WAYNE Rooney ended Manchester United’s 404-minute goal drought by scoring the winner against CSKA Moscow on a night of high emotion at Old Trafford.
The United support had vented their frustration at the players when they sauntered off the pitch at half-time having failed to score again, and then Louis van Gaal got it in the neck for replacing Anthony Martial with Marouane Fellaini in the second half.
The supporters booed loudly when the striker was substituted in the 66th minute, but soon after Rooney headed in to give United a valuable 1-0 win over the Russians.
Victory over PSV in three weeks’ time will put United into the knockout stages of the Champions League.
That would be some achievement for Van Gaal’s team, who lost their first match against the Dutch side seven weeks ago. But the United manager still has a long way to go to prove his doubters wrong by pairing good results with enterprising, attacking football.
Rooney, at least, made his critics eat a slice of humble pie by scoring the winner.
The captain’s first Champions League goal since September 2013 was a welcome one. He is now level with United’s second highest scorer Denis Law on 237 goals.
United threw everything at CSKA. Martial, playing up front, squared to Rooney, who dragged a volley narrowly wide.
Daley Blind then floated a 50-yard pass over CSKA’s defence, but Juan Mata could not steer the ball past Igor Akinfeev.
But United continued to waste chances and in the 66th minute there was outrage from the United fans when Van Gaal replaced Martial with Fellaini.
United, despite their dominance, continued to flounder in front of goal, but then, finally, the breakthrough came. Michael Carrick floated a pass over the back four and Rooney headed in before embarking upon a wild celebration in front of the Stretford End.