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UEFA Champions League

  • September 29, 2010
  • • 19:45
  • • Estadio de Mestalla, Valencia
  • Referee: V. Kassai
  • • Attendance: 34946
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Valencia 0-1 Manchester United: Javier Hernandez Steals The Show As United Sneak Late Victory

Valencia 0-1 Manchester United: Javier Hernandez Steals The Show As United Sneak Late Victory

Mexican's late strike earns United a smash and grab victory...

Manchester United’s defensive worries have temporary subsided while their Champions League campaign has ignited in a close encounter at the Mestalla.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s side have leaked goals at the back this term and facing a side who current top the Spanish League, United looked destined to concede at some stage.

But following their frustrating draw in the first game of their group stage against Rangers at Old Trafford, United have now picked up a win which will undoubtedly boost their chances of topping Group C.

Valencia started the match in typical Spanish style and kept possession for the opening minutes. United’s early touches were greeted with whistles and jeers, which have developed into a custom when English sides play away in Europe.

Valencia approached the game in a different fashion to how they have started their domestic season. Instead of playing two in attack, the hosts opted for Roberto Soldado to act as a lone striker. Dimitar Berbatov was the sole forward for United, and his nearest team-mate was Anderson, who acted as a support man in a similar fashion to how he played at his former club Porto before moving to Old Trafford in 2007.

Following their defensive errors of late, a welcome reintroduction to United’s back line was the inclusion of Rio Ferdinand. The centre-back replaced Jonny Evans, who had been prone to mistakes during their opening games in the Premier League.

Another new addition to United’s starting lineup was Michael Carrick. The midfielder made his first start of the season following his recovery from injury but in the opening half he looked distinctly off the pace, and a heavy touch allowed Pablo space on the edge of the area, but the Valencia wide man blazed his shot over.

But the best chance of the opening half fell to Soldado. As Van der Sar flapped at a cross from the left, the ball flew into the path of the striker who had an open goal but his header ballooned over the bar. Valencia should have been a goal ahead, however, a more concerning issue for United was the poor marking that constantly threatens to lead to a goal being conceded.

United found it difficult to create chances in the first half. Berbatov was frequently isolated, despite showing the work-rate required to operate as a lone forward and Ji-Sung Park struggled to cope with a buccaneering mentality of Miguel. Nani, on the opposite flank, displayed a typical lack of consistency in his final ball and while Anderson showed brief glimpses of being able support the attack, the Brazilian was instructed to sit deeper to quash the threat of the hosts’ midfield.

Close encounter | Darren Fletcher and Pablo tussle in midfield

Valencia started brightly in the second half and the lively Pablo worked the free space he was given on the right wing and having cut inside, the midfielder flashed a shot past Van der Sar’s post.

Berbatov had a good chance to put the visitors in front after the Bulgarian turned away from David Navarro but Valencia’s goalkeeper, Cesar Sanchez, denied the striker with a save with his legs.

Midway through the second half, Valencia opted to revert back to their familiar domestic style as Aritz Aduriz was brought on to partner Soldado in attack. The pair instantaneously combined but Soldado’s effort was unable to fully test Van der Sar.

The second half replicated the first in as much as both sides struggled to create clear-cut chances. United went close six minutes from time as Nani’s cross was met by substitute Javier Hernandez at the back post, but the striker could only find woodwork.

But United completed their smash and grab victory one minute after they hit the post. Both substitutes combined as Federico Macheda fed through Hernandez and the Mexican darted past both centre-backs and slotted the ball neatly into the bottom corner.

Valencia applied the pressure in the final five minutes, but United were able to show resilience at the back to keep the hosts at bay. Ferguson will be pleased with the win as their European campaign is now ignited, but even more promising is the way United managed to keep a clean sheet against the current leaders of La Liga.

 

Valencia started brightly in the second half and the lively Pablo worked the free space he was given on the right wing and having cut inside, the midfielder flashed a shot past Van der Sar’s post.

 

Berbatov had a good chance to put the visitors in front after the Bulgarian turned away from David Navarro but Valencia’s goalkeeper, Cesar Sanchez, denied the striker with a save with his legs.

 

Midway through the second half, Valencia opted to revert back to their familiar domestic style as Aritz Aduriz was brought on to partner Soldado in attack. The pair instantaneously combined but Soldado’s effort was unable to fully test Van der Sar.

 

The second half replicated the first in as much as both sides struggled to create clear-cut chances. United went close six minutes from time as Nani’s cross was met by substitute Javier Hernandez at the back post, but the Mexican could only find woodwork.

 

But United completed their smash and grab victory one minute after they hit the post. Both substitutes combined as Federico Macheda fed through Hernandez and the Mexican darted past both centre-backs and slotted the ball neatly into the bottom corner.

 

Valencia applied the pressure in the final five minutes, but United were able to show resilience at the back to keep the hosts at bay. Sir Alex Ferguson will be pleased with the win as their European campaign is now ignited, but even more promising is the way United managed to keep a clean sheet against the current leaders of La Liga.

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