Manchester United had a good opportunity to top their Champions League group but that hope took a hit with a 2-1 defeat against Valencia on Wednesday. In the Group H, table toppers Juventus also suffered a shock defeat against Young Boys and a win for Jose Mourinho’s men could have taken them above the Italian club.
Both Juventus and Manchester United have qualified for the next round from the Group H and draws will take place which will decide who the teams will face in the next round.
Valencia, meanwhile, had an incentive to win their final group match to be in better place in next week’s draw for the Europa League round-of-32.
Both sides started brightly in front of 36,500 fans at Valencia’s Mestalla. The only goal of the first half went to the hosts, courtesy of Carlos Soler’s opportunistic strike in the 17th minute.
Valencia retreated in the minutes after the goal, essentially ceding the midfield to United, though the visitors failed to capitalize and the Spanish side came roaring back in the 30th minute with a near-miss by Michy Batshuayi.
The visitors found themselves trailing 2-0 just two minutes into the second half as the result of an own goal by United defender Phil Jones, who redirected the ball to his goalkeeper in an attempt to break up a pass intended for Batshuayi.
Unfortunately for Jones, keeper Sergio Romero had come off his line and the ball rolled into the net.
United struggled to react and their first shot came only in the 74th minute, a fine effort by Andreas Pereira that forced a great stop by Valencia keeper Jaume Domenech.
While the Premier League club avoided the shutout with Marcus Rashford’s goal in the 87th minute, the loss represented a missed opportunity to grab the top spot in the group as Juventus were upset 1-2 by Young Boys.