Manchester United confirmed their place in the last eight of the Europa League with a 1-0 road success over Real Betis thanks to Marcus Rashford.
The Reds had two main aims for this second leg with Betis: don’t let a three-goal lead slip and try to avoid bookings for influential duo Casemiro and Bruno Fernandes and it was mission successful on both counts.
United had numerous chances to put the game beyond Betis before a Marcus Rashford goal made it 5-1 on aggregate and booked their place in the quarter-finals. As for the bookings, it was a professional job by the Brazilian and Portugal man who avoided the caution that would see them banned for the first leg of the quarter-final.
For Rashford, it was goal number 120 of his Man United career and one that moves him one behind Andy Cole in 18th on the all-time scorers list for the Red Devils. At the tender age of 25, he will certainly climb that table and go down in club history.
He has become the youngest United player to score 25 goals in European competitions and the goal also means Rashford has scored more times in Spain than any other player in the entire history of Manchester United.
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Fans were click to flood social media with praise for their new hero who is enjoying a remarkable campaign.
We’re so lucky to have these two at our club ? pic.twitter.com/63iF5dU53W
— UtdDistrict (@UtdDistrict) March 16, 2023
MARCUS RASHFORD WHAT A GOAL!
HE CAN'T BE STOPPED RIGHT NOW ? pic.twitter.com/OHU8S58usV
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) March 16, 2023
Marcus Rashford in the Europa League this season:
? 8 appearances
⚽ 6 goals
?️ 2 assists
Rocket. ? pic.twitter.com/VOgZStinO7
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) March 16, 2023
RASHFORD IS UNSTOPPABLE ? pic.twitter.com/GvhYuJCzxy
— UF (@UtdFaithfuls) March 16, 2023
27 goals and 9 assists in 43 games with Manchester United this season.
Youngest Man United player to score 25 goals in European competitions.
— Mrluv (@big_Vikk) March 16, 2023
The game also saw the debut of another off the production line of talent for Man United with a full debut for Facundo Pellistri. The 21-year-old was signed in 2020 but finally seems to have found a manager in Ten Haag who is willing to take a chance on him. The Uruguayan caught the eye of social media with fans quick to praise his debut.
Facundo Pellistri is the future of Manchester United and I don't say that lightly.
— ???????'? ?????? (@CantonasCoIIar) March 16, 2023
I’m not even trying to overrate him, but Pellistri is SO good.
— ًEl. (@UtdEIIis) March 16, 2023
Wan Bissaka and Pellistri have done a great job down the right handside tonight
— Mark Goldbridge (@markgoldbridge) March 16, 2023
Erik Ten Haag was also delighted with his performance telling media: “[Pellistri] had some really good actions. I am pleased with his performance.”
The Dutchman was happy with the evening work in general, adding: “I am happy but we like challenges and we knew before Betis is a really good team. We beat them twice so I think we performed very well. Second half was much better though the energy was out of the opponent after the goal. We were much better on the ball [and] all the players did very well. We not only have 11 players, we have a squad.
“No red cards, no injuries. We have depth, but not that big!”
Speaking of depth, Man United will reportedly look to sign a centre-forward this summer and on Wednesday night former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry had a suggestion.
“[Osimhen] has everything. He can hold the ball. He can run into the channels. He can finish well with his head, with his foot,” said Henry during CBS coverage.
But when asked by Jamie Carragher whether Manchester United should sign him the former Arsenal striker said: “But if I’m Man United, I go [Harry] Kane because he knows the Premier League. That doesn’t mean Osimhen is not a good player but if I’m Man United, I’d think [Kane] doesn’t need to adapt to anything and has a way of dropping that can allow Rashford to make runs in behind.
“Kane can play anywhere.”
"If I'm Man United, I pick Kane…"
Thierry Henry discusses Victor Osimhen's next move, but thinks Harry Kane is a better fit at Old Trafford. ?? pic.twitter.com/GqK1eUyAnL
— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) March 15, 2023
Man United next play this Sunday, against Fulham in the FA Cup quarter-finals.