United fans got their first glimpse of Antonio Valencia on Wednesday night when the Reds beat Boca Juniors 2-1.
The Ecuadorian winger impressed Sir Alex Ferguson, dazzled with his pace and capped a fine performance by scoring United’s second goal. Here’s how his night panned out in a little more detail…
10' – After a slow start from both sides, Valencia collects the ball just outside the area and darts into the box. He’s tackled but the ball drops for Michael Carrick, whose volleyed cross just eludes Ji-sung Park at the far post.
19' – Here’s the first example of Valencia’s lightning pace. After a good first touch, he motors past his marker and whips a low cross into the area. Rooney just can’t reach it.
21' – There’s that pace again. Quick as a flash, he’s past the left back and sends over a cross that’s headed clear by Boca’s central defender.
22' – It seems Valencia loves running at defenders. Every time he gets the ball he’s looking to beat a man or surge into the penalty area. This time he wins a free-kick on the edge of the area and Anderson steps forward to send United 1-0 up.
39' – The Reds win a corner on the left and Valencia trots over from the opposite wing to take the kick. It looks like the former Wigan winger may be our new set-piece master. This one’s headed clear, although Rooney goes close with a follow-up volley.
41' – He’s got strength, too. Valencia outmuscles his marker to win a long ball forward. His next touch propels him towards goal before he feeds Rooney with a precise pass. Rooney draws a good save from the goalkeeper… it was almost 2-0.
42' – A dream debut! Again we see incredible acceleration as Valencia leaves his marker behind him. But the icing on the cake comes when Boca goalkeeper Roberto Abbondanzieri allows the winger’s shot to squirm under his body and into the net. United 2-0 Boca.
47' – A winger who tracks back and wins possession: is this too good to be true? Antonio gets stuck in near the halfway line, wins the ball and allows Rooney to get another United attack underway.
54' – Like an old-fashioned winger, Valencia