What a way, what a time, what a match to score your first Champions League goal for United. I say what a match because it's not like Hernandez scored it against Busaspor (with due respect). Valencia are Spain's third biggest club only behind the established duo of Real Madrid and Barcelona. And it's not like he did it in the relative 'comfort' of OT. This was at the Mestella stadium--one that Ryan Giggs particularly remembers for its atmosphere.
Last night, United needed something from someone to win them a match in which they for long periods it appeared both teams had cancelled out each other. The stat of losing 9 games in Spain in the Champions League out of 18 with just the one victory kept us warm as we watched the game crawl towards a stalemate. Javier Hernandez--off the bench provided that something that we needed and it couldn't come at a better time! I think he only had two chances to himself from the time he came on--one of them coming off the upright and the other finding its way into the bottom corner of Sanchez's goal.
It has to be said, we defended pretty much better last night than we've seen in the league so far and maybe that has to be down to the manager's decision to restore the tried and tested partnership between Rio and Vida. I also thought that bringing Rafael in place of O'Shea suddenly made us more of a threat than we've looked so far--given the Irishman's inability to provide the extra body upfront as regularly as we attack.
Javier Hernandez has suddenly wrote a small piece of history for himself at OT already---his goal secured only United's second win on Spanish soil in the Champions League! The importance of his goal can be deduced from the fact that going into match day three, we would have been third in the Group C standings, with just two points whist Valencia and Rangers would have four. Instead, Valencia now find themselves third whilst we're top of the group.
The media has gone all about praising Hernandez today and I think he deserves it!
The focus now turns to Sunderland away in the league---a big chance for us to put pressure on our title rivals Chelsea ahead of their clash with Arsenal at the weekend.
Labels: UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE