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Rashford on target as United draw against Barcelona

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rashford celebrates after scoring CBS scaled
  • Barcelona came from behind to tie Manchester United 2-2 in the first leg of their Europa League knockout round
  • Marcos Alonso put the home side ahead early in the second half before Manchester United turned the game around with Marcus Rashford

Barcelona came from behind to tie Manchester United 2-2 in the first leg of their Europa League knockout round playoff on Thursday night at Camp Nou.

Marcos Alonso put the home side ahead early in the second half before Manchester United turned the game around with Marcus Rashford levelling before Jules Kounde’s own goal put the visitors ahead.

However, Barcelona equalized in the 76th minute through Raphinha, leaving the tie in a precarious state ahead of the return match at Old Trafford next Thursday.

Unlucky United

Erik Ten Hag with Xavi

Erik Ten Hag with Xavi at the game.|PHOTO: Sky Sports|

Man United made a strong start and had a half-chance inside the first minute when Bruno Fernandes broke down the right before delivering a cross to Fred, but the Brazilian was unable to make contact.

Rashford started as the Red Devils’ centre forward, with Wout Weghorst playing as the number 10 in a risky move by Erik ten Hag, who went with a back four at Camp Nou, with Luke Shaw joining Raphael Varane in the middle.

Meanwhile, Barcelona had Alonso in the middle of their defence, with Franck Kessie operating in central midfield due to an ankle sprain suffered by Sergio Busquets.

Man United had two more half-chances in the seventh minute when Rashford delivered a low cross into the box, but Fernandes and Tyrell Malacia both had efforts blocked.

Barcelona’s first chance of the game came in the ninth minute when Robert Lewandowski broke into the Man United box, but David de Gea saved the striker’s effort.

In the 13th minute, Alonso sent a free kick over the crossbar of Manchester United, as the home side began to find their feet after a bright start from the 20-time English champions.

Barcelona had another half-chance in the 19th minute when Pedri fired over De Gea’s goal, but Manchester United remained dangerous on the counter-attack.

In the 27th minute, Sancho had a shot deflected just wide of the Barcelona post after meeting a cross from Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who was contributing in the final third of the field.

In the 28th minute, Weghorst was played into a one-on-one situation with Marc-Andre ter Stegen, but the Barcelona goalkeeper came out on top before the German saved a header from Casemiro during a strong spell for the visitors.

Second-half goals

Marcos Alonso

Marcos Alonso opened the scoring.|PHOTO: CBS|

The home team took the lead in the 50th minute, with Alonso heading into the net from a Raphinha corner after eluding Fred inside the box.

As Man United sought an immediate response, Casemiro struck the crossbar of Barcelona, and Rashford provided it in the 53rd minute.

With Ten Hag’s side only three minutes behind at Camp Nou, the England international raced onto a pass from Fred before squeezing his effort past Ter Stegen at his near post.

In the 59th minute, Rashford brilliantly worked the space down the right before delivering low into the penalty box, and the ball eventually hit Kounde before dropping into the back of the net.

In the 62nd minute, Wan-Bissaka had a shot deflected wide of the Barcelona goal before Rashford had a penalty shout two minutes later after breaking clear of the home side’s defence once more; replays showed that the contact was outside the box, but it should have been a free kick in a dangerous area.

Barcelona tied the game in the 76th minute when Raphinha’s whipped cross found its way into the bottom corner, despite Lewandowski being nearby.

De Gea then had to save a header from Raphinha after Shaw had failed to deal with Ter Stegen’s long kick before Ansu Fati curled one wide with 10 minutes remaining.

Barcelona demanded a penalty after a late Fred handball before Casemiro struck against his post after Man United failed to deal with a free kick into the box.

What’s next?

Barcelona will play Cadiz at home in La Liga on Sunday, while Manchester United will resume their Premier League campaign against Leicester City at Old Trafford on the same day.

I am an ardent sports enthusiast interested in writing about football, motorsport and athletics.

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