David Moyes left the Donbass Arena as the first manager of a English club to take a point from a trip to Donetsk in this competition, but was also denied what would have been a vital - and morale-boosting - Champions League win.
Arsenal (twice), Tottenham and Chelsea have all been beaten here, so the Scot can look on with some satisfaction on a result which consolidates a decent start to Group A. But he may also lament the fact his side got within 15 minutes of what would have been an impressive victory.
The scorer of United's last away goal in the competition - against Real Madrid - Danny Welbeck was on the mark again, steering home after Yaroslav Rakitskiy had made a hash of clearing Marouane Fellaini's cross.But Shakhtar continued to press and when Taison thrashed home an impressive effort, United needed all their moxie to gain the draw their industry deserved.
"It was a good point in the Champions League coming here, they've got a great record against English teams here," said Moyes. "The team stood up well tonight, they got a good goal early doors and I thought we looked as if we were going to stop them scoring; we defended very well."
Currently in the wrong half of the Premier League table after three defeats in their opening six games - their worst start since 1989 - the backdrop to a trip to Donetsk was as bleak as the weather in this mining city.
Until Juventus came to the Donbass Arena and won in December, Shakhtar had pieced together an impressive 49-game unbeaten run on home soil. So, after the 10 days he has endured, Moyes had every right to regard reaching half-time a goal up as some kind of success; a situation made all the more impressive by the absence of Wayne Rooney through injury.
There were still shaky moments in the first half. Tom Cleverley got away with a sliding penalty area challenge on Alex Teixeira which got the faintest of touches on the Shakhtar player, enough to offer the opportunity of an exaggerated fall. Thankfully for Cleverley, Czech referee Pavel Kralovec was unsympathetic to Teixeira's plea.
Robin van Persie curled over following a neat control and turn onto Cleverley's pass before Welbeck then put the visitors ahead. Yaroslav Rakitskiy will not look back on the goal with any fondness, virtually teeing Welbeck up as he tried to intercept Fellaini's cross. The England striker needed no second invitation and drilled his first-time finish into the bottom corner.
Shakhtar dominated possession for long periods thereafter. However, Nemanja Vidic had one of those nights which confirms his status as a central component of Moyes' squad.
Always in the right place to make a block or decisive intervention, the Serb's defensive instincts are such that any concerns about his dodgy knees will surely be overlooked when discussions begin over an extension to the contract which expires at the end of the season.
Taison did get past Rafael to fizz a low cross into the area which David de Gea, one of only two survivors from Saturday's home defeat by West Brom, got down bravely to smother. It was also Taison who belted a free-kick into the wall after Vidic had been booked for upending Luiz Adriano.
The introduction of Ryan Giggs for a record 145th Champions League appearance - including qualifiers - was followed within minutes by Shakhtar's equaliser as Vidic could only turn Rakitskiy's cross into the path of Taison, who blasted home. United creaked a couple of times. But they were never in serious danger of being overhauled.
"You have to win other games if we're going to progress further in this competition," said Moyes. "But on paper this looked a hard away tie and we've picked up a good point."