Utd top group but miss history
Manchester United blew their chance at history but won Champions Group C with a 1-1 home draw with Valencia.
Last Updated: 08/12/10 8:12pm
Manchester United blew their chance at history but won UEFA Champions Group C with a 1-1 home draw with Valencia.
Pablo Hernandez's scored on 32 minutes to end United's hopes of becoming the first club to qualify out of the group stage of the tournament without conceding a goal.
But Anderson at least ensured Sir Alex Ferguson's side finished top of the group - and avoided potential clashes with Barcelona and Real Madrid in the knockout stage - with a 62nd minute equaliser after the Red Devils had spurned a host of good opportunities.
Ferguson caused a surprise when handing 20-year-old keeper Ben Amos his Champions League debut in a near full-strength side.
Nani had the first shot on goal but his effort from just outside the area on four minutes went just wide of Vicente Guaita's left post.
At the other end, Valencia signalled their attacking intent as Ricardo Costa headed Pablo Hernandez's cross wide from a corner.
Anderson played a great one-two with Wayne Rooney to cut open the visitors' defence but placed his effort too close to Guaita who saved low to his right.
Alejandro Dominguez forced Amos into his first save of the evening with a curling effort from the left of the box before his powerful shot from the right then hit the outside of United's left post.
Dimitar Berbatov then wasted a golden opportunity when released one-on-one with Guaita by Nani. The Bulgarian tried to round Guaita but the Valencia keeper proved equal to the task, diving down well to get his hand on the ball.
Anderson shot wide from eight yards before Rooney played a brilliant cross into the box but the stretching Ji-Sung Park hit his volley straight at Guaita to save.
United were made to pay for their wastefulness less than a minute later when Michael Carrick gave the ball away to Dominguez in midfield who released the unmarked Hernandez to slot home from ten yards.
Rooney hit a fantastic curling effort onto the Valencia crossbar, with Nani putting the rebound just wide, before Anderson received the first booking of the night for a late challenge on Alba as the first half ended in frustration for the hosts.
Normal service was resumed after the re-start when Guaita pushed away a flick on by Berbatov before the Bulgarian headed wide soon afterwards.
Ferdinand was replaced by Chris Smalling on 50 minutes in what appeared a precautionary move by Ferguson.
Valencia brought on Alarcon Isco for the injured Dominguez before Berbatov was given offside after finally getting the ball in the net following a Nemanja Vidic header.
But United were not to be denied and their deserved equaliser came when Guaita could only parry a fierce shot from Park and Anderson slotted home the rebound for his first goal at Old Trafford.
Berbatov could not find a winner - as well as end his long Champions League goal drought - as he headed straight at Guaita from close range before the keeper then denied the Bulgarian with a fantastic left handed save.Isco shot just wide from distance at the other end as the entertaining clash ended all square.
|Manchester United||Team Statistics||Valencia|
|0||1st Half Goals||1|
|9||Shots on Target||5|
|7||Shots off Target||6|