Manchester United have given themselves every chance of advancing to the Europa League quarter-finals with a 1-1 draw at Rostov.
Jose Mourinho's concerns pre-match about the condition of the playing surface at the Stadion Olimp-2 were vindicated as the quality of the contest was clearly affected.
United's passing accuracy in the Premier League has been 85% this season but dropped to 61% in Russia due to the poor pitch.
Nevertheless, they got the result they wanted through a first-half Henrikh Mkhitaryan goal before conceding to Alexander Bukharov inside 10 minutes of the second half.
Rostov's equaliser occurred in the 53rd minute when a lovely lofted ball from Timofey Kalachev was controlled brilliantly by the chest of Bukharov who then volleyed home beyond Sergio Romero having beaten off the challenge of Phil Jones.
From there on for United, it was more a case of getting through unscathed and maintaining the scoreline, which they achieved, and will now head back to Old Trafford for the return bout next Thursday with a vital away goal in their pockets.
Next on the agenda, however, is the FA Cup quarter-final with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Monday night.
2016/17 Europa League - Round of 16 1st leg