ANTONIO VALENCIA was lucky to avoid a red card following a horrific tackle on Valencia left-back Toni Lato.
The 33-year-old clattered into the Spaniard in the 11th minute at the Mestalla during Manchester United's final Champions League group game.
Reuters3 Manchester United right-back Antonio Valencia somehow escaped a red card for this tackle
Reuters3 Valencia was shown just a booking by the referee as he clattered into Toni Lato
As the ball was rolled across to Lato, Valencia came flying in and totally missed the ball as he smashed into the 21-year-old.
Screams could be heard from the youngster as he writhed around in agony on the floor, with Valencia somehow only picking up a yellow card.
After receiving treatment at the side of the pitch, Lato thankfully returned to the action as he avoided serious injury.
But fans were heavily critical of the Ecuadorian's challenge, with one tweeting: "Horrific tackle from Valencia. He needs to time them better."
😮 More controversial refereeing in the Champions League tonight!
🤭 Antonio Valencia was booked for this tackle on Valencia’s Toni Lato!
🤔 Should it have been a red card?#VALMUN #VCFMUFC #MUFC #UCL #VCF pic.twitter.com/VTlKi3GJxh
— Under The Floodlights (@UTF_Sport) December 12, 2018
AP:Associated Press3 Fans have slated Valencia's challenge as they claim he was lucky not to be sent off
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Another commented: "Awful scene at the Mestalla as Toni Lato gets horribly fouled by Antonio Valencia and screams in pain."
One said: "Valencia’s tackle on Lato. The whole stadium must have heard the poor lad's screams."
While another simply stated: "That was a horrible tackle by Valencia, should've been a red for him."
Despite United luckily having 11 men on the pitch, they went behind in the 17th minute after Carlos Soler broke the deadlock with a fine finish into the far corner.
Nasty tackle from Valencia. pic.twitter.com/9sLZbGZag5
— JosesExcuses (@JoseExcuses) December 12, 2018
Them screams from Lato, damnn. Valencia so lucky only to get a yellow.
— Amy 🕊 (@amywaatson) December 12, 2018
Valencia’s tackle on Lato 😬. The whole stadium must have heard the poor lad's screams.
— Randy🇰🇪🇺🇬 (@Opi_Wine) December 12, 2018
aaahhh those screams 😧 lucky not to be a red card for Valencia
— Adam Doležálek (@Aidam95) December 12, 2018
What is Antonio Valencia doing. That is a red card I’m sorry. Ugly tackle. Not intentional but have to be a bit more careful
— klayv🇰🇪🇰🇪🇰🇪🇺🇸 (@clivemuhoro) December 12, 2018
Horrific tackle from Valencia. He needs to time them better.
— The United Link 🏆 (@TheUnitedLink) December 12, 2018
Awful scene at the Mestalla as Toni Lato gets horribly fouled by Antonio Valencia and screams in pain #VALMUN #UCL
— Rivka Oppenheim (@Rivkaoppenheim) December 12, 2018
Valencia returns to Valencia and destroys foot of Valencia’s left back. Really bad gash. What a way to announce your return. You could hear the screams of the young lad. #VALMUN #UCLNight
— Francis Abban (@francis_abban) December 12, 2018
That was a horrible tackle by Valencia, should've been a red for him.
— Otkg (@Otkratsie1) December 12, 2018
Is Antonio Valencia actually blind? How do you miss the ball completely when you’re making a tackle like that? #UCL
— Aakash (@AakashParulekar) December 12, 2018
That's a disgraceful tackle from Valencia!! Hope the lad is ok and nothing major.
— TIGER WOODS MY GOAT 🏌🏽♂️❤️ (@zhashank) December 12, 2018
Valencia harsh tackle near broke the kids leg his lucky to be still on
— #Gooders (@8goody3) December 12, 2018
What a shockingly bad tackle by Valencia.
— Nielsen🇳🇴 (@ManUtd84) December 12, 2018
Glad there was no leg break from that Valencia tackle
— Mivuyo Mnyaiza (@miyo7890) December 12, 2018
Valencia fans booing Valencia for an atrocious tackle. Should have seen red that one. Hope their LB didn't sustain a serious injury. Looked really nasty.
— Ngangom Tennyson (@TheMusicalBox48) December 12, 2018
What an awful awful tackle from Valencia and sadly came about because he’s past it! Don’t understand how he’s club captain and getting an extra year #MUFC
— Kevin Barry (@KevinBarry15) December 12, 2018
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