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Man United knock out Barcelona from Europa League

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Manchester United knocked Barcelona out of the Europa League with a frantic 2-1 win at Old Trafford. 

The Red Devils had initially got his setup wrong which blunted his team’s attack and played a part in them going into the break 1-0 down, but changed things in the second half as United came from behind to win

Ten Hag’s men had the first big chance of the game but Bruno Fernandes fluffed his lines and fired straight at Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Fernandes’ start to the night then got drastically worse when he fouled Barcelona left-back Alejandro Balde inside the penalty area, allowing Robert Lewandowski to dispatch and give the visitors a 1-0 lead in the 18th minute. 

Fortunately, Fred inspired the Red Devils with a well-taken equaliser just two minutes into the second half and ignited a fire at Old Trafford. 

Fred seized on Bruno Fernandes’ pass after Marcus Rashford regained possession to slot past Marc-Andre Ter Stegen as the hosts re-emerged in rip-roaring style at the start of the second half.

Antony’s introduction for Wout Weghorst at halftime changed the game.

Antony stretched Barcelona’s defence and Bruno Fernandes, moved inside off the right, began to find more space and was involved in both United’s goals.

Substitute Antony galvanised United and delivered a killer blow through a clinical 73rd-minute finish to complete the turnaround.

Manchester United have had 19 goals scored by substitutes in all competitions this season, the most of any side in Europe’s big five leagues.

Antony’s will rank as one of the most important and came following a crucial switch by Ten Hag at the interval.

Weghorst has started all 11 games since signing for United last month and is clearly a favourite of his compatriot. But Ten Hag is ruthless enough to recognise when something is not working and his swift swap at half-time helped his team to turn this tie around.

Fernandes moved to the middle, Jadon Sancho reverted to the left. Rashford went up front and offered that threat in behind.

Antony played on the right. It worked. Fernandes set up the equaliser having roamed to the left

Marcus Rashford, coming into this having scored 16 goals in 17 games since the World Cup, looked threatening whenever he had the ball. 

United will discover their opponents in the round of 16, which will be played over two legs on March 9 and 16, when the draw takes place on Friday, while Barcelona’s European campaign is over for the season.

After losing the tie 4-3 on aggregate, the Spanish giants will focus on their LaLiga and the Copa del Rey campaigns.

United’s latest impressive win means that they still have a chance of winning the quadruple of the Premier League, FA Cup, Carabao Cup and Europa League.

Ten Hag can win his first trophy at the club in his first full season in charge when his team takes on Newcastle United in the Carabao Cup final at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.

Manchester United coach Erik ten Hag said, “Yes, we’ve had some good wins, Liverpool and Arsenal but I think this over two legs — Barcelona are LaLiga leaders — to beat them it’s a big win.”

Xavi, said, “We are much better than last season … we came up against Bayern,Internaztionale [in Champions League group stage], Manchester United … these are big sides, but we were not good enough. We have improved but it wasn’t enough. We will try again, we will be self-critical and look to improve in Europe.”

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