December 9, 2010: Below is the post match round up of the matches on Tuesday, December 7, 2010 in the final games of the Group stages in the UEFA Champions League.
Manchester United 1-1 Valencia
Manchester United played this match with a youthful and refreshed squad as their weekend game against Blackpool had been postponed owing to snowy conditions. Both, the home side and the visitors had already confirmed their entries into the knock out stages of the UEFA Champions League but this match was a play-off for the top spot in Group C.
In a high tempo match, both teams had numerous chances on the goal. United built the pressure early on in the game, but could not convert. Valencia drew first blood in the 32nd minute when Pablo Hernandez put them ahead after receiving a sublime pass from Argentinean Alejandro Dominguez. United tried to immediately grab a goal back but Rooney was denied by the crossbar.
After the restart, United threw down the gauntlet and there was an onslaught of fury at the Valencia goal. Young goalkeeper Guaita was tested a lot of times, but his luck held on. However, United grabbed the equaliser in the 62nd minute. Park tested the keeper with a shot, but was palmed away. The ball fell perfectly for Anderson who fired it inside the goal. After this, there were a lot many chances for both the teams but neither of them could get the winning goal and the match ended 1-1.
Alex Ferguson, United manager, who was happy after the game, quipped, ‘The important thing is we played a lot of good football, we made a lot of chances, and we should have scored a few goals.’
Following this result, Manchester United go through to the knock out rounds in the first place in Group C, while Valencia follow suit in the second place.
Barcelona 2-0 Rubin Kazan
Barcelona overcame their Russian jinx when they beat Rubin Kazan 2-0 at the Camp Nou in Barcelona. In their previous three meetings in the Champions League, Barca had failed to defeat the Russian champions. These matches include a shock defeat for Barcelona at Camp Nou last year when the Russians ran out 2-1 winners.
Barcelona are already assured of a place in the knock out stages of the Champions League as they were confirmed the winners of Group D on Matchday 5, while the visitors were looking to secure a Europa League spot by finishing third in the group above Panathinaikos.
Barcelona started with a very young team, and gave chances of European glory to many of the first timers. The youngsters didn’t disappoint as they put aside Rubin with apparent ease. The first half was a half of injuries where both Jeffren and Mojan Krkic limped off with injuries and were promptly replaced with other newbies. Both the goals came in the second half in the form of a strike from the 21 year old Central defender Thiago at the 53rd minute; and an 83rd minute goal from Vazquez.
History was not repeated for the disappointed Russian champions who now have the Europa League to look forward to. From Group D, Barcelona and FC Copenhagen move to the knock out rounds of the Champions League.