Manchester United vs Valencia

     With 1st place on the line both teams went into tonight's match with one thing on their minds, and that was to win Group C.  Valencia came out swinging in the first couple of minutes knowing that Old Trafford isn't an easy place to play at, let alone take the lead.  The first half the possession was split around 50/50. But with a costly mistake Michael Carrick was about 35 yards from his own goal, when it seemed he had around an enternity to get rid of the ball.  Confused with where to go with the ball Alejandro Dominguez came out of nowhere and stole the ball from Carrick, dribbled towards goal where he then passed it to his counterpart Pablo Hernandez who slotted it through 20 year old Manchester goalie Ben Amos in the 32nd minute.  

     Amos who was appearing in his third senior game and first in Europe held his own throughout the game making 5 saves.  Manchester had a clear cut oppurtunity to equalize in the first stanza when Rooney took a shot towards the bottom corner missing just wide. The score stayed 1-0 in favor of the visitors after the first half.

     As the second half commenced it was the Mancs who came out swinging, owning the possession battle and making the Valencia middies and defenders look foolish.  But around five minutes into the half United coach Sir Alex Ferguson decided to pull Rio Ferdinand out of the game, when he came up gingerly after an early tackle.  The decision was a smart move with Ferguson focusing on United's next two huge EPL match-ups, where they face current leaders Arsenal then face up against Chelsea.  With Ferdy out and Smalling in United lost the heart and soul of their defense, but that wasn't going to stop them from going on the attack.  

     Rooney was determined to either score or do anything in his power to help get United on the board.  Rooney fed the ball to winger Dimitar Berbatov time in and time out in the second half.  Berbatov who hasn't netted a goal in 18 Champions League game had multiple chances but came up short every time.  I've said it before and I'll say it again Ji-Sung Park will always go down as one of my favorite United players ever!  The man who rarely gets starts but when gets put into games performs to no other level.  Park played out of his mind, making runs of 50 to 70 yards to get to goal where he either blasted a shot or fed the ball of to Rooney or Berbatov. 

     Well it payed off when in the 62nd minute when Park recieved a ball from Fabio where he cut a defender and let off an absolute firecracker of a shot.  Panadero couldn't do much with the knuckling shot so he got whatever of his hands he could to the ball and saved the shot, but to much surprise a man who hasn't scored a goal in 108 games or let alone one at Old Trafford came up huge!  Anderson the young Brasilian put in Park's rebound and put the Mancs equal with Valencia.  Sure with the equalizing goal at home in a match where 1st place was on the line, you'd expect United to keep the pressure up, right?  Valencia then out possessed United in the final 25 minutes of the game where Amos had to make two remarkable saves to deny Valencia's effort to seal the game and the group.  

     The boy's in white came up just short as the final whistle blew and the game ended in a draw.  United won the group but in a sloppy way but in a game where they could have easily won by three if Bebatov or Rooney would finish their golden chances.  

     It's going to be interesting to see who United will face in the knockout stages of this year's Champions League, but whoever it is i believe their game will step up from last year's tourny when they lost to eventual Runners-up Bayern Munich.  With all that being said I just have one thing to say "Glory glory Man united, Glory glory Man United, Glory glory Man United as the Reds go marching on!!!"

Eddie Reyes 
Twitter: Edddster32