Valencia 2-1 Manchester United: Marcus Rashford scores late goal as United fail to top group
Man Utd face Liverpool on Sunday, live on Sky Sports
By James Walker-Roberts
Last Updated: 13/12/18 7:52am
Manchester United blew the chance to finish top of Champions League Group H as they produced a dire display in a 2-1 defeat to Valencia.
With Juventus suffering a surprise 2-1 loss to Young Boys, United would have topped the group if they had won at the Mestalla.
But that never looked likely from the moment Carlos Soler struck for the hosts after 17 minutes.
Phil Jones' dreadful own goal early in the second half put Valencia further ahead and United could only pull a goal back in the 87th minute through Marcus Rashford.
By then it was too late and United will look to put the result and performance behind them as they turn their attentions to facing Liverpool on Sunday, live on Sky Sports Premier League.
Perhaps with one eye on the trip to Anfield - and not expecting Juventus to slip up against Young Boys - United made eight changes for their final group game.
Valencia are 15th in La Liga but were far more threatening in the first half and took the lead in the 17th minute when Soler finished with a low shot across goal.
United's first opening fell to Juan Mata in the 27th minute but he saw a shot deflected behind.
Paul Pogba produced a glaring miss from close range after Marouane Fellaini headed goalwards, but his blushes were spared by the offside flag, which went up incorrectly.
As Young Boys took the lead against Juventus in the other Group H match, Valencia should have added to their advantage.
On-loan Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi missed a free header from in front of goal before Soler saw an effort blocked.
The second goal arrived in the 47th minute when Jones slid and knocked a through ball past goalkeeper Sergio Romero from the edge of his own box.
United made eight changes as Romero, Valencia, Bailly, Rojo, Fellaini, Pereira, Fred and Pogba all started. Academy duo Greenwood and Garner were left on the bench.
It took United until the 72nd minute to have their first shot on target, but Rashford's 25-yard effort was comfortable for goalkeeper Jaume Domenech.
The visitors did manage to apply pressure late in the game but their only reward was a header from Rashford in the 87th minute.
- Valencia have beaten Manchester United in a Champions League match for the very first time in what was the eighth meeting between the sides in the competition (W1 D5 L2).
- Manchester United (three wins) have progressed to the knockout stages of the Champions League with no more than three group stage victories for the first time since 2008/09 (2), a campaign in which they went on to reach the final.
- Phil Jones is the first Manchester United player to score an own goal away from home in a Champions League match since Mark Lynch did so vs Deportivo in March 2003 - his only senior appearance for the Red Devils.
- Carlos Soler has now been directly involved in three goals in his last two home games in the Champions League for Valencia (two goals, one assist).
- Marcus Rashford's consolation strike for Manchester United was his first headed goal in the Champions League, and first goal in the competition since December 2017 v CSKA Moscow.
Man of the match - Dani Parejo
Former Real Madrid and QPR midfielder Parejo played a key role in Valencia's win. He helped controlled proceedings with his composed passing and regularly found spaces around United's disjointed midfield.
Manchester United travel to Liverpool on Sunday, live on Sky Sports. Then they go to Cardiff on December 22.
The draw for the last 16 of the Champions League takes place on December 17.