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The BBC's Peter Slater
"Valencia were defeated by a team who took their chances"
 real 28k

Sir Alex Ferguson speaks to BBC Radio 5 Live
"The news of Roy lifted everyone in the stadium"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 8 December, 1999, 21:35 GMT
Keane's perfect moment
Keane (right) could not have written a better script for himself

Manchester United 3-0 Valencia

Roy Keane did exactly what United's fans and the headline writers wanted, by scoring the opening goal just hours after signing a new four-year contract at the club.

Ole Gunnar Solksjaer added his fifth in two games this week, and Paul Scholes made absolutely sure midway through the second half.

Match facts
Pre-game tannoy announcement warms crowd
1 min: Van der Gouw's crucial save
38 mins: Keane scores
47 mins: Solksjaer confirms good form
69 mins: Scholes secures victory
Valencia defended poorly for the goals, and while they did create chances, their finishing was wasteful.

Before the game a tannoy message announcing Keane's decision to stay at the club was greeted with rapturous applause.

And the Irishman took just 38 minutes to raise the volume of the chanting of his name around the stadium.

Andy Cole gets to the ball
The Valencia defence failed to clear David Beckham's long ball and Keane smashed a 20-yard shot beyond Andres Palop and into the bottom corner.

Aside from the goal, Keane showed why the top clubs of Europe wanted him so badly, with an assured performance to help restrict one of the Champions League's in-form attacking sides.

United had started with Solskjaer retaining retained his place ahead of Dwight Yorke after the Norwegian's four goals against Everton on Saturday.

Raimond van der Gouw was back in the United goal because of Mark Bosnich's hamstring injury, and the Dutchman was almost immediately called into action.

To everyone associated with the club it's absolutely marvellous news - I always thought he would stay
Alex Ferguson on Roy Keane
After defeat to Fiorentina a fortnight ago, the last thing United needed was to concede an early goal.

But Van der Gouw managed to block Francisco Farinos twice in quick succession after Phil Neville's mistake.

The Spanish team had Claudio Lopez's swirling 40-yard shot and Jocelyn Angloma's off-target volley to show for their first half efforts.

Andy Cole, Ryan Giggs and Solksjaer all had chances for United, but it was Beckham who came closest before Keane's opener, with a curling 25-yard free-kick clipping the top of the bar.

Frenchman Angloma was dangerous coming forward
Keane's strike meant United were heading towards the victory their manager had demanded, and Solskjaer and Beckham combined to give United a two-goal cushion after the break.

The England midfielder crossed low into the box, and the Norwegian ghosted in to slot the ball past Palop at the near post.

Valencia still possessed a threat, and Angloma brought another fine save out of Van der Gouw, before Lopez and Oscar Garcia produced finishes as bad as anything seen in the Champions League this year.

Both fired wastefully over after slack defending allowed them a sight of goal.

Giggs gave Angloma problems at the back
Lopez was more accurate with a 66th-minute free kick which Van der Gouw pushed wide.

By then Cole should have given United a third, after having two close range efforts blocked by Palop.

But that did not matter when Scholes headed home from another pin-point Beckham cross with just over 20 minutes to go.

Yorke and Nicky Butt came on with the game already won, and it became a stroll towards three points, although the out-of-form Caribbean striker will be disappointed not to have added a fourth when a rare lack of control let him down.


Man Utd: Van Der Gouw, P. Neville, G. Neville, Stam, Irwin, Beckham, Keane, Scholes, Giggs, Cole, Solskjaer. Subs: Culkin, Butt, Sheringham, Cruyff, Yorke, Berg, Higginbottom.

Valencia: Palop, Angloma, Djukic, Bjorklund, Pellegrino, Carboni, Farinos, Milla, Mendieta, Lopez, Oscar. Subs: Bartual Molina, Camarasa, Soria Lopez, Sanchez, Vlaovic, Fagiani, Cabezas.

Referee: Kim Nielsen (Denmark)

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See also:
08 Dec 99 |  FA Carling Premiership
Keane signs four-year deal
08 Dec 99 |  Champions League
Five star Barca beat Sparta
08 Dec 99 |  Scottish Premier
Dons discover African saviour
08 Dec 99 |  Champions League
Beware Lopez the killer
24 Nov 99 |  Champions League
Man Utd flounder in Florence
Links to other Champions League stories are at the foot of the page.