Barcelona and Manchester United delivered on their highly anticipated clash in the Europe League, cancelling each other out to keep the intrigue going into the second leg.
Marcus Rashoford and Jules Kounde’s own goal was matched by strikes from Maros Alonso and Raphinha as the two teams shared a 2-2 draw at Camp Nou.
Barcelona and Manchester United display improvements:
After their well-documented recent struggles, both United and Barcelona appear to be on the right track under their new managers as evidenced by this clash which showed both of their Champions League pedigree.
After the drama of the buildup subsided, it was the visiting Red Devils who carved out the better scoring opportunities in the first half. Wout Weghorst was played through by Bruno Fernandes in the 30th minute but his tame effort was saved by Marc-André ter Stegen.
The German denied the rejuvenated Marcus Rashoford in the first half as well to keep things level.
Barcelona suffered more misery as Pedri went off injured in the 41st minute with a hamstring injury.
Fireworks continue in the second half:
The two teams continued to jab at each other in the opening period of the second half as well.
Barcelona broke the deadlock through Marcos Alonso in the 50th minute who headed in Raphinha’s cross at the back post.
Their lead would last just three minutes as United caught them out with a counter-attack with Rahford finishing the attack to restore parity. The forward was instrumental in their second goal as well, sprinting to a cross inside the box before his effort went past ter Stegan after taking a deflection off Kounde.
Raphinha managed to rescue a draw for the home side in the 76th minute as his attempted cross eluded everyone before nestling into the back of the net.
United had one last scare in the dying stages of the game as Casemiro almost turned the ball into his own net.
The two teams will now face each other on February 24th to decide who continues its Europa League journey further.
Other Europa League Results:
In other matches across Europe, RB Salzburg defeated Roma 1-0, Shakhtar Donetsk beat Rennes 2-1, Ajax and Union Berlin drew 0-0, Sevilla defeated PSV 3-0, Monaco got the better of Bayer Leverkusen 3-2 and Juventus were held 1-1 by Nantes.