Manchester United Vs. Otelul Galati, 2011 UEFA Champions League: Halftime, Antonio Valencia Goal Has Man Utd Up 1-0

Manchester United will know from their draw against FC Basel that they need to add a little more cushion to their lead, but they'll be happy with their first half performance against Otelul Galati that produced a 1-0 halftime lead. United will be well on their way towards getting into a comfortable knockout stage qualification position in the UEFA Champions League if they can seal three points, and there's not any reason to believe they'll give up this lead.

Antonio Valencia scored the goal in the 8th minute, with Phil Jones providing the setup. Jones is playing as an attack-minded right back with Rafael and Chris Smalling out of the lineup, and he's been arguably the man of the match thus far. Surging forward, he put in a cross that was swung at by Michael Owen at the near post. Owen got a piece of the ball, but only slightly altered the trajectory, and not towards the goal. Valencia was waiting at the back post and provided the finish, putting his team ahead.

Owen sustained an injury on that move and was replaced by Javier Hernandez in the 11th minute. Hernandez hasn't quite asserted himself in the game yet, probably due to the fact that he didn't have any time to warm up and certainly didn't expect to enter the game in the first half.

Galati has spent most of their time defending, but produced one great chance. In the 40th minute, a shot by Ionut Neagu deflected off of Rio Ferdinand, forcing David De Gea to change directions and make an absolutely spectacular reaction save, preserving his team's lead.

United have been on the front foot all game, but haven't created much in the way of clear-cut chances beyond the goal. The central defense pairing of Ferdinand and Johnny Evans isn't exactly the most consistent and error-free pair that Alex Ferguson could pick, so his team really could use an insurance goal.

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