MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM – FEBRUARY 23: Antony of Manchester United celebrates 2-1 with Alejandro Garnacho of Manchester United, Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United during the UEFA Europa League match between Manchester United v FC Barcelona at the Old Trafford on February 23, 2023 in Manchester United Kingdom (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Manchester United secured their spot in the last 16 of the UEFA Europa League with a come-from-behind 2-1 win over FC Barcelona.
Casemiro was back in the United line-up after missing the win over Leicester City, with Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane also recalled to the United line-up.
The game got off to a lively start when Bruno Fernandes was denied by Marc-Andre ter Stegen in a one-on-one situation after just three minutes.
The Catalan giants would get the breakthrough on 16 minutes after being awarded a penalty for Bruno Fernandes’ foul on Alejandro Balde, which allowed Robert Lewandowski to convert from 12 yards.
Erik ten Ha’s dominated the game after going behind as they went in search of an equaliser, with Fred going closest with a cross-cum-shot that went over the crossbar.
After failing to score in the first half, it didn’t take United long to find the equaliser when Fred took a pass from Fernandes into his stride before firing past Ter Stegen.
Barcelona nearly restored their lead in the 63rd minute when Frenkie de Jong’s floating cross found Joules Kounde, who saw his towering header palmed away by De Gea.
Ten Hag then opted to make a double change four minutes later, as Alejandro Garnacho and Diogo Dalot replaced Jadon Sancho and Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
It was another United substitute who made the impact when Antony opened his account the tournament on 73 minutes with a lovely finish from just inside the area.
Xavi responded by introducing Ansu Fati and Marcos Alonso, who scored in the first, for the final 15 minutes of the second half.
However, there would no be comeback for Barcelona this week as United defended superbly in the closing stages, with Varane clearing a Lewandowski effort off the line to seal the win and their spot in the next round.
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