United’s defending was less convincing at the next corner, however, and had it not been for a bad header from Barzagli – over the bar from an unmarked position – the Reds could have been behind. The same could be said when Dzeko delivered a right-wing cross in open play and Misimovic nodded high above Kuszczak’s goal.
After several scares at the back, the Reds inflicted one at the other end when Anderson threaded a ball into Welbeck’s feet at the edge of the area and the young striker slotted it low inside Benaglio’s left-hand post. A roar went up from the vocal away fans, but alas, the lad was offside and it was Wolfsburg’s turn to feel relieved.
United enjoyed a decent share of the possession as the first period wore on and were again close to capitalising when the front two, Owen and Welbeck, combined well before the junior partner dragged his shot wide. In reply, Hasebe tried his luck from distance but was denied the opening goal by a flying finger-tip save from Kuszczak.
Where Welbeck narrowly failed, the elder statesman alongside him succeeded when United took the lead two minutes before the break. Scholes was involved, delivering a delicious pass out to the left where Nani was ready and waiting to advance and bend in the perfect cross. Owen’s predatory instincts kicked in and sneaking between two defenders, he planted his head on the ball and buried it past Benaglio from six yards.