United leave it late in Russia
Valencia strike maintains 100 per cent record
By James Riach. Last Updated: 21/10/09 10:28pm
Valencia: Scored winner
Antonio Valencia scored a late winner for Manchester United as they clinched a 1-0 win against CSKA Moscow.
On an artificial plastic pitch in the Russian capital, United had to work hard to maintain their 100 per cent record in the UEFA Champions League this season, which sees them top Group B with three wins from three.
The win also means they equal Ajax's European record of 14 away games without defeat, and a composed finish from the Ecuadorian Valencia saw United take firm control of the group.
Sir Alex Ferguson's men turned the screw in the second half after a first period that saw few chances, and they were kept at bay when Igor Akinfeev produced an excellent save to keep out a Nani header.
But Valencia latched on to a Dimitar Berbatov flick-on in the 86th minute to hit a half-volley across goal into Akinfeev's net, to ensure United travel home with the three points.
Manager Ferguson, perhaps with Anfield in mind, made five changes from the side victorious over Bolton last time out, in the stadium where they famously beat Chelsea in the final last year.
Nemanja Vidic returned to the centre of defence while John O'Shea and Scholes were included in central midfield.
Nani and Fabio also came in on the left and formed a good attacking partnership on a flank that proved United's most productive route forward.
Ferguson's suggestion the game would be played on the ground due to the nature of the pitch was true in the early stages as both sides began patiently.
CSKA had the first shot on goal when the dangerous Milos Krasic took advantage of hesitancy from his fellow Serb Vidic but fired wide from outside the box after a weaving run.
United began to assert themselves more midway through the first half and O'Shea had a cross headed clear by Sergei Ignashevich.
Fabio also found room to cross twice in quick succession but former Wigan star Valencia was first crowded out and then Akinfeev easily claimed.
Scholes, playing in a deep-lying role, had the visitors' first shot with a dipping long-range effort that bounced awkwardly and Akinfeev touched over for a corner.
CSKA responded with Alan Dzagoev lifting a ball into the box but Tomas Necid's header was of little concern to Edwin van der Sar.
United again attacked down the left and another Nani cross was just too high for lone striker Berbatov at the far post.
Nani again broke clear for United before the break but Gary Neville shot over after the ball worked its way across goal.
United had a scare moments before the interval when a Dzagoev free-kick was cleared unconvincingly for a corner.
The second half got off to a lively start with chances at both ends - Nani raced through from a Valencia backheel only to find no-one with his cross while Berbatov controlled well but saw his shot blocked.
Deividas Semberas then shot well over and Dzagoev had the ball in the net before the hour but the flag had long since been raised for offside and home celebrations were quickly curtailed.
Berbatov flicked the ball into the area for United but his attempts to win a penalty from Aleksei Berezutski came to nothing when he was booked for diving.
United took Rio Ferdinand off with a third of the game remaining and created a chance soon after when Neville crossed for Nani but Akinfeev saved.
Michael Owen was introduced as a 71st-minute substitute for Scholes and had a fine opportunity when Valencia crossed five minutes later but he failed to connect with a volley.
Valencia went much closer eight minutes from time when he combined well with Berbatov and Nani on the edge of the area but his powerful shot rebounded off the bar.
Not to be denied, Valencia went one better five minutes from time when he latched onto a downward header from Berbatov and turned six yards out to lash in the winner.
|CSKA Moscow||Team Statistics||Manchester United|
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|2||Shots on Target||8|
|3||Shots off Target||7|
UEFA Champions League
Wed 21st Oct - Group B
CSKA Mosc0 - 1Man Utd
Wolfsburg0 - 0Besiktas
Wed 21st Oct - Group D
FC Porto2 - 1Apoel Nicosia
Chelsea4 - 0A Madrid
Wed 21st Oct - Group A
Juventus1 - 0Maccabi Haifa
Bordeaux2 - 1Bay Munich
Wed 21st Oct - Group C
FC Zurich0 - 1Marseille
R Madrid2 - 3AC Milan
UEFA Champions League Group A
UEFA Champions League Group B
UEFA Champions League Group C
|1||Paris St Germain||6||13|
UEFA Champions League Group D
|3||FC Viktoria Plzen||6||3|
UEFA Champions League Group E
|4||FC Steaua Bucuresti||6||3|
UEFA Champions League Group F
UEFA Champions League Group G
|2||Zenit St. Petersburg||6||6|
UEFA Champions League Group H