FC Barcelona and Manchester United share the spoils in a thrilling 2-2 draw as Raphinha’s late equalizer gives hope for the Catalans for the upcoming return leg at ‘The Theatre of Dreams’ Old Trafford.
Xavi started the game with Marcos Alonso and Jordi Alba instead of in form Andreas Christensen and Alejandro Balde, the decision almost costed the catalans in the opening minutes when United built up a chance from the right side of the field where Alba and Alonso failed to contain the threat. The game moved on with both teams getting plenty of chances to score, Manchester United got the upper hand early on the game because of the lack of pace Marcos Alonso and Jordi Alba possesed.
Robert Lewandowski managed to sting the hands of David De Gea when a beautiful play by the Barça players reached the Polish attacker as he dribbled past the United Defense.
The game hanged in balance throughout the first half as both the teams failed to break the deadlock. Marc Andre Ter Stegen played immaculately as the German keeper kept Weghorst and Rashford’s shots away from reaching the back of the net.
Unfortunately Pedri was subbed off in the 41st minute due to an apparent injury, later confirmed after many tests. The spanish midfielder will be out for atleast a month and will definitely miss the away leg at the Old Trafford.
Thanks to the defensive shift of the Barça backline the game headed into the halftime without a goal to show for.
The second half started with a bang when Marcos Alonso scored to put the Catalans infront as he headed home the corner kick whipped by Raphinha. Alonso celebrated rather quietly only pointing his fingers to the sky to dedicate the goal for his father who passed away this month.
The celebrations were short lived as Marcos Rashford equalised for the Red Devils after just 2 minutes from Alonso’s goal, The Englishman ran towards the Catalan backline targetting Marcos Alonso before beating him and sneaking the shot into the net from Ter Stegen’s near post.
Disaster struck just after 7 minutes when Marcos Rashford again managed to beat the Barca defense before whipping a low cross towards the box which ended up in the net after taking an unfortunate deflection from Jules Kounde.
Manchester United completely turned this game around at this point growing in confidence every second, without the presence of Pedri in the midfield FC Barcelona lacked the control and United got more comfortable at the camp nou.
FC Barcelona searched for the equaliser in the remaining time and it arrived at the 78th minute when Raphinha whipped a fearsome ball from way outside the penalty box which managed to go through the United defense and ended up in the back of the net.
In the last few minutes with the introduction of Balde and Christensen, FC Barcelona gained more control and defensive stability which invited the catalans to apply more pressure in search of the winning goal, however Manchester United was able to hang on and the game ended 2-2 with both the teams sharing the spoils.
Raphinha was once again influential in the absence of Ousmane Dembele and the Brazilian now has the most goal contributions this season among Barcelona players only topped by Robert Lewandowski. He was fuming when Xavi subbed him off for Ferran in the last minutes and it is totally understandable. Xavi messed up his lineup yesterday and it cost FC Barcelona the victory and now we must travel to Old Trafford without Pedri ( injury) and Gavi ( yellow card suspension) searching for a victory.
Jules Kounde had an off day which we have rarely seen this season, the Frenchman made several mistakes at the back and conceded an own goal although it was pretty unfortunate.
The lack of pace by Alonso and Alba invited United to attack more from their side and United’s opening goal came from this situation however Marc Andre Ter Stegen could have done better to guard his near post.
An interesting fixture awaits us next week when FC Barcelona travel to England for the return leg. Only a win will see us through to the Europa League knockouts and we must face the hostile atmosphere of Old Trafford without our golden boys in the midfield.
Do you think we have a chance to win at Old Trafford?
What should we play in the Starting XI?
Comment Below 🙂