UEFA Europa League Cup
UEFA Europa League Cup | (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo by OZAN KOSE/AFP via Getty Images)

Football | Europa League | Raphinha denies United victory over Barcelona

By Robert Wheeler

  • Late Raphinha goal levels tie for Barcelona
  • Marcus Rashford scores again for Manchester United
  • The two sides will meet again next Thursday
UK – Manchester United and Barcelona played out a 2-2 draw at Camp Nou in the first leg of their Europa League play-off fixture.


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This was a Europa League game with a Champions League feel to it. Two great clubs that are vying to get back to former glories. This fixture was the Champions League final back in 2011, whilst legends such as Lionel Messi and Wayne Rooney have now moved on, the game still had a special feel to it.

Manchester United had never beaten Barcelona at Camp Nou and their wait continues after former Leeds United player Raphinha got a late equaliser for the Spanish side. The first half saw Barcelona have more possession but the Red Devils had the better chances. Wout Weghorst and Marcus Rashford both missed good opportunities.

Jadon Sancho also missed a great chance early in the second period. It was looking like one of those days for Untied when former Chelsea defender, Marcos Alonso, gave the home side the lead when he headed in from a Raphinha corner.

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United responded immediately through Rashford. Fred had been at fault for the goal they conceded but the Brazilian provided a great assist for Rashford’s goal. The England forward is a man in form with 14 goals in his last 16 games.

United then took the lead when Jules Kounde bundled into his own net. However, it was not to be for United on the night, as Raphinha whipped in a cross which eluded everyone and found its way past David de Gea. It looked like it was Robert Lewandowski‘s goal but replays showed that he did not get a touch. The Polish forward was remarkably playing his first game against United and would have loved to have got on the scoresheet.

Barcelona nearly snatched a late winner, when Casemiro nearly scored an own goal. The Brazilian deflected the ball off the woodwork and the match ended all square.

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Eric ten Hag‘s side would be disappointed not to get the victory with the chances that they had. They will, however, be confident of progressing to the last 16 when the two sides meet again at Old Trafford next week. United also have the EFL Cup final to play the following Sunday.

Former United midfielder, Paul Scholes, working as a pundit for BT Sport said, What a game to watch. So exciting. There just wasn’t a breath taken. It was a bit of a throwback really. This game is perfectly set up for next Thursday.”

Ten Hag was a frustrated figure after the game and criticised the referee when speaking to BT Sport about a fowl on Rashford during the match where a free-kick was not given. The manager complained “Refereeing had a big influence on the game, it was a clear foul on Rashford”

The return leg will be played at Old Trafford on Thursday, February 23, with kick-off at 20:00.


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