Alvin Jones, Staff Writer
Marcus Rashford celebrating his equalizer at Camp Nou. Photo//Joan Monforft/AP
International powerhouses Manchester United and FC Barcelona played out the first leg of their Europa League fixture in the round of 16 last Thursday. Both sides entered the match in solid form. Man United are on a six-game undefeated streak while Barcelona sit eight points clear at the top of La Liga, having only lost a single league game this season.
After a scoreless first half full of chances, Marcos Alonso scored the opening goal. In the 50th minute, a corner delivered by new signing Raphinha found Alonso at the back post. Alonso headed the ball down, and the ball bounced over David de Gea.
Down 1-0, it only took United two minutes to respond. Their best player Marcus Rashford once again found the net.
Rashford got a pass from Fred, drove into the box past Barcelona’s defense and tucked a low shot past Marc-Andre ter Stergen. This was his seventh goal in ten games for Rashford, and this goal helped him equal his best ever goal scoring season at the club with 22 goals in all competitions.
In the 59th minute, Rashford received a short corner on the right wing from Luke Shaw, and Rashford drove past Barcelona’s Alejandro Balde with ease. Rashford ran to the byline and delivered a low cross, which pinged around and finally deflected off Barca defender Jules Koundé and went in.
Within 10 minutes of Barcelona’s opening goal, United went from losing 1-0 to winning 2-1.
David de Gea makes a crucial late save. Photo//Jay Baratt/AMA/Getty
Manchester’s fun would however be short lived.
Koundé intercepted a misplaced pass from United’s Casemiro and passed the ball to Raphinha on the wing. Raphinha put a cross in, which went by every player in the area and into the net.
Man United and Barcelona both had chances late in the game, but the score finished 2-2. The two teams will play the return leg at Old Trafford on Thursday, Feb. 23. That game will hopefully match what was arguably one of the best games of the season. This will be a winner take all game between the two sides.