Valencia delivered their best performance during the UEFA Champions League group stage and while the result didn’t matter, they still played as if it did. Thanks to a strike from Carlos Soler and an own-goal from Phil Jones, Los Che defeated Manchester United 2-1 at Mestalla in the final match of the Champions League group stage for both sides. Marcus Rashford netted Manchester United’s lone goal with a close-range header.
Los Che’s intensity was just too much to handle for Manchester United
Valencia applied a high-pressing strategy and Manchester United looked quite uncomfortable right from kick-off time. The Spanish side was quick to exploit the spaces on United’s left side of the defence, and were quick to score the first goal of the match. A cross from the right side was deflected by Phil Jones, but Carlos Soler grabbed the rebound and capitalized with a low shot that went between Eric Bailly’s legs and into the far post of Sergio Romero.
The Red Devils tried to play with a more attacking approach, and both Fred and Paul Pogba began to find more spaces in midfield since Valencia decided to drop deeper into their own half of the pitch. However, Los Che continued to generate the best chances and were inches away from netting the second goal when Michy Batshuayi failed to score with a close-range header. Valencia looked far better overall thanks to his impressive play on the flanks.
United’s best chance came in the 35th minute when Pogba found himself all alone inside the box six-yard box, but the Frenchman inexplicably shot wide when he could have easily scored. But all things considered, Valencia had the better chances through the first half and they went into the break up by one goal, and decidedly so.
An early own goal decides the game amid Valencia’s dominance
Manchester United made an adjustment at the half when Ashley Young replaced Marcos Rojo. However, Valencia only needed two minutes to double their advantage. A through pass found Phil Jones running towards his own goal and in his attempt to clear the danger away, instead he sent the ball into his own goal with Romero completely out of the play. Valencia did not seem complacent, though, and they kept playing near Manchester United’s goal. The Red Devils, on the other hand, suffered from a terrible lack of ideas.
This was one of the worst performances of Manchester United during the current term. They looked brutally overmatched on the defensive end of the pitch, and they couldn’t find a way to deal with Valencia’s impressive passing sequences. The Red Devils pulled one back late in the 87th minute with a header from Marcus Rashford, though, and that gave them some life. Juan Mata came close to equalise nearing stoppage time, but his effort went wide off the right post.
Los Che closed things out despite Rashford’s late goal. They secured a huge win that should boost their morale going forward and will now concentrate on La Liga. Meanwhile, Manchester United must improve massively after this performance, especially considering they will play against Liverpool this weekend. A performance like today’s one is not going to cut it for them.
Valencia: Domenech; Piccini, Vezo, Diakhaby, Lato (Garay, 51’); Soler, Dani Parejo, Kondogbia, Cheryshev (Torres, 66’); Batshuayi, Santi Mina (Rodrigo, 68’)
Bench: Neto (GK), Coquelin, Lee Kang-in, Wass
Manchester United: Romero; Valencia, Bailly, Jones, Rojo (Young, 46’); Fellaini, Fred (Rashford, 57’), Pogba; Mata, Lukaku (Lingard, 69’), Pereira
Bench: Grant (GK), Garner, Herrera, Greenwood
Goals: Soler (1-0, 17’), Jones (OG) (2-0, 47’), Rashford (2-1, 87’)
Referee: Georgi Kabakov
Yellow Cards: Lato (VAL), Valencia, Bailly, Rashford (MAN)
Red Cards: None
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!