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.
|Juve reject €80million Barca offer for Pogba, says Marotta|
|Ruiz seals permanent Villarreal move|
|Mourinho respects Cech´s decision to quit Chelsea|
|Claridge excited by potential Pearson successors|
|Miranda completes Inter switch|
|Blind takes over as Netherlands coach|
|Mourinho: Premier League tougher to win than ever|
|Hamburg make Holtby move permanent|
|Southampton terminate Osvaldo contract|
|BREAKING NEWS: Swansea swoop for Eder|
|Abbiati extends Milan stay|
|Cruyff: Barcelona have lost their values|
|Vydra seals Watford move|
|Ambitious Clyne targets trophy haul with Liverpool|
|Claridge: Off-field incidents cost Pearson his job|
|Clyne becomes Liverpool´s sixth close-season signing|
|Imbula leaves Marseille for Porto|
|FIFA chief Blatter challenges critics to prove corruption claims|
|Distin joins Bournemouth|
|Bayern seal Costa deal|
|Arsenal confirm Diaby departure|
|Blatter to miss Women´s World Cup final|
|Bogdan sets sights on being Liverpool number one|
|Danilo eager to get started at Real Madrid|
|Leicester´s Wood joins Leeds|
|Porto confirm Atletico move for Martinez|
|Lloyd: Repetition key to netting penalty|
|Sheffield Wednesday job a ´dream´ for Carvalhal|
|´We played a complete game´ - Messi|
|Diaz upbeat despite heavy Copa loss to Argentina|
|Martino lauds Messi for selfless performance|
|Viviani makes surprise Verona switch|
|Estonian team wins cup match 31-0|
|No meeting with Arsenal has occurred - Vidal´s agent|
|United States 2 Germany 0: Ellis´ team reach World Cup final|
|Argentina 6 Paraguay 1: Messi leads Martino´s men to Copa final|
|UEFA Europa League Review: FK Zeljeznicar and FC Dacia Chisinau open with wins|
|UEFA Champions League Review: FC Pyunik make winning start|
|Sweden U21 0 Portugal U21 0 (aet, 4-3 on penalties): Carlgren the hero as Swedes claim Euro glory|
|Frankfurt capture Castaignos|
|Bastia face relegation over debt|
|Bahlouli makes Monaco switch|
|Pearson sacked by Leicester|
|Rekik set for Marseille switch|
|Ranocchia and Carrizo sign new Inter deals|
|Crespo handed Modena role|
|Cech reveals work permit prevented past Arsenal move|
|Ivory Coast cut coaching shortlist down to five|
|McCarthy satisfied with Mings sale|
|Heaton commits to Burnley|
|Bowyer: Rhodes and Gestede will not come cheap|
|Burton and Day depart West Brom|
|Mendilibar makes Eibar return|
|Milan agree to terminate Muntari contract|
|Copa final a dream come true for Sampaoli|
|CSKA Sofia demoted due to financial crisis|
|Wolfsburg warn off De Bruyne suitors|
|Kone: I want to prove I can cut it at Everton|
|West Ham v Lusitans: Bilic set for first game in charge|
|Millennium Stadium to host 2017 UEFA Champions League final|
|Ronaldo a ´possibility´ for Portugal´s Olympics squad|
|Liverpool should get rid of Sterling - Grobbelaar|
|Miranda arrives for Inter medical|
|Arsenal can challenge the best - Cech|
|Real star Bale can be better than Ronaldo, says Keegan|
|UEFA approves changes to FFP rules|
|Honduras v Mexico: Moreno´s injury may force Mexican rethink pre-Gold Cup|
|Hiddink was the wrong man for Netherlands - De Boer|
|Vargas: I was scoring with every shot at training|
|Zambrano red rocked Peru - Gareca|
|Paraguay to change tack against Argentina|
|Sampaoli thrilled with substitutes´ influence, applauds Peru|
|Martino rues Copa America date with former side Paraguay|
|Former Birmingham City player Thwaites among Tunisia victims|
|Chile 2 Peru 1: Zambrano´s red card helps hosts into Copa final|
|Thiago Silva: ´I didn´t even know the ball had hit my hand´|
|Ronaldinho set to sign for Antalyaspor|
|Jara ban reduced on appeal by one match|
|Hiddink leaves Netherlands post|
|Cresswell pens new five-year deal at West Ham|
|Koeman: No serious United bid for Schneiderlin|
|Barbados eliminated from World Cup qualifying after fielding ineligible player|
|Former Catania president admits buying matches|
|Jones agrees Manchester United deal|
|Argentina v Paraguay: Valdez hoping not to need another comeback|
|Milan seal Bertolacci signing|
|Cech grateful to Abramovich and Chelsea fans|
|UEFA Champions League Preview: Brotherly pride at stake as B36 play TNS|
|UEFA Europa League Preview: Tommasi set to aid La Fiorita qualifying bid|
|Cech leaves Chelsea to join Arsenal|
|Paulinho ends Spurs frustration with Guangzhou move|
|Sampdoria confirm Eto´o exit amid Antalyaspor talk|
|Garcia departs Espanyol ahead of expected Qatar move|
|Watford to delay Doyley decision|
|Schlupp agrees new Leicester deal|
|Schweinsteiger hints at Bayern stay amid United links|
|Bertolacci thrilled ahead of Milan move|
|Langerak leaves Dortmund for Stuttgart|
|Muniain extends Athletic contract|
|Youngsters to get chance on US tour - Van Gaal|
|La Liga chief hits out at Real Madrid over TV rights opposition|
|Villa confirm Wilkins as assistant manager|
|Dicks joins West Ham coaching staff|
|Heldt enters to jeers, exits to cheers|
|Paraguay pride has grown at Copa America - Aguilar|
|Van Gaal tight-lipped on De Gea|
|Bacca confirms Milan agreement|
|Weight of expectation on hosts Chile to benefit Peru - Gareca|
|MLS Review: Timbers thump Sounders thanks to Adi´s double|
|Dzeko ´would run to Roma´ - Pjanic|
|Peru won´t sit back - Sampaoli|
|Zenga: Cassano, Balotelli will not be joining Sampdoria|
|Victory to start A-League defence away to Adelaide|
|I want to play MLS ´at the peak of my career´ - Johannsson|
|Allegri: I like Isco and Oscar|