Manchester United 2-1 Barcelona (4-3 agg): Player Rating as Antony completes comeback as Red Devils reach last 16


Antony was the hero as Manchester United progressed to the UEFA Europa League last 16 thanks to a 2-1 win over Barcelona at Old Trafford that secured a 4-3 aggregate success.

Robert Lewandowski put the Blaugrana ahead with an 18th-minute penalty after a pulsating 2-2 draw at Camp Nou last week.

But Fred equalized early in the second half before substitute Antony completed the turnaround for Erik ten Hag’s side 17 minutes from time.

The Red Devils held on for their first victory over Barca since a narrow 1-0 win in the second leg of the Champions League semi-final in April 2008.

Casemiro released Bruno Fernandes in the third minute to test Marc-Andre ter Stegen during a bright start for United.

But as Fernandes was almost a hero on one side, he became a villain on the other when he brought down Alejandro Balde in the penalty area, with Lewandowski converting the ensuing spot-kick despite David de Gea’s best efforts.

The United keeper almost gifted Barca a second before half-time, his loose pass latched onto by Sergi Roberto, but Casemiro made crucial blocks to deny him and Franck Kessie.

The home side capitalized on their luck within two minutes of the restart, Fernandes feeding Fred, who slotted a low shot past Ter Stegen’s dive.

United carried more of the threat but were almost caught out by a sucking strike, with De Gea showing superb reflexes to palm out Jules Kounde’s header.

Nevertheless, the Ten Hag team deservedly completed the comeback.

The ball rebounded to Antony, who guided it neatly into the bottom left corner, and Raphael Varane’s late block to deny Lewandowski ensured the Brazilian’s strike was decisive.

Man Utd player ratings (4-1-4-1)

GK: David de Gea – 6/10 – So close to saving Lewandowski’s penalty, while a kicking error almost had the tie sewn up in Barcelona’s favour before half-time. But also made a crucial save at 1-1.

RB: Aaron Wan-Bissaka – 6/10 – Looked confident and athletic. Lacked a bit of attacking quality.

CB: Raphael Varane – 8/10 – Really impressive on the ball, at one point galloping deep into the Barcelona half. Defensively sound and made a goal-line clearance in stoppage time.

CB: Lisandro Martinez – 7/10 – Took no prisoners and will need to check his pockets for a Lewandowski.

LB: Luke Shaw – 7/10 – A backheel to keep the ball alive made the second United goal possible. Also limited what Raphinha could do on Barcelona’s right.

CM: Casemiro – 9/10 – Sat deep to shield the back four, making the formation at times look more like a 4-1-4-1. A vital tackle and block at the end of the first half stopped Barcelona going 2-0 up and effectively laid the foundation for United to win the whole tie.

CM: Fred – 8/10 – Covered a lot of ground trying to link defence and attack. Played with plenty of tenacity and energy in the second half. Won’t care that his goal came off his shin either.

RM: Bruno Fernandes (c) – 7/10 – Felt aggrieved to be penalised for his arm on Balde. Drifted into dangerous positions off the right flank but influenced the game more after switching centrally.

AM: Jadon Sancho – 6/10 – Struggled to make an impact in the central role, improved after the break.

LM: Marcus Rashford – 6/10 – Too quiet to worry Barcelona in a disappointing first half. Looked a lot more lively after Ten Hag switched things up and caused a few problems.

ST: Wout Weghorst – 5/10 – Chased all across the front-line to pressure Barcelona defenders but lacked the pace to exploit any space in behind or in the channels. Saw very little of the ball.


SUB: Antony (46′ for Weghorst) – 8/10

SUB: Diogo Dalot (67′ for Wan-Bissaka) – 6/10

SUB: Alejandro Garnacho (67′ for Sancho) – 7/10

SUB: Scott McTominay (88′ for Rashford) – N/A


Erik ten Hag – 8/10 – Set up completely differently to how he did at Camp Nou a week ago and it didn’t really work. But changes were made at half-time and suddenly United were the better team.

Barcelona player ratings (4-3-3)

GK: Marc-Andre ter Stegen – 6/10 – Made a big early save that allowed Barcelona to take the lead, but stood little chance with either United goal.

RB: Jules Kounde – 6/10 – Back on the right after starting in the middle in the first leg. Did a good job against Rashford when the United man was playing wide.

CB: Ronald Araujo – 6/10 – Had Rashford and Weghorst under wraps in the first half. Things got a lot harder after the break.

CB: Andreas Christensen – 6/10 – Raced back to catch Antony straight after Fred had equalised.

LB: Alejandro Balde – 6/10 – Favoured over Jordi Alba and justified his selection by winning the early penalty. Faced a different kind of defensive task when Antony came on.

CM: Franck Kessie – 5/10 – Probably could have done better with a chance at the end of the first as Casemiro tackled Roberto. More wasteful than you would expect from a Barcelona midfielder.

CM: Sergio Busquets – 6/10 – In control in the first half but ultimately lost the battle of the veteran holding midfielders to Casemiro.

CM: Frenkie de Jong – 6/10 – Faded after a decent first half.

RW: Raphinha – 5/10 – Flashed a couple of speculative efforts off target in the first half but found it difficult to make anything of note happen.

ST: Robert Lewandowski – 6/10 – Relieved to see his penalty find the back of the net, despite De Gea’s hand reaching it – his first goal from the spot this season. Didn’t actually do much else at all.

LW: Sergi Roberto – 6/10 – Could have settled the tie in the first half.


SUB: Ferran Torres (70′ for Roberto) – 6/10

SUB: Ansu Fati (75′ for Raphinha) – /10

SUB: Marcos Alonso (82′ for Araujo) – N/A


Xavi – 6/10 – His selection was influenced by injury and suspension and waited a fair bit of time to turn to his bench, long after momentum had swung away from Barcelona.

Player of the match – Bruno Fernandez (Man Utd)

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