Scholes header secures points for United

Besiktas 0 Manchester United 1

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 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.

Scholes' effort gave United victory they just about deserved in a match of few chances.

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 is proving to be a reliable performer as Edwin van der Sar's deputy, although he did have to survive one major scare. It was one of those moments goalkeepers dread.

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.

Not that United were affected. Indeed, they coped in fine style, content to knock the ball around and wait for openings to come.

The problem was, they did not. Adopting an attitude of which Nemanja Vidic would have approved, the Turks buffeted their opponents when they had to - as Wayne Rooney and Nani would testify - and always remained solid.

On his Champions League debut Antonio Valencia got past Ibrahim Uzulmez on a couple of occasions, without being able to deliver a decent cross, while a neat back-heel from Nani released Patrice Evra inside the penalty area.

With Cristiano Ronaldo making a goalscoring bow for Real Madrid in Europe's elite competition, 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.

As the giant monitor showed Ronaldo thundering home on of his trademark free-kicks, it was hard not to think United are still missing the world player of the year.

How could it be any other way given he has been the star man in a team that has reached successive Champions League finals.

However, as tends to happen with players who are no longer around, their legend can often exceed the reality.

As he delivered his interval team-talk, Ferguson was no doubt reflecting that United had lacked a cutting edge at times even with Ronaldo in the team.

And, in a group where away points might end up being at a premium, starting their campaign with one would not be a disaster.

Not that any side managed by Sir Alex Ferguson would simply settle for a draw.

A brilliant cross from Nani caused havoc in the Besiktas area and when Matteo Ferrari failed to clear, Michael Carrick only needed a good bounce to threaten.

Unfortunately for the England man, he didn't get it and instead could only knee the ball goalwards, where it was scooped up by Hakan Arikan.

As the home side, Besiktas had an obvious incentive to keep pressing forward and if Paul Scholes had not stepped in to make one of his well-timed tackles, Ozkan might have been presented with a clear sight of goal.

Instead, it was Rodrigo Tabata who let fly, although Foster, producing another solid display, made a comfortable save.

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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
British musician Mark Ronson arrives for the UK premiere of the film 'Mortdecai'
music
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
Sport
footballBrighton vs Arsenal match report
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
News
people
News
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us