An away goal from Wayne Rooney gave Manchester United a 1-0 first-leg win in their Champions League quarter-final against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
It was the perfect way to respond to an FA charge following Rooney’s controversial four-letter tirade at a television camera during his match-winning performance against West Ham at the weekend.
Chelsea had their chances – Fernando Torres made it 10 games without a goal since joining from Liverpool but he hit the post and had a towering header kept out in style by Edwin van der Sar – but they were unable to break down a stubborn United, who at times looked irresistible on the counter attack.
There was also late drama as Chelsea were denied a cast-iron penalty when Ramires was brought down by last-man Patrice Evra, the Spanish referee signalling that the Frenchman took the ball, while Torres was correctly booked right at the death after a dive in the area.
The result leaves Chelsea on the brink of yet another Champions League exit – the only major trophy they have failed to win with Roman Abramovich as chairman – although a stirring second-half performance should give them confidence ahead of the April 12 second leg at Old Trafford.