After all that talk about Wayne Rooney and his lack of form, the Manchester United captain stepped up like only he can, scoring the winner in a tense UEFA Champions League encounter against CSKA Moscow at Old Trafford.

Coming off three consecutive goalless draws, it looked like Manchester United were headed the same way again much to the frustration of the home crowd, only for Rooney to pop up with the winning goal on 79 minutes.

The previous 78 minutes had been frustrating for Manchester United, with the supporters crying out "attack, attack, attack" and "We are Man United, we want to attack" on a few occasions, and just when those frustrations were hitting fever pitch, the breakthrough came.

CSKA Moscow, happy to sit deep and defend, gave the ball away in their own half, with Michael Carrick then floating in a crossfield ball for Jesse Lingard to help it across the penalty box on the volley. Rooney was on hand to head that cross into the back of the net, much to the delight of the crowd and the relief of the captain and manager Louis Van Gaal.

"Of course it is a relief because you have seen an attacking Manchester United team creating lots of chances against an organised team. It is always difficult to score goals. We had to wait a long time. We controlled the match for 89 minutes and for one minute we didn't control it," Van Gaal told the club's official website, pointing to the time when Seydou Doumbia ran clear of goal and looked like scoring only for Chris Smalling to make a brilliant goalline clearance.

"We could have been defeated again. If they had scored then I would be sitting here very differently. But we deserved, totally, to win so I am relieved but I am also proud.

"It is not so easy. Also, in the golden years of Manchester United I have read they never won against a Russian team at home.

"Everybody thinks it is easy but it is not easy. It is not easy for one club to win in the Champions League."