Ruud wraps up Red Devils win
By Mark Buckingham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Wes Brown's first-ever goal for The Red Devils and a sublime Ruud van Nistelrooy effort five minutes from time secured the points for the hosts but they were forced to work their socks off by a depleted Turin team, who enjoyed the lion's share of possession and nicked an injury-time consolation.
United handed themselves the perfect start when David Beckham's corner was headed into the back of the net by Brown, although stand-in keeper Antonio Chimenti should have made a better fist of stopping the ball.
For the majority of the first half, Juventus controlled the match, with Pavel Nedved unleashing a 25-yard drive which crashed off the outside of the upright.
But despite their dominance of possession, the visitors were unable to make it count as they failed to seriously test Fabien Barthez.
The Red Devils were disjointed in attack and only the introduction of John O'Shea for the injured Mikael Silvestre prompted an upsurge in performance in the second half.
The big moment of controversy came on the hour mark as Ruud van Nistelrooy pounced on a mistake to round Chimenti, only to be dragged down by the Juve shot-stopper.
Advantage was played and Paul Scholes should have scored, rather than hitting the post, but it is a mystery how Chimenti was not sent off by referee Kim Milton Nielsen.
Alessio Tacchinardi then let rip with a searing drive which was just off target while van Nistelrooy curled an effort wide from the edge of the box.
With Juventus still looking the brighter of the two teams, United grabbed the decisive second after harassing Edgar Davids out of possession.
Beckham picked up the ball and floated a perfect pass into the area which van Nistelrooy steered beyond the stranded Chimenti.
Juventus set up an edgy finale when the impressive Nedved's cross-cum-shot skimmed the studs of Ferdinand and crept into the far corner but there was insufficient time for the Italian champions to poach what would have been a worthy equaliser.
In the other Group D encounter, Basel boosted their prospects of a surprise spot in the last eight with a slender 1-0 success over Deportivo La Coruna.
The mercurial Hakan Yakin grabbed the decisive goal with a stunning 25-yard volley on the half-hour mark.
Prior to that, Murat Yakin's early free-kick hit the post while Aldo Duscher had a shot cleared off the line in an open, entertaining match in Switzerland.