- Manchester United defeated Barcelona 2-1 in the second leg of the Europa League knockout match
- The teams had earlier drew 2-2 in the first leg
Manchester United defeated Barcelona 2-1 in the second leg of the Europa League knockout round playoff match to progress 4-3 overall and reach the last-16 round of the competition.
The match was in a precarious position after a 2-2 draw at Camp Nou the previous week, but Barcelona took the lead on Thursday when Robert Lewandowski scored from the penalty spot.
How the game unfolded
Casemiro’s wonderful ball set up Bruno Fernandes with a great opportunity for Man United to take the lead in the third minute, but the Portuguese international was unable to beat Marc-Andre ter Stegen in goal for Barcelona.
Then, when Raphinha created space outside the box, Barcelona had a half-chance of their own, but the Brazil international blasted over the bar.
In the 15th minute of play, Fernandes dragged Balde to the ground inside the area, and the referee immediately pointed to the spot, awarding the visitors a penalty.
Lewandowski took the opportunity to score for Barcelona, and the Polish international did it despite David de Gea’s best efforts to stop him. De Gea managed to get a hand of the striker’s shot but it still went in.
Luke Shaw found Fernandez inside the Barcelona box in the 22nd minute, Fernandes had a slight chance to score on the volley, but Ter Stegen was there to easily stop him.
The next Red Devil to try his luck was Fred, who had his shot go over the crossbar in the 35th minute after being set up by Jadon Sancho. Man United was attempting to tie the game up before halftime.
Five minutes before halftime, Raphinha blasted one high into the top of the home team’s goal. After a mistake by De Gea, Barcelona had a great opportunity to add a second goal, but Casemiro saved Roberto and then Franck Kessie to help Man United escape a very perilous situation.
The second half
During halftime, Weghorst was replaced by Antony because he was unable to make an impact. Marcus Rashford replaced Weghorst in the centre.
Fred received a pass from Fernandes and scored with a right-footed shot from just inside the box to bring United even early in the second half.
In the 49th minute, Antony broke into a dangerous position for the home team, but the Brazil international narrowly missed finding Rashford with a cross when he may have had a chance himself.
Nevertheless, with the Red Devils comfortably in control at the start of the second half, Ter Stegen made a stop from Antony in the 55th minute before Rashford burst into the Barcelona box following superb work from Fred. But, Rashford was dispossessed at the very last second.
Just before the hour, after a free kick had been given, there was a fight started by Fernandes slamming the ball into Frenkie de Jong.
In the 64th minute, De Gea produced an outstanding save to save a clear-cut Kounde header, and as Barcelona tried to push into the second half, the Man United goalkeeper got down superbly to deny Kessie.
Sancho and Aaron Wan-Bissaka were replaced by Alejandro Garnacho and Diogo Dalot in the 67th minute. As a result of the double replacement, the home team’s tempo was further enhanced, and Antony gave Ten Hag’s team the lead in the 73rd minute.
The visitors had a golden opportunity to tie the score late on when Lewandowski shot towards the goal, but Varane cleared it off the line, only for the offside flag to be raised moments later. As the game entered stoppage time, of which there were five minutes, Xavi’s team was the team pushing.
Manchester United will now switch their focus on Newcastle. The Red Devils are playing in the EFL Carabao Cup finals on Sunday.
Barcelona will travel to Almeria on Sunday night to resume its La Liga campaign.
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