- Soler beats Romero for opener
- Jones scores ghastly own goal
- Rashford pulls one back
Manchester United wasted a chance to win its Champions League group by falling 2-1 to Valencia at the Mestalla Stadium on Wednesday.
Marcus Rashford‘s 87th minute goal was all United could muster in the loss.
Young Boys stunned Juventus in Switzerland to open the door for Jose Mourinho’s men, but a Carlos Soler low drive and a Phil Jones own goal were United’s undoing.
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Antonio Valencia was extremely fortunate not to be sent off for a horrible studs-up tackle on Toni Lato that left the defender requiring medical attention for a gash.
Valencia, the club, scored through Soler’s low drive through traffic, which beat Sergio Romero.
The Spanish side missed two chances to make it 2-0, with Michy Batshuayi mis-hitting a terrific Cristiano Piccini cross and Geoffrey Kondogbia stymied by Marouane Fellaini‘s marking.
Pogba missed a straight-forward chance to level the score when Fellaini pounded a header into his path, but the French star hit the ball wide of the gaping frame from inside the six.
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Michy Batshuayi ran alongside Phil Jones, and the English defender slid to push a perfect shot… past his own goalkeeper, David De Gea.
By defeating Celta Vigo 3-2 at home on Thursday, Valencia won consecutive games for just the third time all season, but more importantly, attained some hope.
A winner from Carlos Soler in the 86th minute saw Voro Gonzalez win for the seventh time since taking over in January, and the club moved into 12th place in the La Liga table – its highest position all season long.
Soler’s goal on its own was brilliant – a delicious lob that left goalkeeper Sergio Alvarez completely bamboozled. On a broader scale, it marks a potential rebirth of Valencia after a season of headscratching results. Sinc3 1997, Valencia finished in the bottom half of the La Liga table just once, winning two league titles in the process and qualified for the Champions League 10 times. This team is not one that is used to bottom-half struggles.
Last season, the club won just twice in the final two months to slump to a 12th placed finish, and the struggles continued through this campaign. But now, with a gritty win against a strong Celta Vigo side, there is a platform for potential growth.
There’s still plenty of work to be done, with one of the league’s worst defenses and an offense only capable of counterbalancing such a struggling back line on occasion, but for now, the potential for saving the season is there, and while no tangible goals are left to attain, the higher the finish now, the better foundation there is for next season to build upon.