Erik Ten Hag in the UEFA Europa League 2023 match between Manchester United and Barcelona
Erik Ten Hag in the UEFA Europa League 2023 match between Manchester United and Barcelona ¦ (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)

Football | Europa League 2023 | United edge past Barcelona

By Robert Wheeler

  • United defeated Barcelona 4-3 on aggregate
  • Antony scores the late winner
  • The Red Devils are through to the Round of 16
MANCHESTER, UK – Manchester United beat Barcelona 2-1 on the night (4-3 on aggregate) to book their place in the last 16 of the Europa League.


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In the first leg, these two great sides of European football produced a thrilling 2-2 draw at Camp Nou. They did not disappoint in the second as Manchester United came from behind to knock Barcelona out of the competition.

The night did not start well for United. Their captain Bruno Fernandes fouled Alejandro Balde in the box and a penalty was awarded. Robert Lewandowski scored from it but only just as David de Gea got a hand to it. The Polish striker seemed to imitate an old man in his celebration, at 34 years old he is still one of Europe’s best forwards with 25 goals this season.

United came closest to equalising through Fred. However, it would have been a flukey goal as his sliced cross just went over the crossbar. At half time it was the Spanish side who were in control.

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Antony was introduced at the break and Eric ten Hag must have delivered an inspirational team talk as his side came out all guns blazing. Soon Fred equalised after Fernandes had played him through.

It was a game of high-intensity and tough tackling. The players nearly came to blows when Fernandes kicked the ball into Frenkie de Jong‘s chest when he was on the ground, after being brought down by Fred.

In the 73rd minute, the ball fell to Antony whose low strike beat Marc-Andre ter Stegen. All United had to do now was hold on to the lead and they were through. Ten Hag’s side managed it but only just, they had to thank Raphael Varane for a goal-line clearance from a Lewandowski effort in added time.

It was their first win over Barca in 15 years, Paul Scholes scored the winner that night in the semi-finals of the Champions League in 2008. United’s win last night was in the Europa League but it felt like it should be in European football’s premier competition.

Fernandes paid tribute to the United supporters after the game, telling BT Sport, “Old Trafford was bouncing… that’s why we get results!”

United will find out today who they are facing with the draw at 12:00. They could be up against some good sides including Real Betis, Real Sociedad Feyenoord or Fenerbahce.

The club’s next game will be at Wembley for the League Cup final against Newcastle United this Sunday. The win tonight will give them a massive boost before they meet Eddie Howe‘s side.

It is a very good time to be a United fan, their club are still in Europe, they have a cup final this weekend and they could still win the Premier League. They are just five points off the top spot.

The round of 16 fixtures will take place on March 9 and 16. United and Arsenal will both be involved.