- Manchester United defeated Real Betis 4-1 in the first leg of their Europa League round of 16 matchup at Old Trafford
- Wout Weghorst scored his first Old Trafford goal
Manchester United defeated Real Betis 4-1 in the first leg of their Europa League round of 16 matchup at Old Trafford.
Marcus Rashford’s opening goal was cancelled out by Ayoze Perez’s goal, tying the score at 0-0 at the half. Nevertheless, the Red Devils scored three goals in the second half—Antony, Bruno Fernandes, and Wout Weghorst—to take a commanding lead going into the return leg in Seville the following week.
Erik ten Hag, the head coach of Man United, started with the same lineup against Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday, hoping for a response from his players in the crucial European match.
Joaquin, 41, served as the captain for Betis, and it’s interesting to note that neither leading scorer Borja Iglesias nor fellow striker Willian Jose made the starting lineup. Instead, head coach Manuel Pellegrini chose on-loan Leicester City attacker Perez to lead the line.
United’s early start
Weghorst put the ball in the Real Betis goal in the fifth minute after receiving a cross from Fred, but the goal was disallowed because Fred was offside.
But, the Red Devils finally scored in the sixth minute, and it was a superb finish from Rashford, who created some space inside the penalty area after a careless clearance before hammering the ball past seasoned goalkeeper Claudio Bravo.
After meeting a clever cross from Casemiro in the ninth minute, Weghorst put Bravo to the test with a diving header as the home team looked to extend its lead.
In the 17th minute, Weghorst was given another chance when the experienced forward connected with a low cross from Luke Shaw, but his shot was diverted just wide of the near post.
Rashford’s looping attempt was subsequently blocked by Bravo, and Fernandes’ shot was deflected wide of the goal as the 20-time English winners continued to pose a threat whenever they advanced.
After Betis had failed to deal with a corner, Casemiro was the next to make an attempt for the Red Devils, striking over the bar from within the box.
The visitors tied the score against the flow of play in the 32nd minute of play when Perez skillfully found the bottom corner from a wide position after Juanmi had picked out the Spaniard.
Despite a probable Juanmi handball being investigated, the goal was upheld as Betis equalized at Old Trafford with their first effort on goal, much to the chagrin of the home team’s fans.
The second half
In the 52nd minute, the home team reclaimed the lead thanks to a fantastic goal by Antony, who skillfully curled the ball into the far corner of the goal after moving the ball onto his left foot.
Following the defeat against Liverpool, Man United added a third goal in the 58th minute when Fernandes, who has come under fire recently, headed in a corner from Shaw. Bravo got a hand on the ball but couldn’t stop a third goal for the Red Devils.
Substitute Fecundo Pellistrri did brilliant work to find McTominay whose shot was saved by Bravo, Weghorst scored from a rebound for his first Old Trafford goal in the 82nd minute.
The hosts will now turn their focus back to the Premier League, with Southampton travelling to Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon. Betis will make their return to La Liga play on Sunday with a trip to Villarreal.