Paul Scholes popped up 13 minutes from time to ensure Manchester United's bid to reach a third successive Champions League final got off on exactly the right note as they beat Besiktas 1-0 in Istanbul.

Sent off at the weekend at Tottenham for some would say two typical Scholes tackles, the 34-year-old produced another skill he is well noted for, ghosting into the penalty area unseen to nod home after Hakan Arikan had saved Nani's blistering shot.

It was just the right way to start atoning for that dismal performance against Barcelona in Rome last May, and it might have been even more only for substitute Michael Owen to toe-poke a close-range chance just wide.

Not that United had it all their own way. Ben Foster set himself to save Serdar Ozkan's shot, only for the ball to flick off Jonny Evans and cannon skywards.

The United keeper could only turn and hope, knowing he was powerless to do anything about it. Thankfully, the ball dropped just the wrong side of the crossbar for Besiktas' fans, who cranked up the volume to maximum just before kick-off and kept it there until half-time.

With Cristiano Ronaldo making a goalscoring bow for Real Madrid in Europe's elite competition, Patrice Evra has been given licence to get forward far more than in the past.

He skipped onto Nani's well-executed pass with relish and drove a low cross to the near post. But Michael Carrick was not in the greatest of positions and turned it meekly wide.

The introduction of Dimitar Berbatov and Owen, who was making his first Champions League appearance for four-and-a-half years, meant the departures of Carrick and Rooney, who did not look impressed as he walked off.

Yet, disappointed as he was, Rooney is too much of a team man not to celebrate when United score.

Nani deserved all the credit for a blistering shot that Arikan saved but could not hold. Not for the first time in his long career, Scholes was on hand to finish off the rebound.

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Topics:
#Tottenham Hotspur
#European News
#Ben Foster
#Dimitar Berbatov
#Michael Owen
#Premier League
#Michael Carrick
#UEFA Champions League
#Manchester United
#Patrice Evra
#Cristiano Ronaldo
#Nani
#Paul Scholes
#Jonny Evans
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