Jesse Lingard's thunderous strike lit up what ended up being a nervy Manchester United win as relegation-threatened Middlesbrough rallied under caretaker boss Steve Agnew.
The sides' final match before the international break always promised to be an intriguing encounter. For Boro, it was their first since Aitor Karanka's sacking while United were reeling from key absentees and a demanding schedule.
Jose Mourinho said the fixture pile-up meant United would probably lose at the Riverside but they emerged victorious, with Lingard's powerful drive the standout moment in a 3-1 victory that took Manchester United above Arsenal in fifth spot.
The England winger took aim from 25 yards and found the top right-hand corner with an outstanding effort, deservedly adding to Marouane Fellaini's first-half header.
It had looked like United's 600th Premier League win would be straightforward against goal-shy Boro, only for Rudy Gestede to capitalise on lax defending to reduce the deficit - his side's first league goal since January 31.
Belief grew around the Riverside only for an embarrassing moment to settle the match as Antonio Valencia capitalised on former United team-mate Victor Valdes' slip to wrap up a win that moves his side up to fifth.