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"Antonio Valencia's spectacular strike in front of a raucous Darwen End at Ewood Park was truly something memorable, indeed the Ecuador international himself actually looked quite pleased when his effort flew in. Usually, a Valencia goal is met by a serious expression, a stiff handshake and a brisk walk back to the halfway line, but last night, by Antonio's standards, he went ballistic!"

- Stewart Gardner, MUTV

03/04/2012 13:30, Report by Gemma Thompson
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Memorable Monday night

Up until last night, I thought Ryan Giggs' late winner at Norwich was the signature moment of the season. That very special goal at Carrow Road now has serious competition.

Antonio Valencia's spectacular strike in front of a raucous Darwen End at Ewood Park was truly something memorable, indeed the Ecuador international himself actually looked quite pleased when his effort flew in. Usually, a Valencia goal is met by a serious expression, a stiff handshake and a brisk walk back to the halfway line, but last night, by Antonio's standards, he went ballistic! His reaction and that of the United players and coaching staff at full-time told you all you needed to know about the significance of the result.

It was such hard work for United. Not only did Blackburn park the bus, they built a depot! Bags of possession led to very few clear chances for the champions. It was clearly going to need a piece of individual magic to open the door and Valencia provided it. I thought it was a bit cheeky of a TV reporter to even suggest that it might have been a cross - it seemed to me that Valencia knew precisely what he was doing.

That wonderful strike overshadowed what was also a great bit of skill from Ashley Young to rubber stamp the victory. By then United had Blackburn under siege after Sir Alex had sent on Welbeck, Young and Giggs in search of the three points. Maybe that's the difference between the boss and Roberto Mancini, the ability to make a calculated gamble in pursuit of victory.

Afterwards I interviewed Rafa da Silva and Ashley Young for MUTV. It's the first time I've spoken to the young Brazilian after a game. He was a bit nervous because he doesn't think his English is particularly good. He said he only wanted to answer a couple of questions. When anyone says that I always agree to it and then fire in as many questions as I can get away with! His English was more than decent and he was buoyed by the presence of Young alongside him during the interview. I got the feeling some of United's backroom staff may have been trying to put Rafa off but he coped manfully.

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