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Welcome to Sportstar’s live blog of the Europa League play-offs first-leg clash between Barcelona and Manchester United at the Camp Nou Stadium.
Booking: Casemiro is also shown a yellow card amidst all the ruckus
Booking: Erik Ten Hag is shown a yellow card for his dissent from the touchlines
Gavi is fouled now just outside the Man United box and Barcelona with a good chance to score the equaliser. Manchester United players are furious about the decision and have surrounded the referee.
Bruno Fernandes sets Rashford away with a long ball inside United’s half. Rashford makes his way inside the Barca box before being brought down by Kounde. Rashford and Man United want a penalty but referee waves play on.
GOOOOALLLL!! MANCHESTER UNITED TAKES THE LEAD!! KOUNDE SCORES AN OWN GOAL!! Rashford is pivotal in the buildup play yet again. He dances past Raphinha and fizzes a cross inside the box. The ball travels amidst a sea of bodies and ends up inside the net after taking a touch off Kounde.
Chances- Rashford almost scoring a second in quick succession for a United lead but Marcos Alonso is there to make a crucial block. At the other end, Barca counters and Raphinha shoots from distance. The shot is on target, but De Gea does well to dive and make the save.
GOOOALLLL!!! MANCHESTER UNITED EQUALISES!! RASHFORD SCORES!! Fred plays a fine pass to Rashford down the left. Rashford lashes a shot from a tight angle and beats Ter Stegen at his near post for the equaliser.
GOOOOALLLL!! BARCELONA SCORES!! MARCOS ALONSO SCORES!! Raphinha swings a wonderful cross inside the box from a corner and Alonso is there to head the ball past De Gea
Araujo makes a mistake inside the box and the ball falls to Sancho. The Englishman shoots but horribly off target. He really should have done better there from that distance.
Close- Raphinha shoots on the turn and catches the ball wonderfully. The ball misses the target by a whisker. De Gea had dived but don’t think he would have reached the ball if it was on target.
Raphinha swings a searching ball inside the box. Lewandowksi jumps for the ball but ends up fouling Wan Bissaka as Man United gets the freekick.
The second-half of the Barcelona vs Manchester United Europa League play-offs first leg kicks-off.
Both teams with chances at their respective ends but Barcelona and Manchester are locked in a 0-0 scoreline at the break.
Rashford does a good job of holding the ball and drawing a foul from Kounde.
Two minutes added at the end of the second-half!!
Varane and Lewandowski in a race to get to the ball, which the Frenchman wins. He passes the ball to De Gea. Varane was the last man in defence there.
Booking: Varane is shown a yellow card for his mistimed challenge on Gavi.
Barca sub: IN- Roberto OUT- Pedri. That is a blow for Barcelona. He was looking really good before his injury.
Raphinha thought he had beaten Malacia as he made his way towards the United box. But the referee pulls play back as the Brazilian had fouled the United full-back.
Wan Bissaka makes a horrible error in judgement and Alba gets the ball. He runs into the box and gets his shot away, which is saved by De Gea. Meanwhile there is a penalty call for Wan Bissaka’s challenge on Alba. VAR has a look but upholds the referee’s decision of a corner.
Save: Rashford makes a bursting run inside the Barca box and takes a shot from a tight angle. The shot is on target but Ter Stegen makes a good save.
Shaw finds Rashford in space from a freekick. Rashford takes the shot but scuffs his line and the Barca defence sends the ball out for a corner.
Booking: Barcelona skipper Jordi Alba is shown a yellow card for dissent.
Fernandes swings a brilliant cross inside the box, but none of the United players can get a solid header in. Ter Stegen collects the ball.
Chance- Weghorst with a brilliant chance to score the opening goal as he finds himself one-on-one with Ter Stegen. He gets his shot away but Ter Stegen makes himself big and saves the shot.
Wan Bissaka beats Gavi and sends a cross inside the box. Sancho gets a first-time shot away, which takes a deflection off a Barca player and goes out for a corner.
Varane with a horrible clearance as he gives the ball away in a dangerous position. Lewandowski is played a pass but Varane atones for his error by putting the Polish forward under pressure and causing him to lose the ball.
The midfield duo of Pedri and Gavi look really sharp in the middle of the park. Their understanding is almost on a telepathic level at the moment.
A good attack by Barca. Gavi lobs the ball to Pedri inside the box. Pedri’s header is not cleared by Shaw and the former takes a first-time shot on the volley. But, the shot is not on target.
United had the brighter start but Barcelona slowly coming to its element as we cross the first quarter of the match. The home team is enjoying more of the ball and looks more threatening.
Raphinha switches the ball to Alba on the left. Alba looked for cross in the centre, but Wan Bissaka is there to make the block.
Alonso takes a shot from the freekick. His shot beats the United wall but beats the goal as well. Goalkick for United.
Gavi is fouled right at the edge of the Barca box and the home side has a freekick in a good position. Earlier Varane had challenged Lewandowski inside the box. There were a few penalty shouts but referee waved play on.
Shaw has been good at centre-back for United whenever he has played in the position, but he does look a bit shaky in these early minutes. That is a potential weak-link someone as experienced as Lewandowski might look to exploit.
Shot- Lewandowski gets his first sight at goal. He gets the ball in a good position inside the United box. He gets a shot away under pressure that is saved by De Gea.
Sancho crosses the ball from the edge of the Barca box towards Weghorst at the far-post but the ball does not reach the Dutch forward.
Rashford fizzes a cross inside the box from the left which is met first-time by Fernandes. Fernandes’ shot is blocked by Alba and Malacia takes a shot on the rebound. That is blocked as well.
Araujo showing wonderful feet on the right flank to get the better of Sancho and Casemiro. He then passes the ball to Raphinha, who runs out of space in an attempt to cross the ball. United gets a goalkick.
Barcelona with its first attack of the match as Raphinha squares the ball in the middle of the United box. Weghorst is back there to clear the ball.
Fast start by United as Fernandes swings a cross inside the box from the right. Fred had made a run to get at the end of the cross but could not reach the ball on time.
The Europa League playoff match between Manchester United and Barcelona has kicked-off at the Camp Nou stadium.
Manchester United have won each of its last five matches in Europe; only once has it won six games consecutively in European competition- its first six games of the 1965-66 season in the European Cup.
Barcelona has lost five of its last 11 European matches at Camp Nou (W2 D4). Its previous five such defeats were spread across 101 games between 2002 and 2020.
Robert Lewandowski has scored 45 goals in his last 37 games in European competition. He has directly been involved in nine goals across his last three appearances against English clubs (two goals against Spurs in October 2019, one goal and two assists against Chelsea in February 2020, and another two goals and two assists against Chelsea in August 2020). This would be his first appearance against Manchester United.
Barcelona wins: 6
Manchester United wins: 3
Last five head-to-head records
16 April 2019: Barcelona 3-0 Manchester United: Champions League
10 April 2010: Manchester United 0-1 Barcelona: Champions League
28 May 2011: Barcelona 3-1 Manchester United: Champions League
27 May 2009: Barcelona 2-0 Manchester United: Champions League
29 April 2008: Manchester United 1-0 Barcelona: Champions League
Confirmed starting lineups!
Barcelona: Ter Stegen(GK), Araujo, Pedri, Lewandowski, Alonso, Alba, Kessie, De Jong, Raphinha, Kounde, Gavi.
Manchester United: De Gea(GK), Fernandes, Rashford, Malacia, Fred, Casemiro, Varane, Shae, Sancho, Weghorst, Wan Bissaka
They’re two members of European football’s aristocracy who, not so long ago, were meeting in Champions League finals.
Now Barcelona and Manchester United are going head-to-head in the unlikely confines of a Europa League playoff match.
Not that they are playing like also-rans of the continent.
“At the end of the day, we don’t deserve to be in the Champions League and neither do they. But the level is still very high,” Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez said Wednesday.
Indeed, the clubs with two of the biggest followings in world football are in a good place on the field, especially considering the plight they have found themselves in recent years.
Barcelona is emerging, very slowly, from a crippling financial crisis that cost the club Lionel Messi and plenty more. Its economic situation is still grave — Barcelona’s latest accounts show the club is more than 650 million USD in debt, hardly helped by a group-stage exit from the Champions League — but the team is performing so well that it has an 11-point lead in the Spanish league.
United, meanwhile, is rising in the Premier League and could win its first trophy in six years when meeting Newcastle in the final of the English League Cup later this month.
In that sense, both teams have reason to believe they will be back competing at the top of European football soon.
Barcelona vs Manchester United Predicted XI
Barcelona: Ter Stegen(GK); Kounde, Araujo, Christensen, Alba(c); Pedri, De Jong, Kessie; Raphinha, Lewandowski, Gavi
Man United: De Gea(GK); Dalot, Varane, Shaw, Malacia; Casemiro, Fred; Sancho, Fernandes(c), Rashford; Weghorst
In the meantime, their presence in the Europa League adds glamour to a competition that is widely viewed as the Champions League’s little brother. The only disappointment for fans is that the meeting comes so early.
“I think Barcelona and (us) as well (would) have preferred to play in the final,” United manager Erik ten Hag said. “Hopefully, everyone is fit for Barcelona and for us. So we see a game at the highest level.”
Barcelona is in good form, with its last loss coming against Bayern Munich as it exited the Champions League in October.
It is in the Europa League because it couldn’t win a group game against either Bayern or Inter Milan. But under Xavi, the team has now won eight in a row in all competitions, with striker Robert Lewandowski taking on the role of the star player.
“I really like his team, the attacking way of play,” Ten Hag said. “I think he is in the right direction. I think it’s going to be a good challenge between Manchester United and Barcelona.”
Xavi, who won two Champions League finals on the field with Barcelona against United, has got his team playing as well as it has all season despite injuries to Ousmane Dembélé and Sergio Busquets. Spain internationals Pedri and Gavi are driving the midfield, while Raphinha is filling in nicely for Dembélé.
Ten Hag has had to contend with his own absences but has still been able to put United in a position to compete for the league title. Midfielder Christian Eriksen will miss the majority of the rest of the season with an ankle problem, and Anthony Martial continues to struggle to stay fit.
Given United terminated Cristiano Ronaldo’s contract in November, Ten Hag has been left short in attack, which is why the form of Marcus Rashford has been crucial. The England forward, who has been linked with a move to Barcelona in the past, has scored 13 goals in his last 15 games and 21 all season.
Jadon Sancho is also back after being given time off to rediscover his form and adds to United’s options up front.
Ten Hag has a decision to make in attack, with January loan signing Wout Weghorst failing to provide much of a goal threat so far, scoring once in eight appearances. With Sancho back, Rashford can be switched from the left wing into a central position, where he has managed to score from in each of United’s last two games when moved there during the match.
“Rashford is one of the most dangerous strikers,” Xavi said. “He’s very fast, a good dribbler, good in one-on-ones and very dangerous in the transitions.
“We need to take care of all of United’s players, but Rashford is certainly one of the most dangerous in Europe.”
Brazil winger Antony, midfielder Scott McTominay and Martial were absent as United trained on Wednesday morning before flying out to Barcelona. Lisandro Martinez and on-loan Marcel Sabitzer are suspended for the first leg, but Casemiro is available after missing the last two league games through suspension.
Live telecast and streaming information
When and where will the Barcelona vs Manchester United Europa League play-offs first-leg kick-off?
The Barcelona vs Manchester United Europa League play-offs first-leg will kick-off at 11:15 PM, IST, February 16, at the Camp Nou Stadium
Where can you watch the Barcelona vs Manchester United Europa League play-offs match first-leg?
The Barcelona vs Manchester United Europa League play-offs first-leg will be live telecasted on the Sony Sports Network.
Where can you live stream the Barcelona vs Manchester United Europa League play-offs first-leg?
The Barcelona vs Manchester United Europa League play-offs first-leg can be live streamed on the Sony Liv app and website.