Barcelona 2-2 Man United: All square in Camp Nou thriller
Thursday, February 16, 2023
Raphinha's late equaliser earned Barcelona a draw in a thrilling UEFA Europa League knockout play-off first leg against Manchester United.
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Barcelona and Manchester United played out a thrilling first-leg draw in front of a record UEFA Europa League crowd to leave their knockout play-off tie evenly poised.
8': Lewandowski denied by De Gea
29': Ter Stegen keeps out Weghorst effort
50': Alonso heads in Barcelona opener
53': Rashford fires United level
59': Koundé diverts in Rashford cross
76': Raphinha cross goes in for 2-2
Match in brief: Raphinha denies inspirational Rashford
An end-to-end first half ended goalless, thanks in part to both goalkeepers as David de Gea denied Robert Lewandowski before Marc-Andre Ter Stergen saved from both Wout Weghorst and the in-form Marcus Rashford.
It was the home side who took the lead five minutes into the second half when Marcos Alonso timed his run perfectly to meet a deep corner and head low into the bottom corner.
But Rashford quickly brought United level when he collected Fred's through ball and slotted past Ter Stegen at his near post.
And Rashford was involved soon after as his side went ahead, his low cross diverted into his own goal by Jules Koundé.
The home side ensured parity when Raphinha's cross in from the right-hand side was missed by everyone and crept in, and Barcelona might even have won it, Casemiro's clearance bouncing back off his own post.
Graham Hunter, Barcelona reporter
Pre-match there was a lot of chat from both clubs about how this match-up didn't only have the 'flavour' of a Champions League tie – they both wished that it were so. For Barcelona the first 90 minutes were a pretty stern reminder of Champions League failings. Micro errors costing goals. Quality of creative play not being ruthlessly converted into goals. And, to boot, Gavi suspended, with key players Sergio Busquets, Ousmane Dembélé and even Pedri far from sure to be available for Old Trafford.
Richard Martin, Man United reporter
This fixture was the biggest test of United's resurgent run since losing to Arsenal in January and confirmed the progress made by Erik ten Hag's side. They played Barcelona off the Camp Nou pitch for long spells and looked on track for their first ever away win against the Catalan side before their concentration and confidence faded in the final 15 minutes, costing them their lead and almost the match. But this is still an excellent result and a performance that can be the platform to progress at Old Trafford next week.
Sergi Roberto, Barcelona midfielder: "Our principal objective was to win the match. It wasn't to be. So to draw, at least, is better than losing. My team really competed right until the end. It's true that when you have a win in the bag the second leg looks better. It was a night when both teams had lots of chances. Next week we'll have to improve."
Erik ten Hag, Man United manager: "If you face the number one in Spain and you are that dominant, you see it as a positive. In such a game when you create five, seven clear chances you have to finish more of them, that's clear."
Xavi Hernández, Barcelona coach: "We played against one of the best teams in Europe, with a top coach. OK, we didn't win and I'm not going to start talking about making great progress because we could still go out next week, but I'm satisfied with how we've competed in this match."
Paul Scholes, BT Sport
"I really think United would have been happy with a draw before the game, but if you look at how it went tonight – I thought they were excellent. It was a breathless game. I don't think it's an amazing Barcelona team but this is set up perfectly for the second leg."
- Barcelona have lost only one of their last 11 UEFA club competition matches against Man. United (W5 D5).
- United are unbeaten in their last seven European away games (W4 D3).
- Marcus Rashford scored his 22nd goal of the season – he netted just five times in 2021/22.
- Barcelona are unbeaten in their last 14 home UEFA competition matches against English sides (W9 D5) stretching back to February 2007.
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Koundé, Ronald Araújo, Alonso (Christensen 66), Jordi Alba (Balde 67); Pedri (Sergi Roberto 41), De Jong, Kessie (Fati 67); Raphinha (Ferran Torres 83), Lewandowski, Gavi
Man United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Shaw, Malacia; Casemiro, Fred; Sancho (Garnacho 81), Bruno Fernandes, Rashford; Weghorst
The second leg takes place at Old Trafford in Manchester on 23 February (21:00 CET).