Trailing to Ronaldinho's early opener and lucky not to be out of the tie after being completely outplayed, Manchester United managed to reach the interval level at the San Siro after an outrageous piece of good fortune.
As he attempted to get on the end of Antonio Valencia's cross, Scholes completely missed his kick and was as amazed as anyone to see the ball shoot off his standing left leg and fly past Dida into the far corner.
It proved to be the catalyst for an imperious second-half display which saw United charge into a 3-1 lead before Clarence Seedorf gave the Italian giants some hope of recovering the position at Old Trafford on Wednesday night.
"That goal was probably the worst one I have ever scored," said Scholes, who bagged his 100th in the Premier League on Saturday with a late winner at Wolves.
"It is easy enough to admit. I meant to hit it with my right foot and the ball came off my left.
"But a goal is a goal and I will take it. It was a goal we needed because after the first 20 minutes we could have been three or four down.
"From then on it always looked like we were going to win the game."