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Champions League : Man Utd 1-0 Shakhtar Donetsk

Manchester United finish top of Group A after this narrow 1-0 victory over Shakhtar Donetsk but it owed as much to the visitor's inability to finish as to the hosts patchy display. At least in the Champions league Manchester United had captured some semblance of form in remaining unbeaten, but their first half performance was more akin to their disappointing Premiership displays as Shakhtar outplayed their more illustrious opponents.

United were ponderous in midfield, and unsure at the back which the speedy attacks of the Brazilian contingent at Shakhtar quickly exploited. Alex Teixeira twice had opportunities as the home side came under increasing pressure.

Yet the visitors almost paid the price for not taking their chances as Ashley Young lobbed wide from a good position then dragged another effort across the face of goal as the half ended.

The Old Trafford faithful greeted the half-time whistle with a mixture of boos and silence in response to United's effort's.

After the break the Ukrainian's continued to look the more composed and Yaroslav Rakitskiy shaved a post soon after the restart following a corner whilst Wayne Rooney almost succeeded with an audacious chip from distance.

The introduction of Robin van Persie and Tom Cleverley with 30 minutes remaining gave United some stability and from a 67th minute van Persie corner Phil Jones rifled a shot home.

The goal seemed to knock the threat out of Shakhtar and the air of desperation amongst the fans seemed to lift even if the fault lines at Manchester United are still evident as they continue to remain unbeaten against Ukrainian teams in the Champions League.

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Dave Williams

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