Wayne Rooney headed home when it appeared another frustrating night for Louis van Gaal at Old Trafford, with the hosts kept at bay until the 79th minute.
His late goal thus ended Manchester United's goal drought and earned the Red Devils a narrow 1-0 victory over CSKA Moscow in a game that promised a lot when it started.
Rooney has now moved level with Denis Law on 237 goals for the club when he nodded home Jesse Lingard's cross, ending his side’s goal drought in all competitions at 404 minutes.
By this victory, United move top of a highly competitive Group B table on seven points, earning their first home win over Russian opponents in European action.
Their achievement also spared manager Louis van Gaal from a fourth consecutive game without a goal, something the club had not endured since 1992.
United started brightly in their bid to end a series of drought front of goal that stretched back to the 1-1 draw game in Moscow with Anthony Martial's effort.
The French forward was again given the chance to play down the middle in the return encounter, as he was picked to start alongside his captain Rooney up front ahead of others.
Rooney registered an early attempt wide with his left foot, while Martial failed to get enough on a beautiful long pass from Daley Blind to steer the ball beyond the visitors’ goalie later in the game.
The first 45 minutes was a kind of good omen to Van Gaal’s men but they had to wait till after a barren first half.
A disgruntled home crowd booed at Van Gaal’s decision to bring on Marouane Fellaini after 65 minutes to take off Martial as they felt the youngster could still do more.
Seydou Doumbia nearly caused the home side more miseries but David de Gea and Chris Smalling denied him the glory.
Then immediately, Lingard's volleyed cross was converted by Rooney, bringing a sense of relief to the home fans and most likely see a revival of fortunes at the Old Trafford.