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SPORTS
08 Dec 2010
MAN UTD 1 - 1 VALENCIA

Manchester United survived a scare as they came back from a goal down to earn a draw against Valencia and top their group in the Champions League.

Pablo Hernandez drove in a shot to put the visitors ahead and in a position to overtake United to top Group C.

Wayne Rooney curled a shot against the crossbar for the home side as they struggled to take their chances.

But United eventually equalised when a Ji-Sung Park shot was parried and Anderson pounced to slot in.

The Brazilian's goal could prove crucial for his side's Champions League aspirations as they now avoid fellow group winners, including Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid, when the last 16 knockout stage draw is made on 17 December.

However, with the minimum of a point needed from the game to top Group C, Sir Alex Ferguson's United made harder work of their task than they should have as their failure to turn their grip on the game into goals almost cost them.

United striker Dimitar Berbatov had scored five goals in the 7-1 win over Blackburn in his last outing and he was the Old Trafford outfit's main culprit.

The Bulgarian flits from the fantastic to the frustrating and had an evening more of the latter as his profligacy provided a major role in giving group Valencia, who go into the next round as group runners-up, late hope of stealing a win.

Berbatov was especially guilty in the early stages as United set the tone for struggling to make the most of their promising openings.

Anderson might have scored earlier than he did when, after a neat one-two with Rooney, he was clean through on goal but tamely side-footed a shot straight at keeper Vicente Guaita.

Midfielder Anderson's dynamism was influencing events and he helped create a gilt-edged opportunity when he released Berbatov through on goal.

Berbatov tried to round Guaita only to have the ball palmed away from his feet as he spurned the chance to give United's play the cutting edge it deserved.

Valencia had enough about them to take advantage and they provided warning signs of their threat.

Ben Amos was making only his third United start as he made his Champions League start for the club and the 20-year-old keeper had to be alert to save a Alejandro Dominguez shot after the Valencia striker tried to catch him by surprise.

Dominguez powered an angled shot just wide before the first-half's most significant minute took place.

An unmarked Park was found by a precise Rooney cross but volleyed straight at Guaita from 10-yards.

United were clinically punished for the miss when Dominguez intercepted a Michael Carrick pass and slipped in Hernandez, who drove a shot through the legs of Amos as Ferguson's side conceded their first goal in this season's Champions League.

The home side's frustrations increased when Rooney curled a dipping 22-yard strike against the crossbar, with Nani dragging the rebound wide of the far post.

But United, to their credit, persevered and their pressure eventually told as Valencia buckled.

Park's shot was palmed into the air by Guaita and Anderson was quickest to react as he slotted in.

United employed a dangerous strategy in sitting back towards the end as Valencia were allowed some late possession but the home side stood firm.

source:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news

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