Football News

Barcelona 2-2 Man Utd: Rashford and Raphinha shine as Europa League tie is perfectly balanced

By Harry Edwards

Published: 19:55, 16 February 2023

Barcelona and Manchester United played out an enthralling 2-2 draw in the first leg of their Europa League knockout round play-off tie.

A Champions League final 12 years ago, both sides are now fighting for a spot in the last 16 of the Europa League, and things are evenly poised ahead of next week’s second leg.

After a goalless first half, Marcos Alonso put Barcelona ahead but the lead didn’t last too long with Marcus Rashford equalising. An own goal from Jules Kounde made it 2-1 to Man Utd but Raphinha ensured it was honours even.

Here’s how the players rated at the Nou Camp:

Barcelona

Marc-Andre ter Stegen – 5 – Another first half without conceding the German was equal to what Man Utd threw at him with two very good saves on Weghorst and Rashford. But he should have done better to prevent Rashford from equalising in the second half, beaten far too easily at his near post.

Ronald Araujo – 5 – The outside man, Araujo got forward a lot but was caught out defensive at times and was the weakest point of Barcelona’s defence.

Jules Kounde – 6 – Strong defensively in the first half but was the unfortunate man to rebound the ball into his own net to put Man Utd ahead.

Marcos Alonso – 6 – Like most of his teammates it was a tale of two halves. He looked pretty solid at centre-back in the first half and then put Barcelona in front with a good header at the back post. But just a few minutes later he allowed Rashford to get a shot off for the equaliser.

Jordi Alba – 5 – Got forward a lot, playing essentially as a left winger at times. Had a decent chance late in the first half but his shot was deflected and saved at the near post. Left a lot of open space for Rashford to run into.

Pedri – 7 – Was key to Barcelona’s bright start and looked brilliant when on the ball. Unfortunately for Barcelona his game only lasted 40 minutes before he had to come off with an injury. They’ll be hoping it’s nothing serious.

Frenkie de Jong – 4 – A very unremarkable performance from the midfield man who had been on Man Utd’s wishlist in the summer. Just couldn’t have any impact on the game without being disastrous.

Franck Kessie – 6 – Was very good in the first half protecting Pedri but the game passed him by after half time.

Raphinha – 8 – It was a strange game for Raphinha who looked good in defence and attack, getting back to cover Araujo. He put in a great corner for Alonso’s goal but was beaten far too easily by Rashford for Man Utd’s second. Made amends with a fantastic ball into the box which eluded everyone and beat de Gea to equalise. Bizarrely taken off late on when he was on top.

Robert Lewandowski – 5 – Wasn’t really in the game aside from a good chance early on. But he did put off the Man Utd defence with a run across Raphinha’s shot, though he didn’t get a touch.

Gavi – 7 – Caused a lot of problems down Barca’s left, allowing Alba to overlap to double up on Wan-Bissaka. Such a class player at a young age.

Substitutes:

Sergi Roberto (for Pedri 42) – 4 – His introduction unsettled Barcelona in the midfield, never really settling in the midfield.

Ansu Fati (for Kessie 67) – 6 – A switch to make Barcelona more attacking, the Spaniard had a couple of opportunities late on.

Alex Balde (for Alba 67) – 7 – Sat back more to help keep Rashford quiet and performed his role well.

Andreas Christensen (for Alonso 67) – 7 – Added defensive stability.

Ferran Torres (for Raphinha 83) – N/A – A late sub.

Manchester United

David de Gea – 6 – Couldn’t do much about either Barcelona goal but produced a few good saves to deny Lewandowski, Alba and Fati.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka – 5 – Gave up an opportunity for Alba towards the end of the first half but got back to get a touch on the shot. Got forward well in the first half but didn’t keep it up when Man Utd needed it. Just about managed to deal with Gavi.

Raphael Varane – 7 – Kept Lewandowski extremely quiet despite playing on a yellow card for all of the second half.

Luke Shaw – 8 – Worked well alongside Varane to keep Barcelona’s threat out wide, but he definitely had his work cut out for him in covering for Malacia.

Tyrell Malacia – 6 – Struggled to keep Raphinha quiet but still had his good moments and shouldn’t be marked down too much for the Brazilian having a great game. Made a crucial block late on to keep it at 2-2.

Casemiro – 7 – Controlled the midfield for Man Utd as he usually does. He knows what is needed to play at the Nou Camp.

Fred – 6 – A game of ups and downs for the Brazilian, who let Alonso win the header for his goal unchallenged. But moments later he played in a wonderful pass through to Rashford for the equaliser.

Jadon Sancho – 4 – Got into good attacking spaces but his end product just wasn’t there. He’s clearly still finding his feet back in the Man Utd team.

Bruno Fernandes – 6 – On the periphery for most of the game but should have had an assist with a beautiful pass to Weghorst for the Dutchman’s chance.

Marcus Rashford – 8 – The focal point of the Man Utd attack, once he realised all he needed to do was run directly at the Barcelona defence there was no stopping him. Equalised with a powerful finish at ter Stegen’s near post and then showed lovely footwork to beat Raphinha in the build up to the second. He’s on another level.

Wout Weghorst – 4 – Dropped into a No.10 role, even as far back as the midfield alongside Fred and Casemiro. Played through by Fernandes in the first half and should have scored but his effort was saved by ter Stegen. Otherwise unseen.

Substitutes:

Alejandro Garnacho (for Sancho 81) – N/A – A late sub.

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