FC Barcelona and Manchester United have parted ways without a winner in a thrilling Europa League first leg. The game at Camp Nou ended 2-2 (0-0). Marcos Alonso (50th minute) and Raphinha (76th) scored for the top Spanish club led by former Bundesliga star and top scorer Robert Lewandowski. Marcus Rashford (53′) and an own goal by Joules Koundé (59′) had meanwhile turned the game in favor of the English record champions. The second leg will be played at Old Trafford on February 23.
Both teams were in the game immediately after kick-off in the first half. However, the first clear scoring opportunity for the team from Manchester only came in the 28th minute. Wout Weghorst didn’t use his good opportunity, nor did Rashford a short time later (34′). Jordi Alba missed a promising chance for Barcelona (37th), he failed at Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea.
Alonso headed in from a corner. Rashford equalized three minutes later after a one-two with Fred. Raphinha saved the Catalans’ draw after Koundé gave the English fans who had traveled with them hope of victory. Barcelona even had victory on their feet in the closing stages. But Ansu Fati’s powerful shot was denied by Spanish goalkeeper de Gea, who made a strong save.
The draw ended a fantastic series of eleven competitive wins in a row for Barca. Manchester was also in impressive form. The team recorded nine wins and two draws from the first twelve games of the year. Accordingly, the draw was logical. Manchester may go into the second leg with a slight advantage – but who qualifies for the round of 16 of the Europa League is completely open.