United and Wolfsburg will play for top spot in Group B next month after both sides lost on Wednesday night.
CSKA Moscow defeated the German champions in Russia while bottom-of-the-group Besiktas ended the Reds’ 24-game unbeaten home run in Europe with a scrappy 1-0 win at Old Trafford.
United were left feeling aggrieved after Patrice Evra was denied what looked a stonewall penalty on 85 minutes and Besiktas goalkeeper Rustu Recber pulled off two stunning stoppage-time saves. But the Reds should have converted possession into at least one goal before then. In the end, Rodrigo Tello’s deflected strike proved decisive in a game that, until second-half injury time, was distinctly low on goalmouth drama.
Sir Alex made eight changes to the side that beat Everton and placed his faith in youth, handing starts to both Danny Welbeck and Federico Macheda. Gabriel Obertan started his first Champions League game, while Darron Gibson was paired with Anderson in the centre of midfield. There was also a rare start – this season, at least – for Ji-sung Park. The South Korea international has been plagued by knee trouble but made his first Reds appearance for two months.
It was Obertan on the opposite flank, however, who made the game's first meaningful impression. With barely a minute played, Anderson found the Frenchman in space and his low ball flashed across the penalty area. Five minutes later, Macheda teed up Welbeck on the penalty spot. Danny did well to shift the ball onto his left foot but dogged defending kept the score at 0-0.
There was action at the other end, too: Michael Fink unleashed a long-range shot that was easily saved by Ben Foster before Bobo wasted an opportunity to capitalise on a Gary Neville error. But it was the Reds who dominated early proceedings, as Anderson and Gibson dictated the pace of the game. The Irishman had a shot deflected onto