Manchester United’s Antonio Valencia was sent off as Ecuador were knocked out of the Copa America in an ill-tempered 2-1 quarter final defeat against the United States on Friday.
Valencia, already on a yellow following a challenge a foul on John Brooks, needlessly tripped Alejandro Bedoya early in the second half and the referee was left with no option but to dismiss him.
The incident sparked a tussle including players from both sides, with USA’s Jermaine Jones also seeing red after appearing to lash out at Michael Arroyo. Goals from Clint Dempsey and Gyasi Zardes meant that USA eventually secured the win. Valencia would have been bitterly disappointed to receive his marching orders:
Valencia missed large chunks of the 2015/16 season for United due to injury but he was reliable and consistent whenever he was on the pitch.
The 30-year-old is an excellent athlete and Jose Mourinho will be excited about the prospect of having his pace and workrate at right-back.
Valencia will no doubt be downbeat with the nature of Ecuador’s Copa America exit but it is important that he brushes himself down before kicking on with United ahead of the coming campaign.