Europa League | Barcelona, Man United share spoils in thrilling 2-2 draw

Manchester United’s Casemiro in action with FC Barcelona’s Gavi in the first leg of the Europa League playoff round at the Camp Nou on February 16, 2023

Manchester United’s Casemiro in motion with FC Barcelona’s Gavi within the first leg of the Europa League playoff spherical on the Camp Nou on February 16, 2023
| Photo Credit: Reuters

Barcelona fought again to earn a 2-2 draw with Manchester United in a pulsating Europa League knockout spherical playoff first leg on Thursday.

United have been the higher facet for giant components of the sport and managed the tempo however have been denied by goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen who made three excellent saves within the first half.

LaLiga leaders Barcelona struck first, 5 minutes after the break, when Marcos Alonso scored with a towering header on the far submit from a nook.

Marcus Rashford levelled three minutes later following a counter-attack down the proper, slotting house a wise low end between Ter Stegen and the close to submit.

The in-form Rashford additionally created United’s second, sprinting into the field from a brief nook and delivering a low cross right into a crowded six-yard space the place the ball deflected into the objective off defender Jules Kounde.

United gamers and supervisor Erik ten Hag complained strongly after what appeared like a transparent foul by last-man Kounde on Rashford simply outdoors the field, an infringement that ought to have produced a crimson card for the French worldwide.

Barcelona dug deep to seize the equaliser, nonetheless, and errors by United’s defence gifted the ball on the sting of their field to Raphinha whose cross eluded David de Gea and went into the web.

Barca made a late push for the win and will have scored when an Ansu Fati shut vary strike was denied and Casemiro’s mis-hit clearance got here off the crossbar.

Barcelona will journey to subsequent week’s second leg at Old Trafford with a depleted midfield as Pedri got here off within the first half with a leg harm and Gavi can be suspended.

Salzburg beats AS Roma

In Austria, a late header by midfielder Nicolas Capaldo earned Salzburg a 1-0 win over AS Roma on the Red Bull Arena.

Jose Mourinho’s Roma managed the sport and will have gone in entrance minutes earlier than halftime by striker Tammy Abraham however his shot from contained in the field was saved by goalkeeper Philipp Kohn.

The Italians had one other likelihood 9 minutes from time when Andrea Belotti’s close-range strike crashed in opposition to the crossbar.

But Salzburg defender Strahinja Pavlovic arrange Capaldo with a lofted cross into the field for the Argentine to nod within the winner within the 88th minute.

Union Berlin, Ajax draw

In Amsterdam, Union Berlin have been unlucky to not beat Ajax Amsterdam away within the goalless first leg of their tie on the Johan Cruyff Arena.

The Bundesliga frontrunners had the ball within the house internet after 66 minutes when Morten Thorsby fired the ball in from shut vary, having cleverly deceived two defenders as he chested down a cross from Jerome Roussillon.

However, VAR confirmed his arm made contact with the ball when controlling it and the strike was chalked off.

Union deserved a objective, having proven many of the attacking initiative on the evening plus successfully closing down the house Ajax wanted for his or her passing sport, however should now look to safe a last-16 place after they host the second leg within the German capital subsequent Thursday.

In Poland, Ukraine’s Shakhtar Donetsk beat Stade Rennais 2-1 due to first-half targets from Dmytro Kryskiv and Artem Bondarenko, whereas Karl Toko Ekambi’s volley within the second half gave the French facet hope for the second leg subsequent week.

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