Manchester United Vs Barcelona: Red Devils Book Europa League Round 16 Ticket With Dramatic Comeback Win


    Manchester United produced a stunning comeback win over Barcelona at Old Trafford to progress to round 16 of 2022/23 Europa League.

    Manchester United

    After a finely poised first-leg clash at Nou Camp, Xavi knew what is at stake coming into the theatre of dreams against in-form Manchester United.

    The Blaugrana narrowly escaped defeat at Nou Camp to the Red Devils, and evidently, the going was expected to get tougher for the La Liga leaders.

    Both teams were festooned in feathers of past glories in European club competitions and had a lot of history between them.

    Despite battlung it out in the second-tier of Europe’s club competition, the fierce rivalry between the two sides made it a first-rated clash with thousands of fans and pundits agog.

    The Catalans’ main threat was Marcus Rashford, who is currently the most in-form striker in Europe’s big five leagues.

    Casemiro also returned to the lineup pairing with Fred in the center half. Erik Ten Hag repeated his first-leg tactical maneuvers, playing Wout Weghorst as an attacking midfielder behind Rashford, with Bruno Fernandes and Jadon Sancho in the wings.

    On the defense were Luke Shaw, Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez, and Wan-Bissaka.

    Xavi deployed a 4-3-3 formation, playing Balde Christensen, Araujo, and Kounde in the defense. Frenkie De Jong, Sergio Busquets, and Franck Kessie piloted the midfield while Roberto, Raphinha, and Robert Lewandowski led the attack.

    Starting Lineup

    Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Martinez, Shaw, Casemiro, Fred, Fernandez, Weghorst, Sancho, Rashford

    Barcelona: Ter Stegen, Kounde, Araujo, Christensen, Balde, De Jong, Busquets, Kessie, Raphinha, Lewandowski, Roberto

    In European competitions, Manchester United have made the Theatre of Dreams a near-fortress, winning 6 games, drawing 3, and losing 2.

    However, the two defeats have been inflicted on the Red Devils by Spanish opponents – Atletico Madrid and Real Sociedad.

    Meanwhile, the Red Devils’ last 11 matches against Barcelona have been far from convincing, winning only one, drawing five, and losing five.

    But Thursday’s night Europa League encounter was a balanced game as the referee set the ball rolling. Both sides unleashed equal attacking threats.

    Manchester United nearly went in front in the third minute after Bruno escaped the offside trap and had acres of space but failed to convert the golden chance. Ter Stegen stuck his leg out and denied the Portuguese star the opener.

    Barcelona seemed to stay atop proceedings after the miss, knocking the ball around close to the Man United half and occasionally charging up the box to find an opener.

    In the 15th minute, Manchester United conceded a penalty after Bruno Fernandes had a slight tug on the arm of Balde inside the box making the Barcelona wingback plonk to the floor. The referee awarded a penalty despite protests of innocence by Bruno Fernandes.

    Robert Lewandowski stepped up to take it. He rushed towards nall, stutter a bit to make David De Gea lose his balance, before firing up into the net.

    De Gea had his hands on the ball but the shot was strong enough, bouncing off his hand onto the woodwork before looping into the net.

    Both sides failed to create a clear chance after the goal but maintained a constant attacking threat till the end of the first half.

    Manchester United ramped up attempts to find an equaliser as the second half began.

    Just two minutes into play, Fred leveled the scores for the home side from inside the box. It was a turning point in the game.

    Barcelona offered no formidable response after the goal and failed to create a clear chance although they still maintain their attacking threats upfront.

    In the 73rd minute, Antony fired a left-footed strike pass Ter Stegen to turn the game on the head, putting United in the lead.

    A late attempt by Barcelona to drag the game to a 2-2 draw prove futile as Erik Ten Hag grabbed another big win over the La Liga leaders after a tightly contested game.

    Manchester United now heads into round 16 of the Europa League with a big and significant victory over the Catalans.

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