wing found Dimitar Berbatov, who held the ball up briefly before releasing Phil Jones on the overlap. His ball to the near post just eluded Michael Owen’s stretch, but waiting behind, unmarked and only three yards from goal, was Antonio Valencia. He was never going to miss.
The joy in the stands was tempered a minute later when Owen, who appeared to have injured himself while attempting to reach Jones' cross, limped down the tunnel and was replaced by Javier Hernandez. It was United's two full-backs, though, who came closest to adding a second before half-time. First Fabio embarked on a dribble from the left-back position that only ended when his attempt to roll the ball across goal for Berbatov was blocked by a last-ditch tackle. Along the way he'd left countless Romanians in his wake.
Then Jones surged down the right, cut inside the penalty area and unleashed a curling left-footed effort that looked bound for the far corner until Sergiu Costin intervened with a headed clearance. Galati, too, almost troubled the scorers on 42 minutes when Ionut Neagu pounced on Anderson's loose pass and advanced on goal. His effort took a touch off Rio Ferdinand, which forced David De Gea, hitherto unworked and untroubled, into a smart reflex save.
Just after the break, Berbatov, Jones and Hernandez sparked brief panic inside the Galati penalty area with some neat interplay that cut the Romanian defence apart before goalkeeper Grahovac spread himself well to snuff out the danger. Down the other end, De Gea had to be equally alert to punch the ball clear as Antal raced to get on the end of a left-wing centre. Minutes later he gleefully clutched the ball to his chest after Costin rose at the back post to meet subsitute Sorin Frunza's corner.