Marcus Rashford’s heroics were not enough for Manchester United as Raphinha’s fortuitous goal rescued Barcelona a 2-2 draw in the first leg of their UEFA Europa League knockout round play-off.
In-form Rashford scored his 22nd goal of the season – matching his best tally for a single campaign – to cancel out Marcos Alonso’s opener in Thursday’s thrilling clash at Camp Nou.
United were ahead nine minutes after falling behind thanks to more good work from Rashford, whose quick thinking from a short corner culminated in Jules Kounde putting into his own net.
But Barca, who lost influential midfielder Pedri to a first-half injury, hit back against the run of play in the 76th minute when Raphinha’s cross went right the way through to keep things finely poised ahead of next week’s return leg.
Barcelona player ratings (4-3-3)
GK: Marc-Andre ter Stegen – 7/10 – Made big saves in the first half to deny Weghorst and Rashford. Beaten at his near post by Rashford.
RB: Ronald Araujo – 5/10 – Switched out to the right, perhaps to deal with United’s pace in wide areas. Gifted Sancho a golden opportunity which he didn’t take.
CB: Jules Kounde – 4/10 – Careless on the ball and was almost punished by Rashford in the first half. Put Man Utd ahead with an own goal.
CB: Marcos Alonso – 6/10 – Was given the runaround at points by Rashford. Rose highest to head in Raphinha’s cross.
LB: Jordi Alba (c) – 6/10 – Played so high up the pitch that he was an attacking outlet but a bit of a defensive liability.
CM: Franck Kessie – 6/10 – Only misplaced one of his 33 passes on a night when possession was tossed carelessly between the sides at points. That said, he was hardly influential.
CM: Frenkie de Jong – 6/10 – Rarely looked troubled in possession but wasn’t much of a help when United broke quickly.
CM: Pedri – 6/10 – Fired over on the volley when well placed. Suffere a knee injury and was substituted before half time.
RW: Raphinha – 9/10 – His corner sailed over to Alonso to head in. Caught out for United’s second when Rashford breezed past him out wide. Great ball in to Lewandowski helped bring Barça level.
ST: Robert Lewandowski – 7/10 – Had missed some decent opportunities early on. Caused a kerfuffle which allowed Raphinha’s strike to go in.
LW: Gavi – 7/10 – Had to tug back Fred on the counter late on and will be suspended for the second leg at Old Trafford. Some lovely intricate moments.
Sergi Roberto (41′ for Pedri) – 6/10
Andreas Christensen (66′ for Alonso) – 5/10
Ansu Fati (67′ for Kessie) – 6/10
Alex Balde (67′ for Alba) – 6/10
Ferran Torres (83′ for Raphinha) – N/A
Xavi – 6/10 – His side played so high up the pitch, a tactic which was exploited by Man Utd time and time again. Neither side could exert sustained control and given the amount of chances United had, Xavi will be happy to escape with a draw.
Man Utd player ratings (4-2-3-1)
GK: David de Gea – 6/10 – Some smart saves in the first half but was a little too rooted when Alonso headed in.
RB: Aaron Wan-Bissaka – 5/10 – Made some good driving runs in attack but looked unsure and at some times hopeless at the back.
CB: Raphael Varane – 7/10 – Sensed danger often and stepped up well to make interceptions. Only made one foul and won the majority of his duels.
CB: Luke Shaw – 6/10 – Had a few moments where he noticeably looked like he was playing out of position. Held up pretty well overall.
LB: Tyrell Malacia – 6/10 – Brought every ounce of his combativeness and flew into every challenge possible. Was exposed by Barça’s more technical plays.
CM: Casemiro – 6/10 – Sloppy pass ended with Lewandowski equalising. Chopped down Gavi for a booking.
CM: Fred – 7/10 – Didn’t challenge Alonso properly for Barça’s opener but played in Rashford moments later for the equaliser.
RM: Bruno Fernandes (c) – 7/10 – Lobbed some nice long balls over Barça’s defence to get United high up the pitch.
AM: Wout Weghorst – 5/10 – Began in a surprising deeper role. Had a big chance but was denied by Ter Stegen from close range.
LM: Jadon Sancho – 6/10 – Nicked the ball high up the pitch on a few occasions. Should have put United ahead but also played some awesome passes in behind the Barça line.
ST: Marcus Rashford – 9/10 – Barça had little to no answer to Rashford’s pace. He rattled in United’s equaliser and played a crucial role in their second goal.
Alejandro Garnacho (82′ for Sancho) – N/A
Erik ten Hag – 6/10 – His side arguably should have won, which a massive feather in Ten Hag’s cap. Got fiery on the touchline and was booked, though managed to rein himself in quickly enough.
Player of the match – Marcus Rashford
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