukrainians failed to convert their chances - most notably Brazilian Alex Teixeira - as Bayer Leverkusen's 1-0 win at Real Sociedad sent them out.
United started with Robin van Persie on the bench, as Wayne Rooney was asked to lead the line alone.
That provided another chance for Shinji Kagawa to stake his claim playing off the front, as he returned from the illness that had bizarrely required him to have his stomach pumped due to over-eating as he missed the Premier League loss to Newcastle.
Shakhtar coach Mircea Lucescu handed returns to Brazilian strike duo Fred and Taison but it was United who started more brightly, as Jones forced goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov to block.
The visitors should have taken a 12th-minute lead when a defence-splitting ball from midfield set Teixeira away, but he dragged his shot wide.
At the other end, Adnan Januzaj controlled expertly on his chest before spinning and firing goalward, forcing a fine save from Pyatov.
Shakhtar were the more dangerous in the final third – Teixeira winding his way past several challenges midway through the half with a run that deserved better than his tame finish.
However, Ashley Young wasted two gilt-edged chances to give United an advantage as first he outmuscled Darijo Srna, only to lob beyond the far post, before slicing woefully wide.
There was no doubt some strong words from Moyes in the dressing room, but the home side seemed to still be taking them in when a corner across the box missed everyone a minute after the restart and Yaroslav Rakitskiy scuffed a shot against the outside of the post.
Finally, United burst into life as Rooney's audacious chip from distance almost caught Pyatov off his line.
Reinforcements arrived in the shape of Van Persie and Tom Cleverley, and the Dutchman had not even touched the ball when Rooney's clever pass almost played him in.
But it was Jones who stepped up when United needed a hero.
After they had pressed Shakhtar to win a 67th-minute corner, Van Persie's flag-kick from the right bounced through everyone in the box where Jones angled his body to drill beyond Pyatov.
Srna forced David de Gea into a smart save late on, but United held firm and Van Persie almost added late gloss to the scoreline when a clipped finish flashed wide.
|FIFA World Cup: Brazil 0 Netherlands 3|
|Sabella remains unsure of Di Maria fitness|
|Abdennour pleased with friendly workout|
|Halilhodzic to take charge at Trabzonspor|
|Fenerbahce delighted to finally sign Diego|
|Low and Germany ready for finale|
|Lyon agree Rose deal|
|Neymar´s World Cup delights Bartomeu|
|De Laurentiis: Higuain going nowhere|
|Beckham lauds ´amazing´ Messi|
|PSG beat Videoton in seven-goal thriller|
|Horta makes Malaga switch|
|Southampton seal deal for Pelle|
|Barcelona ´convinced´ of reduction in Suarez ban|
|West Ham held by League Two Stevenage|
|Bianchi makes move to England|
|West Ham must be more clinical, says Allardyce|
|Germany experience will count - Lehmann|
|Berahino and Dorrans strike in Albion win|
|Ince settling quickly at Hull|
|Swansea in talks with Napoli over Michu|
|Dodo eyes Champions League with Inter|
|FIFA World Cup Preview: Germany v Argentina|
|Huddlestone out to hit the ground running|
|Pogba not bound for Chelsea - agent|
|Barry feeling fresh with Everton|
|Arteta plays down transfer talk|
|PSV complete De Jong deal|
|Colback excited for busy pre-season|
|Milan and Orlando in talks over Robinho|
|West Brom bring in Pocognoli|
|Maradona: Messi will define World Cup final|
|Rami seals Milan move|
|Kuyt eager to secure third place|
|Rodriguez talks up Real Madrid move|
|Bebe welcomes Benfica link|
|Koeman admits unsettled Lovren could leave|
|FIFA World Cup Final Preview: Argentina face old foes Germany with Brazil´s party in tatters|
|FIFA World Cup Final Preview: Messi aims to cement legacy|
|FIFA World Cup Final Preview: Sabella on the brink of greatness|
|FIFA World Cup Final Preview: Muller seeks to augment outstanding finals record|
|FIFA World Cup Final Preview: Low´s hard work pays off|
|FIFA World Cup Final Preview: The coaches to have tasted glory|
|FIFA World Cup Final Preview: The five most iconic finals|
|FIFA World Cup Final Preview: The five most iconic finals|
|FIFA World Cup Final Preview: Germany´s route to the final|
|FIFA World Cup Final Preview: Brazil 2014 produces moments to remember|
|SJ Earthquakes 1 DC United 2: Johnson, Silva score as Eastern Conference leaders extend advantage|
|Otamendi unfazed by price tag|
|Sam targeting top three with Schalke|
|Rodriguez out for revenge|
|Bruno Alves could leave Fenerbahce|
|Thiago Silva endured sleepless nights|
|Final on enemy soil ´special´, says Zabaleta|
|Arteta: Sanchez signing highlights Arsenal´s ambition|
|Mertesacker demands repeat performance|
|Scolari gets federation backing|
|Balotelli poses with shotgun|
|Lizarazu lauds Argentina´s craftiness|
|New deals for Moore, Schlupp|
|Litex Lovech 3 Veris 0 (3-0 agg): Bulgarians through to second round|
|Valencia loan Fede to Cordoba|
|Stoke closing in on Bojan|
|Inter still hopeful of Jovetic capture|
|Finalists dominate Golden Ball nominees|
|Celtic end Austria tour unbeaten|
|Rizzoli appointed World Cup final referee|
|Oier joins Granada|
|Escriba extends Elche agreement|
|Newcastle have agreement for Cabella, says Nicollin|
|Scolari: We have to move on|
|Roma complete Emanuelson deal|
|Alex pledges to improve Milan|
|Di Maria doing everything he can, says agent|
|Villa give Richardson a Premier League return|
|Sabella ´to step down´ after World Cup final|
|Van Gaal eyes ´unbeaten´ campaign|
|Suarez to take case to CAS|
|Germany have same spirit as in 1990, says Beckenbauer|
|´Quite clear Suarez wanted to leave´ - Liverpool fanzine|
|Southampton closing in on Pelle deal - Koeman|
|Suarez, Ronaldo, Bale and more: The Premier League talent drain|
|Augsburg capture Caiuby|
|Gerrard lauds departing Suarez|
|Andrade delighted at Benfica return|
|No Bony talks with Liverpool - Swansea|
|Lahm: Experience will be key|
|FIFA World Cup Preview: Brazil v Netherlands|
|Suarez departs Liverpool with ´heavy heart´|
|Liverpool did everything to keep Suarez - Rodgers|
|Suarez to sign for Barca|
|Boyce: Referees not told to be lenient|
|Sanchez reveals Wenger admiration|
|Flick staying secretive on Messi plans|
|Determined Dyche aims to complete more deals|
|Matri joins Genoa on loan|
|Valderrama talks up James potential|
|Aguero: Argentina are World Cup underdogs|
|Everton in talks over Traore return|
|Lambert tipped to prise open defences|
|Thauvin hails Bielsa impact at Marseille|
|Zico: Time for Scolari to go|
|Klopp eager for defensive improvement|
|Arsenal to run the rule over Fathi|
|Chamakh signs news Palace deal|
|Neville set to learn United fate|
|Fiorentina swoop for Brillante|
|Navas set to join Bayern|
|Neymar rejects agent´s anti-Scolari Twitter tirade|
|Allegri undecided on Italy job|
|Fernando idolises City team-mate Toure|
|Arteta: FA Cup will inspire Arsenal´s Premier League tilt|
|Evergrande confirm Gilardino signing|
|Howedes calls for team effort to stop Messi|
|Kuyt: Van Gaal can succeed at United|
|Argentina fined for player no-show|
|Neymar: ´I could be in a wheelchair´|
|Mascherano: I tackled doubts to block Robben|
|Zaccheroni: I leave Japan in a good spot|
|Aguero: Argentina ready to give everything|
|UEFA Europa League Review: Gothenburg leave it late, Sillamae stun Honka|