Manchester United ended a poor recent run in Spain and improved their chances of reaching the knockout stages of the Champions League by beating Valencia 1-0 in a tight encounter at the Mestalla Stadium.
Substitute Javier Hernandez broke the deadlock with just five minutes remaining with a low drive after a dull game had seemed certain to end goalless. It was a superb result for Sir Alex Ferguson's team though as they had been victorious on just one of their previous 18 trips to Spain.
After drawing 0-0 with Rangers at Old Trafford in their opening group match a fortnight ago, it was exactly the result United needed.
Valencia, despite selling David Silva to Manchester City and allowing David Villa to join Barcelona in the summer, sit at the top of the La Liga table and thrashed Bursaspor 4-0 in their opening Group C encounter.
But United, despite being without established stars like Wayne Rooney, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Antonio Valencia secured a vital three points.
Valencia piled forward straight from the kick-off and seemed keen to play at a high tempo. In the 16th minute Pablo Hernandez fired a fierce shot over the bar from the edge of the area and, 60 seconds later, Edwin van der Sar flapped at a cross and was fortunate to see Roberto Soldado head over the bar when he seemed certain to score.
When United responded, Anderson flicked a near-post effort narrowly wide but Valencia continued to have the edge and Da Silva Rafael was forced to head Hernandez's cross away from danger.
However, after a bright opening, the game degenerated into a very sterile affair although, in the 50th minute, Hernandez's 20-yard drive flashed wide of van der Sar's goal.
United went close to breaking the deadlock in the 56th minute when Dimitar Berbatov created an opening for himself with a great piece of skill only to see Los Che goalkeeper Cesar Sanchez parry his shot away for a corner.
With six minutes left Nani's cross beat everybody apart from Hernandez at the far post. The Mexican stretched to get his boot to the ball but could only divert it on to the outside of the post.
Just 60 seconds later though, the breakthrough finally came. Nani found Federico Macheda who picked out Hernandez and he took one touch before drilling a low left-footed shot home.