It was Marouane Fellaini who popped up to score the stoppage time winner, silencing at last the United fans who had jeered the Belgian unceasingly during the game.
Every touch by the £27.5 million man, who was brought on as a second half substitute, was greeted by sarcastic cheering by the United fans, but he had the last laugh as he netted the winner after goals from Darren Fletcher and Valencia’s Rodrigo.
An insipid first half saw few goalscoring opportunities created, although Wayne Rooney passed up the opportunity to open the scoring. Having been felled in the box the United striker picked himself up to take the spot kick but smashed his effort against the post, with goalkeeper Diego Alves getting the slightest of fingertips to the strike.
United took the lead in the second half when Fletcher’s deflected strike found the back of the net after a corner kick was pulled back to the edge of the box, giving the Scotsman the goal that his performance deserved.
However, the Spanish side drew level with Rodrigo firing high into the net at the back post following an unfortunate deflection off the outstretched leg of Tom Cleverley.
The game looked to be heading for a draw until Fellaini challenged Diego Alves for a high ball in stoppage time, bundling it past the keeper into the empty net when it landed at his feet.
35’ PENALTY MISS – SAVE BY DIEGO ALVES! Rooney strikes the ball to the right of the Valencia keeper, but the Brazilian gets down really well to tip the powerful strike on to the woodwork! What a save!
50’ OPENER – The hosts have the breakthrough! A Young corner falls to Fletcher on the edge of the box, who shoots at goal. It takes a deflection and finds the net.
66’ CLEARANCE - Off the line! A Valencia corner kick is flicked on with pace at the near post. The ball flashes past De Gea and looks to be finding the net, but Hernandez is on hand at the back post to head off the line!
72’ EQUALISER - Oh dear! A cross is deflected into the path of Rodrigo by the outstretched leg of Cleverley and the striker fires high into the net. Great finish.
73’ BIG MISS - What a miss! Valencia have a great chance to make it 2-1, but Piatti puts his sliding shot wide of the post from a matter of yards. He should have scored. What has happened to United?
75’ CHANCE - Another great chance for Valencia! The shot comes fizzing in from the edge of the box from Gaja, and Hernandez has to clear off the line for the second time tonight. United living on the edge here!
79’ ROONEY SHOT - Good chance for Rooney! Januzaj drops deep and plays a ball into Rooney, who splits the two Valencia defenders. But he scoops his shot over the bar when he should have done better.
90+1’ WINNER - Incredible! Fellaini has been getting jeered by the home fans all night but he's tucked away the winner after bundling over the keeper from a high cross.
Is Darren Fletcher the midfielder Man Utd have been looking for? It’s no secret that Man Utd and Van Gaal are on the lookout for a new central midfielder. Ander Herrera has already been signed from Athletic Bilbao, but speculation continues to link the club with Arturo Vidal and Angel Di Maria. But the performances of Fletcher all the way through pre-season suggest that the Scot could be the man to solve United’s midfield problems, having missed much of last year with illness.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Phil Jones (Man Utd): Fletcher and Herrera were impressive in the centre of midfield, but at the back Jones was commanding and something of a brick wall. Whenever Valencia got in behind the backline the centre-back was on hand to make a tackle or an interception. It’s quite clear that centre-back is his best position.
Manchester United – De Gea 6, Jones 8, Smalling 6, Blackett 6, Young 6, Fletcher 8, Herrera 7, James 6, Mata 5, Rooney 5, Hernandez 6. Subs – Keane 5, Cleverley 4, Kagawa 5, Lingard 5, Fellaini 6, Januzaj 6.
Valencia – Alves 7, Barragan 5, Vezo 5, Otamendi 7, Gaya 7, Parejo 5, Fuego 5, Gomes 6, Feghouli 7, Alcacer 6, Rodrigo 7. Subs – Piatti 6, De Paul 5, Araujo 3.
THE MATCH IN A TWEET
- Sports & Recreation
- Darren Fletcher
- Wayne Rooney
- Marouane Fellaini
- Diego Alves