FC Barcelona and Manchester United played to an entertaining 2-2 draw in the first leg of their UEFA Europa League knockout tie on Thursday night.
UEFA Europa League
Result: FC Barcelona 2-2 Manchester United
Date: 16 February 2023
Venue: Camp Nou
Casemiro and Aaron Wan-Bissaka returned to the line-up, with Lisandro Martinez and new signing Marcel Sabitzer missing the first leg through suspension.
Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez surprisingly opted for Ronald Araujo at right-back as Joules Kounde moved to the centre, while Jordi Alba came in at left-back.
The game's first meaningful chance fell to Barcelona on nine minutes when Robert Lewandowski carved out a bit of space before forcing a good save out of David de Gea.
United went close with their first opening on 26 minutes after Wout Weghorst was played through on goal by Bruno Fernandes, but the Dutch striker was denied by goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
The Barcelona shot-stopper came to his side's rescue a few minutes later, as he produced a fine save to keep out Marcus Rashford's effort.
Xavi Hernandez was forced to make a change just befofre the halftime break, with the influential Pedri forced off with an injury and replaced by Sergi Roberto.
The opening goal arrived four minutes after the break as Barcelona got the breakthrough as Alonso nodded home a corner at the far post.
United weren't behind for too long as the red-hot Rashford latched onto a pass from Fred before firing in at Ter Stegen's near post.
The visitors completed the turnaround in the 59th minute as Rashford surged into the box and rifled the ball across the face of goal, which deflected in off Kounde for the own goal.
Xavi responded with a triple change for the final 25 minutes, as Andreas Christensen, Ansu Fati and Alejandro Balde replaced Alonso, Franck Kessie and Alba.
Barcelona would go on to get the equaliser with 14 minutes left on the clock when Raphinha's in-swinging managed to sail past everyone and creep into the far corner.
Barcelona went close to pulling ahead in the 86th minute after Casemiro's clearance crash against the upright, while De Gea kept out a strike from Fati.
That would prove to be the final clear-cut chance as the encounter ended all square, with the two sides having it all to play for at Old Trafford next week.
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