Manchester United face Real Betis later tonight at the Estadio Benito Villamarín for the second leg of their round of sixteen clash in the Europa League.
The Red Devils thumped Betis 4-1 during the first leg at Old Trafford, after a vintage second half display from Erik ten Hag’s men which saw them score three times after the break.
Facundo Pellistri came on for United in the 82nd minute, and made an immediate impact on the game, his mazy run resulting in Wout Weghorst’s scrappy goal, the fourth for United on the night.
Pellistri had 10 touches, made one key pass and won two ground duels during his brief eight minute cameo on the pitch.
His 100% pass accuracy also suggests that he possesses the requisite technical ability and composure to maintain possession in the final third.
Facundo Pellistri in 8 minutes vs. Real Betis:
100% pass accuracy
2 ground duels won
1/2 dribbles completed
1 key pass
1 big chance created
Another excellent cameo. 💫 pic.twitter.com/QIesoEUgZ4
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) March 9, 2023
Pellistri continued to keep up appearances during the stalemate against Southampton over the weekend, coming on for the final fifteen or so minutes as United desperately sought a goal, but to no avail.
With Brazil International Antony having been ruled out of the tie in Spain, coupled with the fact that United have a commanding lead from the first leg, there may be a rare opportunity from the start for Pellistri this evening.
The 21-year-old has been steadily impressing for United since coming on as a substitute and assisting the second goal during his competitive debut for the Red Devils, in a thumping 3–0 EFL Cup victory over Charlton Athletic.
Ten Hag has also been full of praise for Pellistri in recent weeks, heralding him as an “example” on the training pitch at Carrington.
🗣 Erik ten Hag on Facundo Pellistri:
"He is the example by deserving his position by performance on the training ground." #mufc #mujournal pic.twitter.com/oqXqypPl9b
— United Journal (@theutdjournal) March 11, 2023
Having made his national team bow before he made the pitch for United, expectations were always lofty when it came to the Uruguayan youngster.
He was signed by the club in 2020, after being recommended to then-manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer by former United cult hero Diego Forlan, who managed him at Penarol.
Despite being heralded as a generational talent, Pellistri found playing time hard to come by under Solskjaer, being loaned out to Deportivo Alaves in Spain in order to gain match experience.
It has been a similar story under Ten Hag, but the youngster’s persistence may finally be paying off.
Pellistri’s performance against Betis in the first leg showcased his ability to make meaningful contributions during Manchester United’s upcoming games.
Tonight may well be his moment to shine.