Man Utd 2-1 Barcelona (Agg 4-3): Player ratings as comeback win sees Red Devils progress

Antony scored Man Utd's winner off the bench
Antony scored Man Utd's winner off the bench / Soccrates Images/GettyImages

Manchester United came from behind to beat Barcelona at Old Trafford and progress to the Europa League last 16, sealing a 2-1 win on the night and a 4-3 aggregate victory.

Robert Lewandowski had given Barcelona an early lead from the penalty spot in his first Old Trafford appearance, but a second half revival from the home side resulted in United’s Brazilian duo Fred and Antony scoring the goals that decided the game.

Bruno Fernandes had a glorious chance to put United ahead early after being put through by Casemiro. But Marc-Andre ter Stegen was equal to it and blocked with his right thigh. The same United player soon turned villain with an arm around Alejandro Balde in the box.

It was a soft penalty, but referee Clement Turpin had no hesitation and there was no scope for VAR to intervene because it wasn’t an obvious mistake. Lewandowski took his time and, with a hop and skip, just about beat David de Gea, who got enough of a hand to push the ball onto the inside of the post, seeing it bounce into the net to the Barça forward’s relief.

Fernandes remained involved, seeing another much more difficult chance to score when he connected with Luke Shaw’s drilled diagonal ball on the volley, but it didn’t worry Ter Stegen.

Fred also threatened with what appeared to be a miscued cross, but Barcelona were actually pretty comfortable as the first half drew to a close – even without creating much to build on their lead. A mistake from De Gea also presented the visitors the chance to kill the tie, kicking straight to Sergi Roberto. The blushes were spared by an outstanding Casemiro tackle and follow-up block.

Erik ten Hag reshuffled his front four at half-time and it instantly paid dividends with the equaliser. Jadon Sancho and Fernandes were involved in their new roles, with the latter finding Fred between Barça defenders. It wasn’t a clean contact with his right foot, but the Brazilian still found the bottom corner. Barcelona were rattled and only a desperate saving tackle from Andreas Christensen stopped substitute Antony from doing damage as he raced through not long after.

By the hour mark, Xavi’s team were hanging on as United repeatedly exploited spaces and attacked at speed – just the final ball was missing. But at that stage it was De Gea’s time to shine when he tipped a towering Jules Kounde header over the bar against the run of play.

Pressure from the home side continued into the final quarter of the contest and the go-ahead goal had been coming. Fernandes showed his strength on the left, outmuscling Raphinha to engineer the move. Blocked shots from Alejandro Garnacho and Fred eventually saw the ball rebound to Antony on the right of the box, with his half volley beautifully guided into the far bottom corner.

Barcelona huffed and puffed as the minutes ticked by without properly threatening. Just when it looked as though an otherwise quiet Lewandowski might send the tie to extra-time, Raphael Varane was in the right place to block on the line – an offside flag would actually have ruled it out anyway.

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

GK: David de Gea - 6/10 - So close to saving Lewandowski's penalty, while a kicking error almost had the tie sewn up in Barcelona's favour before half-time. But also made a crucial save at 1-1.

RB: Aaron Wan-Bissaka - 6/10 - Looked confident and athletic. Lacked a bit of attacking quality.

CB: Raphael Varane - 8/10 - Really impressive on the ball, at one point galloping deep into the Barcelona half. Defensively sound and made a goal-line clearance in stoppage time.

CB: Lisandro Martinez - 7/10 - Took no prisoners and will need to check his pockets for a Lewandowski.

LB: Luke Shaw - 7/10 - A backheel to keep the ball alive made the second United goal possible. Also limited what Raphinha could do on Barcelona's right.

CM: Casemiro - 9/10 - Sat deep to shield the back four, making the formation at times look more like a 4-1-4-1. A vital tackle and block at the end of the first half stopped Barcelona going 2-0 up and effectively laid the foundation for United to win the whole tie.

CM: Fred - 8/10 - Covered a lot of ground trying to link defence and attack. Played with plenty of tenacity and energy in the second half. Won't care that his goal came off his shin either.

RM: Bruno Fernandes (c) - 7/10 - Felt aggrieved to be penalised for his arm on Balde. Drifted into dangerous positions off the right flank but influenced the game more after switching centrally.

AM: Jadon Sancho - 6/10 - Struggled to make an impact in the central role, improved after the break.

LM: Marcus Rashford - 6/10 - Too quiet to worry Barcelona in a disappointing first half. Looked a lot more lively after Ten Hag switched things up and caused a few problems.

ST: Wout Weghorst - 5/10 - Chased all across the front-line to pressure Barcelona defenders but lacked the pace to exploit any space in behind or in the channels. Saw very little of the ball.


SUB: Antony (46' for Weghorst) - 8/10

SUB: Diogo Dalot (67' for Wan-Bissaka) - 6/10

SUB: Alejandro Garnacho (67' for Sancho) - 7/10

SUB: Scott McTominay (88' for Rashford) - N/A


Erik ten Hag - 8/10 - Set up completely differently to how he did at Camp Nou a week ago and it didn't really work. But changes were made at half-time and suddenly United were the better team.

Barcelona player ratings (4-3-3)

GK: Marc-Andre ter Stegen - 6/10 - Made a big early save that allowed Barcelona to take the lead, but stood little chance with either United goal.

RB: Jules Kounde - 6/10 - Back on the right after starting in the middle in the first leg. Did a good job against Rashford when the United man was playing wide.

CB: Ronald Araujo - 6/10 - Had Rashford and Weghorst under wraps in the first half. Things got a lot harder after the break.

CB: Andreas Christensen - 6/10 - Raced back to catch Antony straight after Fred had equalised.

LB: Alejandro Balde - 6/10 - Favoured over Jordi Alba and justified his selection by winning the early penalty. Faced a different kind of defensive task when Antony came on.

CM: Franck Kessie - 5/10 - Probably could have done better with a chance at the end of the first as Casemiro tackled Roberto. More wasteful than you would expect from a Barcelona midfielder.

CM: Sergio Busquets - 6/10 - In control in the first half but ultimately lost the battle of the veteran holding midfielders to Casemiro.

CM: Frenkie de Jong - 6/10 - Faded after a decent first half.

RW: Raphinha - 5/10 - Flashed a couple of speculative efforts off target in the first half but found it difficult to make anything of note happen.

ST: Robert Lewandowski - 6/10 - Relieved to see his penalty find the back of the net, despite De Gea's hand reaching it - his first goal from the spot this season. Didn't actually do much else at all.

LW: Sergi Roberto - 6/10 - Could have settled the tie in the first half.


SUB: Ferran Torres (70' for Roberto) - 6/10

SUB: Ansu Fati (75' for Raphinha) - /10

SUB: Marcos Alonso (82' for Araujo) - N/A


Xavi - 6/10 - His selection was influenced by injury and suspension and waited a fair bit of time to turn to his bench, long after momentum had swung away from Barcelona.

Player of the match - Casemiro (Man Utd)