Three days after some profligate finishing contributed to Cardiff City's late equaliser, Manchester United returned to their clinical best to record a record 5-0 away win at Bayer Leverkusen.
David Moyes, in just his fifth Champions League match in charge of United, managed United's heaviest win in the competition since its format change in 1992. Goals came via Antonio Valencia, a Emir Spahić own goal, Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling and Nani's cute flick.
Leverkusen, second only to Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga, were wretched. United beat them 4-2 in September and the scoreline flattered them again on Wednesday night, but this was an occasion to toast for the visitors, who have now qualified for the last 16.
United have never looked so ruthless under Moyes. Their 4-1 win at Swansea on the opening day of the season and the first-half destruction of Fulham were perhaps the only previous occasions when United played a style of football worthy of their heritage, only what made this such a superb victory was how reticent they were under Sir Alex Ferguson.
This was the first time United had won by four goals or more on foreign shores since the Treble season, when Brondby were battered 6-2 in October 1998. United had not been this gung-ho since they crushed Dynamo Kiev 4-2 six years ago.
"It was one of my best days as Manchester United manager but the best days are still to come," Moyes said. "We won well and played well, with some outstanding performances.
The Bay Arena scoreboard makes for a happy sight for United fans
"Bayer Leverkusen have a great record here so to come here and win 5-0 puts it into perspective as well."
Wayne Rooney, deployed as United's No.9, claimed four assists, Shinji Kagawa thrived again in a central role and Ryan Giggs produced a playmaking masterclass in midfield.
The Busby Babes' 6-0 evisceration of Shamrock Rovers in 1957 remains United's record away triumph in Europe.
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