Barcelona 2-2 Man Utd: Player ratings as giants play out modern Europa League classic

Man Utd were pegged back
Man Utd were pegged back / MB Media/GettyImages

A breathlessly entertaining clash between Barcelona and Manchester United ended 2-2 at Camp Nou on Thursday to set up a tantalising second leg in their Europa League knockout playoff.

A burst of goals at the beginning of the second half saw Barcelona first go ahead through Marcos Alonso, but a quick retort from Marcus Rashford and Jules Kounde's own goal put the Red Devils in front.

Raphinha's fizzed cross sailed through the far post to drag Barça level in the 76th minute. Casemiro booted the ball against his own post late on but a winner couldn't be found in what will go down as a modern Europa League classic.

Both teams made a bright start to the game, with Barça carving out the first chance less than 10 minutes in when Robert Lewandowski ran across Luke Shaw and fiercely fired at goal with his left foot. It needed strong hands from David de Gea to parry the ball to safety.

As Barça started to probe more and more, Pedri might have thought he should have done a little better by his high standards when an opportunistic volley sailed over.

United were starting to look a little sloppy but created their own decent opening when Aaron Wan-Bissaka burst forward down the right and pulled back to Jadon Sancho, whose shot was deflected but also lacked conviction. Moments later, Wout Weghorst, deployed in a deeper ‘number 10’ role, brought a top save out of Marc-Andre ter Stegen when making a run behind.

German stopper Ter Stegen was required soon after denying Weghorst. Sancho won the ball and sent in Marcus Rashford, who left Marcos Alonso in his dust but saw his curled effort palmed away by the springing Ter Stegen.

Towards half-time, Wan-Bissaka was almost punished for a sloppy moment in possession, but a combination of his saving tackle and De Gea stopped Jordi Alba from capitalising.

Barça suffered a huge blow just before half time when Pedri went down holding his knee. The young Spaniard couldn't continue and was substituted off for Sergi Roberto.

There was no slowing up at the start of the second half. Raphinha sent a fierce drive fizzing past the post before Sancho passed up a gilt-edged opportunity - placing wide after Ronald Araujo made a hash of a clearance - which he was made to pay for.

Considering the frenetic pace of the first half, the fact the goal came from a simplistic corner almost came as a surprise. Marcos Alonso attacked the ball at the back post, losing Fred to head past De Gea at the near post.

There would be only three minutes between Alonso's opener and Man Utd's reply. Fred atoned for his lack of spacial awareness by slipping in a perfect pass for Rashford, who took the ball close to the byline and beat Ter Stegen - again at the near post - with a powerful shot.

Having been a goal down in the 50th minute, Man Utd turned the tables and struck again to take the lead just before the hour mark. The electric Rashford burned past Raphinha from a short corner and smashed into the six-yard box, where a deflection off Jules Kounde bobbled in to put United ahead.

The game's pace did slow midway through the second half, though Barcelona suffered another blow in midfield when Gavi was booked for pulling back Fred on the counter attack. He will be suspended for the second leg.

However, just when some modicum of calm seemed to be settling in, Barça struck back. Man Utd gave away possession carelessly and a wicked ball from Raphinha missed the crowd of bodies in the box to creep in past De Gea.

Casemiro hit his own post under pressure and De Gea had to deny sub Ansu Fati and Barça a late winner, setting up a fascinating showdown at Old Trafford in the second leg next week.

Barcelona player ratings (4-3-3)

GK: Marc-Andre ter Stegen - 7/10 - Made big saves in the first half to deny Weghorst and Rashford. Beaten at his near post by Rashford.

RB: Ronald Araujo - 5/10 - Switched out to the right, perhaps to deal with United's pace in wide areas. Gifted Sancho a golden opportunity which he didn't take.

CB: Jules Kounde - 4/10 - Careless on the ball and was almost punished by Rashford in the first half. Put Man Utd ahead with an own goal.

CB: Marcos Alonso - 6/10 - Was given the runaround at points by Rashford. Rose highest to head in Raphinha's cross.

LB: Jordi Alba (c) - 6/10 - Played so high up the pitch that he was an attacking outlet but a bit of a defensive liability.

CM: Franck Kessie - 6/10 - Only misplaced one of his 33 passes on a night when possession was tossed carelessly between the sides at points. That said, he was hardly influential.

CM: Frenkie de Jong - 6/10 - Rarely looked troubled in possession but wasn't much of a help when United broke quickly.

CM: Pedri - 6/10 - Fired over on the volley when well placed. Suffere a knee injury and was substituted before half time.

RW: Raphinha - 9/10 - His corner sailed over to Alonso to head in. Caught out for United's second when Rashford breezed past him out wide. Great ball in to Lewandowski helped bring Barça level.

ST: Robert Lewandowski - 7/10 - Had missed some decent opportunities early on. Caused a kerfuffle which allowed Raphinha's strike to go in.

LW: Gavi - 7/10 - Had to tug back Fred on the counter late on and will be suspended for the second leg at Old Trafford. Some lovely intricate moments.


Sergi Roberto (41' for Pedri) - 6/10

Andreas Christensen (66' for Alonso) - 5/10

Ansu Fati (67' for Kessie) - 6/10

Alex Balde (67' for Alba) - 6/10

Ferran Torres (83' for Raphinha) - N/A


Xavi - 6/10 - His side played so high up the pitch, a tactic which was exploited by Man Utd time and time again. Neither side could exert sustained control and given the amount of chances United had, Xavi will be happy to escape with a draw.

Man Utd player ratings (4-2-3-1)

GK: David de Gea - 6/10 - Some smart saves in the first half but was a little too rooted when Alonso headed in.

RB: Aaron Wan-Bissaka - 5/10 - Made some good driving runs in attack but looked unsure and at some times hopeless at the back.

CB: Raphael Varane - 7/10 - Sensed danger often and stepped up well to make interceptions. Only made one foul and won the majority of his duels.

CB: Luke Shaw - 6/10 - Had a few moments where he noticeably looked like he was playing out of position. Held up pretty well overall.

LB: Tyrell Malacia - 6/10 - Brought every ounce of his combativeness and flew into every challenge possible. Was exposed by Barça's more technical plays.

CM: Casemiro - 6/10 - Sloppy pass ended with Lewandowski equalising. Chopped down Gavi for a booking.

CM: Fred - 7/10 - Didn't challenge Alonso properly for Barça's opener but played in Rashford moments later for the equaliser.

RM: Bruno Fernandes (c) - 7/10 - Lobbed some nice long balls over Barça's defence to get United high up the pitch.

AM: Wout Weghorst - 5/10 - Began in a surprising deeper role. Had a big chance but was denied by Ter Stegen from close range.

LM: Jadon Sancho - 6/10 - Nicked the ball high up the pitch on a few occasions. Should have put United ahead but also played some awesome passes in behind the Barça line.

ST: Marcus Rashford - 9/10 - Barça had little to no answer to Rashford's pace. He rattled in United's equaliser and played a crucial role in their second goal.


Alejandro Garnacho (82' for Sancho) - N/A


Erik ten Hag - 6/10 - His side arguably should have won, which a massive feather in Ten Hag's cap. Got fiery on the touchline and was booked, though managed to rein himself in quickly enough.

Player of the match - Marcus Rashford

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