Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United suffered an early setback but recovered to record a 2-1 triumph over Wolfsburg.
Antonio Valencia’s poor positioning allowed Daniel Caligiuri to remain onside and slot home Max Kruse’s through ball from close range.
But half an hour later, Cagliuri turned from hero to villain, handling Juan Mata’s ball in the box and the Spaniard coolly converted the resulting spot kick.
Mata then turned provider, linking Bastian Schweinsteiger’s scuffed volley to Chris Smalling with a wonderfully improvised flick, and the centre-back stuck to the script to give United their first Champions League win since March 2014.
Rivals Manchester City were also in action against German opposition, sealing a late 2-1 win at Borussia Monchengladbach.
Like United, City were up against it, with Nicolas Otamendi conceding a penalty for a clumsy challenge on Raffael.
Joe Hart did brilliantly to deny the Brazilian’s spot kick, but was powerless to stop Lars Stindl poking Monchengladbach ahead early in the second half.
Otamendi made up for his earlier error by volleying home during a goalmouth scramble and, with a minute to go, Sergio Aguero fell under the challenge of Fabian Johnson in the 18-yard box before keeping his composure to score the penalty and give City their first Champions League win this season.
In Manchester United’s Group B, CSKA Moscow held on to earn a 3-2 win over Dutch champions PSV.
Ahmed Musa put the Russians ahead after eight minutes, whilst Seydou Doumbia added two more to give the Russians a seemingly unassailable lead at half time.
Eight minutes was also the time between Maxime Lestienne’s second half double for PSV, but any hopes of a late comeback were dashed when Santiago Arias was sent off with 10 minutes remaining.
City remain third in Group D due to Juventus’ 2-0 victory at home to Sevilla.
Alvaro Morata headed Juve into the lead, and substitute Simone Zaza ensured the Italians put their questionable domestic form behind them to give them a second straight continental win.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 500th career goal and equalled Raul as Real Madrid’s all-time leading goalscorer on 323 goals in the Spanish side’s 2-0 win at Swedish champions Malmo.
Ronaldo’s strikes in the 29th and 90th minutes were enough for Los Blancos to make the most of their 75% possession.
Elsewhere in Group A, Paris Saint-Germain kept the pressure on the Spanish giants by securing a 3-0 win at Shakhtar Donetsk.
Unlikely goals from Serge Aurier and David Luiz, plus a Darijo Srna own goal secured the French outfit the points.
Atletico Madrid fell to a surprise 2-1 defeat at home to Portuguese side Benfica.
Angel Correa put Atleti ahead, before wingers Nicolas Gaitan and Goncalo Guedes chipped in to keep the Aguias top of group C.
Finally, a game of three own goals only saw Astana and Galatasaray play out a 2-2 draw in Kazakhstan.
Bilal Kisa put Gala ahead, before Hakan Balta found his own net to bring Astana level. Astana goalkeeper Nenad Eric then put the Turkish side back in front, but Lionel Carole’s own goal made sure Astana claimed their first ever Champions League point.
Player of the Night: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)
Team of the Night: Astana
Goal of the Night: Chris Smalling (Manchester United)