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Match report: Barcelona 2-2 Manchester United

by Zoe Hodges

Manchester United have drawn 2-2 with Barcelona in the Europa League knockout round first leg.

Bruno Fernandes launched the first attack, he was away down the right but there was no one waiting in the middle for him.

De Gea made a good save to deny Lewandowski in the opening ten minutes as Barcelona showed how dangerous they could be.

Barcelona were dominating possession despite United’s fast start.

United had the odd chance to counter and were waiting to pounce when Lewandowski slipped up but he recovered well to turn it out for a United throw.

De Gea was having a good game so far, he punched clear a corner before Varane had to block another Lewandowski shot.

United were growing into this game though and Weghorst broke away but his shot was straight at the keeper.

Half an hour in and Rashford had a brilliant chance as his shot was heading towards the far bottom corner but the keeper managed to push it across.

A lack of communication and a quick free kick in the defensive half for United almost made the visitors slip up. Sloppy play saw Wan Bissaka give the ball away and Alba burst into the box but United’s defence scrambled back and dispossessed him.

In the second half, Raphinha had the first chance of the half, his powerful shot was fortunately wide.

At the other end and Sancho had a chance which was on a plate for him but he stabbed at it with his toe and poked it wide.

Unfortunately, United’s luck had run out though and Barcelona made the breakthrough from a corner. Alonso wasn’t picked up at the back post and headed it in.

Instantly United responded though and it was none other than Marcus Rashford. It looked like he’d run out of room on the right but he struck and it crept in at the near post from the tightest of angles.

It kickstarted both teams, a chance came again for Rashford after a great bit of link up play, but the home team blocked well and counter attacked. Raphinha struck it and somehow De Gea didn’t just save it but plucked it from the sky.

A turnaround came for United and Barcelona were stunned as a short corner led to Rashford tricking his way into the box. He crossed the ball low into the box and it was turned in by Kounde, an own goal.

United were hungry for more, a lovely ball from Fernandes released Rashford but he was brought down just outside the box, but the ref waved it away. Barca launched an attack and Gavi was deemed to have been brought down on the edge of the box, a free kick was awarded to them and Ten Hag was fuming at the injustice. He was shown a yellow for his protests.

Out of nowhere, Raphinha equalised for the hosts, De Gea was stationary as he anticipated contact from the sea of bodies in front of him but it sailed through.

The momentum was with Barcelona then as they tried to find a winner, De Gea had to make a fingertip save before punching away a corner.

A series of free-kicks for Barcelona almost saw them get that winner as it ping-ponged around in the box and Casemiro knocked it on to his own post. De Gea was forced into a spectacular save as well to keep the scores level. Desperate defending at the back from the Reds.

At the other end United had a chance to break forward with Rashford and Garnacho involved but despite some lovely overlap work from Malacia, the attack fizzled out.

Deep into injury time and a series of corners ensued for Barcelona but United defended resolutely and managed to see the rest of the game out.

It set up a mouthwatering tie next week at the Theatre of Dreams!

Team: De Gea, Varane, Wan Bissaka, Shaw, Malacia, Casemiro, Fernandes, Weghorst, Fred, Sancho (Garnacho 81), Rashford

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