VALENCIA (0) vs MANCHESTER UTD (1)
MANCHESTER UNITED boss Sir Alex Ferguson bizarrely claimed Javier Hernandez finished “as if he was shelling a pea – it was so natural” after the Mexican hit a late winner.
Hernandez, whose nickname Chicharito means ‘Little Pea’, fired his first competitive goal for the club with five minutes to spare at the Mestalla stadium.
It was United’s maiden goal of their European campaign and provided a first win which, given Valencia are their principal rivals for top spot in Group C, puts them in a strong position to qualify.
“Hernandez and Kiko [Federico Macheda] are fantastic finishers, and he took his goal as if he was shelling a pea, it was so natural to him. His pace and penetration caused them a bit of bother,” said Ferguson. “We and Valencia were favourites for the group so it was an important win. It is difficult to come here – they’re top of the league for the right reasons, so it was an important result for us.”
United arrived in Valencia without the injured Wayne Rooney or two of their best players so far this season, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs, and the Spanish league leaders largely posed more of a threat.
Valencia forward Roberto Soldado ought to have scored in the first half when goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar flapped at a left-wing cross, but could not keep his header down, and went close to nodding the home side in front on two more occasions.
Dimitar Berbatov posed an intermittent threat for United but it was substitute Hernandez who made the breakthrough in the 85th minute, collecting a pass from Macheda and manufacturing a yard of space in the box before rifling low into the corner.