Wayne Rooney put his disciplinary problems behind him to give Manchester United a 1-0 victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Rooney ensured his side will be in pole position when the Blues visit Old Trafford next week for the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final.
The striker will discover on Thursday whether his challenge to the two-match ban for swearing into a television camera was successful, but he ensured he would be in the headlines on Thursday morning for all the right reasons.
After a cagey start, Rooney gifted United a valuable away goal after 24 minutes; Michael Carrick's superb long-range pass finding Ryan Giggs on the left and the winger pulled the ball back for Rooney to slot the ball home from six yards.
Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti had kept faith with out-of-form striker Fernando Torres, who partnered Didier Drogba up front, but the Spaniard's wait for his first goal in a Chelsea shirt continued as Rooney took the plaudits.
Chelsea's best effort came shortly before half-time when Torres failed to steer Drogba's cross goalwards, but the ball bounced off the far post and Frank Lampard's weak shot on the rebound was cleared off the line by Patrice Evra.
The home side were denied a penalty deep into added time, when Evra failed to get the ball as he brought down Ramires - and just moments later Torres was booked after tumbling under a challenge from Antonio Valencia as the Blues desperately searched for an equaliser.
In the night's other match, favourites Barcelona put one foot in the semi-finals after beating Shakhtar Donetsk 5-1 at the Nou Camp.
Barcelona all but secured their spot in the Champions League semi-finals and a probable showdown with arch rivals Real Madrid after building a huge 5-1 first-leg lead over Shakhtar Donetsk.
Following on from Madrid's 4-0 thumping of Tottenham, Barca appear to have done all the hard work in their home quarter-final tie after another memorable European night at the Nou Camp.
Andres Iniesta, Dani Alves, Gerard Pique, Seydou Keita and Xavi were on the mark for the Catalan giants, while Shakhtar's sole reply came from Yaroslav Rakitskiy when they were already 3-0 down.