Barcelona was eliminated from the Europa League by Manchester United after a tense 2-1 victory at Old Trafford. With goals from Fred and Anthony, a replacement, Erik ten Hag’s squad overcame a deficit to secure a spot in the round of 16.
Barcelona took the lead thanks to a penalty from Robert Lewandowski in the first half. Still, after falling 4-3 overall, the Spanish powerhouse must now concentrate on its La Liga and Cup del Rey campaigns.
United, however, is still participating in four tournaments and will play Newcastle United in the Carabao Cup final at Wembley on Sunday. For the best sports betting casinos of March 2023, make sure you check out CasinoDaddy’s pages!
Ten Hag defeats Xavi in a touchline duel.
On the field, there were several thrilling face-offs, including Casemiro vs. Sergio Busquets and Lisandro Martinez vs. Robert Lewandowski, but United manager Erik ten Hag’s victory over Barcelona counterpart Xavi Hernandez was important.
After gaining the lead, Barcelona appeared to be in charge, but the game was turned around when Antony replaced Wout Weghorst at halftime. Bruno Fernandes went inside off the right and started to find more space, which helped him play a role in both of United’s goals as Antony exposed Barcelona’s defense. While Ten Hag may be happy that he had a similar effect, United still required a full-length save from David De Gea to thwart a Jules Kounde header and a stoppage-time goal line clearing from Raphael Varane from Lewandowski before being certain of a spot in Friday’s draw for the last-16.
The Dutchman’s revamped team demonstrated they are not far from bringing back these events in Europe’s premier club championship on the kind of wild, intense European night that United supporters have been missing since reaching three Champions League finals between 2008 and 2011. This season, Manchester United has already defeated Liverpool, Arsenal, and Manchester City at Old Trafford. Against Barcelona, United scored another impressive victory in a campaign that looks poised to bring both promises for the future and silverware.
Bruno Fernandes appeared to be in danger of succumbing to the red mist in the first half, but he quickly regained control and guided United’s comeback.
When French referee Clement Turpin awarded a penalty for his tug on Alejandro Balde, he was already furious after missing a crucial early opportunity after Casemiro had sent him in. While it was an easy judgment, Fernandes scarcely played for the following ten minutes as he was too busy yelling at Xavi from the sidelines and pursuing Turpin. another major victory in a campaign that appears poised to provide both success and optimism for the future.
As he kicked the ball into Frenkie de Jong in the second half, he nearly incited a riot, but on the other hand, it was his level-headedness that helped United win. As the match was still tied, he knocked Raphinha off the ball in the corner to help set up Antony. First, he fizzed a pass into Fred for the Brazilian to score the equalizer.
While Fernandes’ effort against Juventus in Turin in 1999 wasn’t like Roy Keane’s, it was nevertheless a captain’s performance on a significant European night. Although technically not his best performance, it was packed of the tenacity and fight that Ten Hag looks for in his players.
Lewanowski’s penalty-kick goal gave Barcelona the lead at the end of the first half, and Xavi will not likely be miffed that Fred was permitted to tie the score only minutes after the interval. Nevertheless, Barcelona had no desire to participate in this tournament after being eliminated from the Champions League following the group round. From that point on, ensuring that they won LaLiga would always take precedence.
At Old Trafford, despite the absence of Pedri and Gavi, they maintained control for a prolonged period following Lewandowski’s penalty. It wasn’t until after halftime, when Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford found more room, that they started to appear ragged. For two sides trying to make their way back to the top of European football, there wasn’t much at stake throughout the two legs.
Barcelona can make strides by winning the first Spanish championship since 2019 even though they are still working to balance their accounts off the field. They are in prime position, eight points ahead of Real Madrid at the top (with whom they will also play a two-game Copa del Rey semifinal match), and if they can pull it off, few supporters will give their brief appearance in the Europa League any thought.