By Robert Morris,
Javier Hernandez came off the bench to score a crucial late goal, giving Manchester United all three points in Valencia. In what was arguably United’s toughest fixture within the group, Sir Alex Ferguson will be delighted to have won in Spain for the first time in eight years.
The team sheet was once again given a shuffle from the weekends tie against Bolton, with Rafael, Rio Ferdinand, Michael Carrick and Anderson all starting, whilst Paul Scholes and Wayne Rooney have both picked up minor injuries.
Previous visits to the Mestalla Stadium had both finished goalless and with just 5 minutes left on the clock it seemed things were edging that way again. Despite Valencia looking dangerous on the counter attack and firing in tough crosses a plenty, they were unable to strike any notable efforts on goal.
The 4-5-1 formation adopted by Manchester United showed a clear intent from the manager to defend deep and hopefully snatch a result; and that’s exactly what he got. Javier Hernandez (photo), who replaced the impressive Anderson, had United’s first big chance when his outstretched foot pushed Nani’s cross onto the post in the 84th minute. 60 seconds later however, the Red Devil’s took the lead when Kiko Macheda shifted the ball inside to Hernandez, and the young Mexican converted brilliantly into the bottom corner with his left foot.
United now occupy a strong position at the top of the group and with their next tie against Bursaspor at Old Trafford, the Red Devils will undoubtedly qualify from the group stages of the Champions League.