United's quest to erase the agonies of Rome opened with an efficient away win in Istanbul, thanks to a second-half header from Paul Scholes.
The veteran Reds midfielder will sit out the Manchester derby after Saturday's undeserved red card at Spurs but he wasn't going to miss the opportunity presented to him when Nani's initial shot was saved by Besiktas goalkeeper Hakan Arikan in the 77th minute.
The 1-0 victory was no more than United deserved after dominating possession and carrying the greater attacking threat through the likes of Nani and Champions League debutant Antonio Valencia. The two wingers came into the starting line-up as Sir Alex opted to put Dimitar Berbatov on the bench and rest Ryan Giggs altogether; the other changes to the side that won in style at Spurs brought Gary Neville in for John O'Shea at right-back and Michael Carrick replacing Darren Fletcher in midfield.
Besiktas' first real moment of alarm came when Valencia dived in an effort to flick on Nani’s left-wing corner, only for a defender to do it for him and send the ball arcing towards the top corner. Arikan, starting in preference to Turkish legend Rustu Recber, was alert enough to parry it; moments earlier he saved Carrick's first shot on target.
Arikan was less than convincing on crosses, needing two attempts to gather the ball after flapping at Valencia’s centre. The Ecuadorian was tasked with tucking in from the right whenever United attacked on the opposite flank and he was unlucky not to conncet cleanly when Rooney pinged one in from the left.
Besiktas’s best spell of the first half was triggered when Serdar Ozkan’s shot from distance was deflected just over the bar by Jonny Evans, with Ben