Antonio Valencia made an impressive start to his Manchester United career as he scored in a 2-1 win over Boca Juniors in the Audi Cup in Munich.
The £16 million signing from Wigan skipped past two players before drilling a low shot into the net to make it 2-0 in the 42nd minute, and while Boca keeper Roberto Abbonanzieri made an incredible howler in letting the ball spill under his body, it was still a fine goal from the Ecuadorian.
“I think he will figure in many games,” said United boss Alex Ferguson after the match.
“It was his first game. For his first game, we are very satisfied.
“He is a good athlete, has good power and running ability, as we saw today with the way he created a good goal. Maybe it was a mistake by the goalkeeper, but he created the opportunity and opened up spaces for himself.”
It was not all good news for United, however, as Wes Brownwas forced off injured in the first-half and Ferguson will be hoping that his injury-prone defender will not need another long spell on the sidelines.
Nemanja Vidic was also meant to start the match but was withdrawn just before kick-off due to a slight strain.
Anderson, who has never scored for United in a competitive match, had earlier put United in the lead as he curled a magnificent free-kick from the right edge of the box into the opposite corner to make it 1-0 in the 22nd minute.
Boca gave United a stern workout, however, and got a goal back in the 55th minute as Federico Insua side-footed home a fine looping cross from Pablo Mouche.
Led by the always dangerous Juan Roman Riquelme, the Argentine side pressed for an equaliser throughout the second-half but their lack of cutting edge in front of goal was ultimately their undoing.
The closest they came was in the 69th minute after young United defender Craig Cathcart headed an effort against his own crossbar, while six minutes later Tomasz Kuszczak had to make a smart save to deny a low drive from Riquelme.
With the exception of the two goals, United looked rather timid in front of goal with neither of the two starting strikers – Federico Macheda and Wayne Rooney – making much of an impact.
United also made seven changes during the game which upset their rhythm but the 68-minute shift that was put in by Valencia will be the most pleasing aspect of the evening for Alex Ferguson.
The new signing showed a willingness both to take on players and track back when needed, and he could prove to be a shrewd signing for the right flank now that Cristiano Ronaldo has departed.
United’s victory means they will play in Saturday’s Audi Cup final against Bayern Munich, who outclassed AC Milan as they won 4-1 in the other semi-final.
Seán Fay / Eurosport