Manchester United vs Barcelona LIVE result: Europa League reaction after Antony completes thrilling comeback

Manchester United produced a second-half comeback to defeat Barcelona and advance to the last-16 of the Europa League on a thrilling night at Old Trafford.

With the tie between two of European football’s heavyweights in the balance following a 2-2 draw at the Nou Camp last week, Robert Lewandowski fired Barcelona into the lead after converting a controversial penalty - despite a hand from David de Gea.

But Erik ten Hag made a crucial change at half time - replacing Wout Weghorst with Antony - and United improved immediately, with Fred firing in the equaliser from a smart touch shortly after the break.

And it was Antony who struck on 73 minutes to turn the tie around for United, with the Brazilian finishing a first-time shot into the corner to take the roof off Old Trafford.

Follow all the reaction as Manchester United defeat Barcelona in the Europa League play-offs:

Manchester United vs Barcelona

  • FULL TIME! Manchester United 2-1 Barcelona (4-3 agg)

  • 73’ GOAL! Antony turns tie around with brilliant finish (MUN 2-1 BAR)

  • 47’ GOAL! Fred equalises shortly after half time (MUN 1-1 BAR)

  • 45’ CLOSE! Casemiro saves United with crucial challenge after De Gea error (MUN 0-1 BAR)

  • 18’ GOAL! Lewandowski converts penalty to put visitors in front (MUN 0-1 BAR)

  • 3’ CHANCE! Fernandes clear through but denied by Ter Stegen (MUN 0-0 BAR)

Manchester United FC 2 - 1 FC Barcelona

Full-time: Man Utd 2-1 Barcelona (4-3 agg)

21:54 , Michael Jones

90+5 mins: What a match, what a tie, what a result for Manchester United. They’ve comeback from behind to defeat Barcelona and storm into the Europa League last-16.

It was a magnificent second half performance from the home side and they were rewarded with goals from Fred and Antony. United have been the better side over two legs and they go through 4-3 on aggregate.

Man Utd 2-1 Barcelona (4-3 agg)

21:53 , Michael Jones

90+3 mins: Off the line! Torres is played into space on the right wing once again. He slips the ball into the box for Lewandowski who beats De Gea with a dainty shot.

His effort is heading in but for Raphael Varane who gets back and scoops it off the line!

Man Utd 2-1 Barcelona (4-3 agg)

21:51 , Michael Jones

90+2 mins: Ferran Torres is given the ball over on the right wing and takes the ball to the byline before lifting a lovely cross into the middle.

There are three Barca players waiting in the middle but none can control the header and it bounces away.

Man Utd 2-1 Barcelona (4-3 agg)

21:49 , Michael Jones

90 mins: Five minutes of added time to play at Old Trafford. Can Man Utd see out this game or is there a way back for Barcelona?

Man Utd 2-1 Barcelona (4-3 agg)

21:46 , Michael Jones

88 mins: Erik ten Hag must think his team can see this one out now. Marcus Rashford has been taken off with Scott McTominay brought on to shore up the midfield.

Two minutes of the 90 left to go.

Man Utd 2-1 Barcelona (4-3 agg)

21:44 , Michael Jones

85 mins: There’s a rue smile on the referee’s face as Robert Lewandowski gets around Lisandro Martinez before being dragged to the deck by a cynical Casemiro.

The Man Utd midfielder knows it’s a yellow card offence and nods as he’s put in the book.

Man Utd 2-1 Barcelona (4-3 agg)

21:40 , Michael Jones

82 mins: Ronald Araujo goes off for Barca with Marcos Alonso brought on. It’s a defender for defender swap but Alonso is more attacking minded.

Barcelona need to pull something out of the bag here. Time is running away from them.

Man Utd 2-1 Barcelona (4-3 agg)

21:36 , Michael Jones

79 mins: Raphinha has gone off for Barcelona with Ansu Fati brought on. This has been another brilliant game and there’s still 10 minutes or so left to play.

Alejandro Garnacho fouls Jules Kounde on Barcelona’s right wing and earns himself a yellow card. Ferran Torres whips the set piece into the middle but Raphael Varane gets highest and nods it away.

Man Utd 2-1 Barcelona (4-3 agg)

21:34 , Michael Jones

76 mins: Rather bizarrely this is the same scoring sequence as the first leg. Barcelona took the lead before United equalised and took the lead.

The Spainsh side earned themselves an equaliser last week, can they do so again tonight?

GOAL! Man Utd 2-1 Barcelona (4-3 agg) - Antony, 73'⚽️

21:33 , Michael Jones

73 mins: Turnaround! Erik ten Hag’s substitutes have worked!

A long ball comes down the left side and Luke Shaw sprints up the pitch to keep it in play. He backheels it to Bruno Fernandes who feeds the ball inside to Alejandro Garnacho.

His shot is blocked and bounces to Fred. Fred has a go but the rebound takes it to Antony. On the third Man Utd effort, Antony smokes a low shot across the box and nestles it into the bottom corner.

Wonderful finish. Man Utd lead!

Man Utd 1-1 Barcelona (3-3 agg)

21:28 , Michael Jones

70 mins: Former Manchester City man Ferran Torres is met with a chorus of boos as he replaces Sergi Roberto for Barcelona. This game is finely balanced with 20 minutes to go.

We’re getting to the stage that any goal is a potential winner.

Man Utd 1-1 Barcelona (3-3 agg)

21:25 , Michael Jones

67 mins: Diogo Dalot and Alejandro Garnacho are brought on now to replace Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Jadon Sancho. Garnacho has already had a few impressive moments for United this season. Has he got another one in his locker tonight?

Man Utd 1-1 Barcelona (3-3 agg)

21:22 , Michael Jones

64 mins: Save! Jules Kounde makes a sneaky run in behind Jadon Sancho on the right side for Barcelona and meets the ball when Frenkie De Jong lifts it into the box.

Kounde’s header is dipping under the bar but De Gea leaps across and palms it over the top. Great save!

Man Utd 1-1 Barcelona (3-3 agg)

21:21 , Michael Jones

63 mins: United get in behind again thanks to Antony’s pace, Raphael Varane is even getting up the pitch with the attack. Antony brings the ball into the box, cuts onto his left foot then drills a shot into the nearest defender.

A wasted opportunity in the end.

Man Utd 1-1 Barcelona (3-3 agg)

21:19 , Michael Jones

60 mins: Yellow card to Bruno Fernandes. Frenkie De Jong goes down as Aaron Wan-Bissaka tries to tackle him, the ball comes loose and Fernandes rattles it into the falling De Jong.

The Barcelona players think he’s done it on purpose and swarm the Man Utd captain. Sergi Roberto leads the charge. After a bit of argy bargy and squaring off Fernandes and Roberto both go in the book.

Man Utd 1-1 Barcelona (3-3 agg)

21:16 , Michael Jones

57 mins: United’s equaliser has changed the complexion of this game. Barcelona’s only shot on target was Robert Lewandowski’s penalty. The Spaniards were expert at controlling possession when they were leading but now they’re the ones chasing the game.

Fred brings the ball down the left wing and flicks a forward pass into the feet of Rashford. Rashford flies into the box and pulls one across the six-yard area but there’s no-one there and Frenkie De Jong scoops it clear.

Man Utd 1-1 Barcelona (3-3 agg)

21:11 , Michael Jones

54 mins: These long balls are working brilliantly for Man Utd. Christensen fails to properly clear the dropping pass and Rashford takes over.

He drives into the box from the right wing but runs into trouble and guides a half-hearted effort into the side netting.

Man Utd 1-1 Barcelona (3-3 agg)

21:09 , Michael Jones

51 mins: What a rapid start to the second half from Man Utd. The extra pace of Antony looks to have given the hosts an added dimension.

A reminder that if the game ends in a draw at 90 minutes then there will be extra-time and potentially penalties. The away goals rule is no longer in force in European competition.

Man Utd 1-1 Barcelona (3-3 agg)

21:08 , Michael Jones

49 mins: What a chance! A long ball comes up the pitch and Antony gets in behind Andreas Christensen. He storms into the box and looks for Rashford on the opposite side of the area.

Christensen recovers and lunges into a tackle that knocks the ball back onto Antony before flying out of play. Great defending.

GOAL! Man Utd 1-1 Barcelona (3-3 agg) - Fred 47'⚽️

21:06 , Michael Jones

47 mins: Just what Manchester United needed! Old Trafford goes crazy as United win the ball high up the pitch. Jadon Sancho sends it to Bruno Fernandes who squares the ball to Fred.

His first touch takes him into the box before a right footed strike beats Marc-Andre ter Stegen to level the match and the tie.

Second half: Man Utd 0-1 Barcelona (2-3 agg)

21:03 , Michael Jones

Erik ten Hag has made a change at the break. Wout Weghorst is off with Antony being brought on. Rashford should take the striker possession with Sancho pushed to the left and Fernandes playing as the 10. Will it work?

Barcelona get the ball rolling for the second half with the same personnel on the pitch.

HT Man Utd 0-1 Barcelona (2-3 agg)

21:00 , Michael Jones

There were a few errors and simple mistakes in that first half from Manchester United. They were thrown off after the penalty was awarded and need to get themselves back into the game.

They have tended to perform better in the second half of games this season so there should be a resurgence in the second half.

HT Man Utd 0-1 Barcelona (2-3 agg)

20:57 , Michael Jones

Robert Lewandowski has scored 25 goals in 30 appearances across all competitions for Barcelona this season, the 12th successive campaign in which he’s netted 25+ goals at club level.

HT Man Utd 0-1 Barcelona (2-3 agg)

20:53 , Michael Jones

Robert Lewandowski’s penalty is the only difference between the teams so far. Is there a way back into this one for Man Utd?


Half-time: Man Utd 0-1 Barcelona (2-3 agg)

20:49 , Michael Jones

45+2 mins: The whistle goes for half-time at Old Trafford. Barcelona have control of the tie with a slender one-goal advantage. Erik ten Hag needs to make some changes.

That could be tactics or personnel but everything is too simple for the visitors. As it stands they’re knocking United out of Europe.

Man Utd 0-1 Barcelona (2-3 agg)

20:47 , Michael Jones

45 mins: Chance! Man Utd get away with one. David De Gea gives the ball away to Sergi Roberto who takes it to the edge of the six-yard box.

Casemiro comes flying in from the left and tackles him before the ball comes to Franck Kessie. He shoots but Casemiro recovers to block that effort too.

Wonderful stuff from the Brazilian.

Man Utd 0-1 Barcelona (2-3 agg)

20:41 , Michael Jones

42 mins: Erik ten Hag has some thinking to do at half-time. He needs to find a goal from somewhere and his tinkering in the first half hasn’t brought results.

Man Utd haven’t created much since Bruno Fernandes’ early shot.

Man Utd 0-1 Barcelona (2-3 agg)

20:40 , Michael Jones

39 mins: Chance! Barcelona have really taken the sting out of this match. They’re dominating the ball and picking their moments to get forward.

Raphinha has a dart inside from the right and blazes a shot over the crossbar!

Man Utd 0-1 Barcelona (2-3 agg)

20:36 , Michael Jones

35 mins: Close! That’s better from Manchester United. They maintain possession on the edge of Barcelona’s area, passing it from right to left and back again looking for the chance to shoot.

Jadon Sancho flicks the ball over to the right side of the box where Fred pops up and volleys a shot onto the roof of the goal.

Man Utd 0-1 Barcelona (2-3 agg)

20:33 , Michael Jones

32 mins: United work the ball across the pitch with Sancho laying it off to Martinez who passes it out to Rashford.

Rashford dinks the ball into the box with Wout Weghorst the desired target but the forward gives up the chase as it becomes evident that Ter Stegen will beat him to the ball.

Man Utd 0-1 Barcelona (2-3 agg)

20:30 , Michael Jones

29 mins: United have been a bit scatter brained since the penalty. Barcelona are doing a fine job of breaking up play and stopping the hosts from playing their own game.

Erik ten Hag’s men need some time in possession to get back up to speed in the match.

Man Utd 0-1 Barcelona (2-3 agg)

20:27 , Michael Jones

26 mins: Bruno Fernandes is brought down in the middle of the pitch and wins a free kick for Man Utd. Xavi isn’t happy about the decision and lets the officials know about it.

The referee comes over to the touchline and tells the Barcelona boss to calm down. Erik ten Hag isn’t exactly showing a calm and composed manner either.

Man Utd 0-1 Barcelona (2-3 agg)

20:23 , Michael Jones

23 mins: Oh Barcelona look good. They bring the ball down the right wing and slide it inside to Franck Kessie who plays a first time pass into the penalty are almost gets Robert Lewandowski in behind.

The bgi forward looks to control the ball but is put under pressure from Lisandro Martinez and goes down looking for another penalty.

He doesn’t get this one.

Man Utd 0-1 Barcelona (2-3 agg)

20:20 , Michael Jones

20 mins: Man Utd won’t be too worried. They managed to come from behind and earn a draw at the Nou Camp and they’ve started brightly here tonight.

The next goal could be a crucial one though.

GOAL! Man Utd 0-1 Barcelona (2-3 agg) - Lewandowski, 18’ ⚽️

20:19 , Michael Jones

18 mins: It’s in!

Robert Lewandowski stutters and shuffles during his run up before lifting the ball over to David De Gea’s left. The goalkeeper dives the correct way, gets his right hand to the ball but palms it onto the inside of the post and into the back of the net.

Barcelona take the lead at Old Trafford!

Penalty to Barcelona!

20:16 , Michael Jones

Man Utd 0-0 Barcelona (2-2 agg)

15 mins: Alejandro Balde controls the ball inside Man Utd’s penalty area and is seemingly dragged back by Bruno Fernandes. There’s plenty of contact there and the referee points straight to the spot.

This is a big call from the referee, VAR is taking a look but this one won’t be overturned.

Man Utd 0-0 Barcelona (2-2 agg)

20:15 , Michael Jones

14 mins: A short corner routine from Manchester United doesn’t quite work out but Barcelona are slow to work the ball away. United are pressing it short intense bursts and seem fairly compact whenever their opponents have possession.

Man Utd 0-0 Barcelona (2-2 agg)

20:14 , Michael Jones

12 mins: Barcelona win a free kick just outside the penalty area but Casemiro is on hand to work it away when the ball is curled in.

The visitors come at the United back line again with Franck Kessie weaving his way through the inside right channel. He slips a pass into the box for Sergi Roberto but Lisandro Martinez beats him to the ball and belts it away.

Roberto leaves a foot in and takes out the defender leaving the referee no choice but to award a free kick to the home team.

Man Utd 0-0 Barcelona (2-2 agg)

20:08 , Michael Jones

8 mins: Lovely defending from Alejandro Balde. Man Utd throw men up the pitch with Aaron Wan-Bissaka giving the ball to Bruno Fernandes on the right wing before getting forward on the overlap.

Fernandes tries to return the ball to him but Balde intercepts then shrugs off Fernandes’ recovering tackle before clearing his lines.

Man Utd 0-0 Barcelona (2-2 agg)

20:06 , Michael Jones

6 mins: As expected it’s been a rapid start. At the other end of the pitch Raphinha cuts inside onto his left foot and has a shot blocked. He scored Barcelona’s equaliser just like that in the first leg.

Marcus Rashford receives the ball and runs along the front edge of the box. Jules Kounde tries to hold him off before Sergio Busquets sticks a foot in and takes him down.

Manchester United want a free kick inside the ‘D’ but the referee lets play go on.

Man Utd 0-0 Barcelona (2-2 agg)

20:04 , Michael Jones

3 mins: Chance! There’s a mistake from Barcelona in midfield which allows Casemiro to come away with the ball. He curls a pass out to the right wide of the pitch where Bruno Fernandes collects the ball and drives into the box.

He’s only got the goalkeeper to beat and smashes a shot towards the far bottom corner but Marc-Andre ter Stegen is well place to keep it out with an outstretched right leg.

Kick off: Man Utd 0-0 Barcelona (2-2 agg)

20:03 , Michael Jones

Manchester United get the match underway. This is a big one. Whoever wins will make it into the Europa League last-16, whoever lose will be out.

Man Utd vs Barcelona

19:57 , Michael Jones

Here come the teams.

After the first leg theatrics, everyone is expecting this match to be a belter. Let’s hope it lives up to the hype. Manchester United vs Barcelona is up next.

Rashford’s on fire

19:50 , Michael Jones

Marcus Rashford has averaged a goal every 76 minutes in the Europa League this season for Manchester United (four goals in total).

It’s the best ratio of any player to have played at least 300 minutes.

 (Action Images via Reuters)
(Action Images via Reuters)

19:45 , Michael Jones

Manchester United have only lost two of their last 11 European games at Old Trafford with six wins and three draws in that run.

Although, both defeats came against Spanish opposition: 0-1 vs Atletico Madrid in March 2022 and 0-1 vs Real Sociedad in September 2022.

Xavi makes prediction as Sheikh Jassim bids to own Manchester United

19:40 , Michael Jones

Barcelona head coach Xavi says he knows prospective Manchester United owner Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani well and believes he would do a “good job” at Old Trafford.

Last Friday, the wealthy Qatari banker confirmed he had made an offer to buy the Premier League club as the Glazer family consider selling the club.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe has also made a bid to buy United, who are preparing for Thursday’s crunch Europa League knockout play-off second leg against Barcelona.

Xavi ended his playing career in Qatar playing for Al Sadd between 2015 and 2019, then took his first steps in management at the Doha club before taking over at Barcelona two years ago.

Xavi makes prediction as Sheikh Jassim bids to own Manchester United

Man Utd vs Barcelona

19:35 , Michael Jones

Manchester United have only won one of their last 11 games against Barcelona in European competition (D5 L5), going winless in the last five (D1 L4).

Their only victory in this run came in April 2008 in a Champions League semi-final second leg, with Paul Scholes netting in a 1-0 win.

United not distracted by Carabao Cup final

19:30 , Michael Jones

This is a big week for Manchester United. Not only are they fighting to remain in the Europa League tonight but on Sunday they face Newcastle in the Carabao Cup final.

Manager Erik ten Hag says that the prospect of winning a trophy will not distract his team from the importance of this evening’s fixture.

"When you face such big teams as Barcelona you have to play your best, otherwise you don’t have a chance," said Ten Hag.

"We have the opportunity [to win a trophy on Sunday] but the first focus point is always the next game and we can’t win the (Europa League) trophy this week.

"We have to keep in the same mindset that every day we want to give a better version of ourselves."

Erik ten Hag igniting Manchester United rebuild with Sir Alex Ferguson similarity

19:25 , Michael Jones

Erik ten Hag has long shown a willingness to seek out the footballing greats. A clip surfaced recently of a rather more hirsute 13-year-old talking with precocious maturity to Johan Cruyff. It acquired an added pertinence when, more than three decades later, an older Ten Hag followed in Cruyff’s footsteps by becoming manager of Ajax.

Pictures emerged this week of Ten Hag dining at an Italian restaurant in Wilmslow with another decorated predecessor, Sir Alex Ferguson. As United host Barcelona, the other club Cruyff served as both iconic player and manager, it was a timely occasion for a chat.

The Scot may not have too many fond memories of a 4-0 defeat to Cruyff’s ‘Dream Team’ in the Nou Camp in 1994, though Barcelona’s ground staged the most dramatic denouement to any Champions League final ever; Teddy Sheringham, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, “football, bloody hell” and all that in 1999.

Ten Hag’s United drew 2-2 in the Nou Camp last week. Beating the La Liga leaders in the second leg at Old Trafford would, the Dutchman said, require United’s best performance of the season. As Ferguson can testify, wins against Barcelona are not easily accomplished but they are something to savour.

He lost two Champions League finals to Pep Guardiola’s team. As an underdog, he won a Cup Winners’ Cup final against Cruyff’s Barca, Mark Hughes’ brace delivering victory in Rotterdam in 1991.

When his United lifted the Champions League, they encountered Barcelona en route, drawing 3-3 in two group-stage epics in 1998 and then, courtesy of Paul Scholes’ stunning long-range strike, winning a 2008 semi-final.

The similarity between Ten Hag and Sir Alex helping to ignite Man Utd rebuild

Man Utd vs Barcelona

19:20 , Michael Jones

Barcelona have faced Manchester United away from home in European competition on five previous occasions.

After failing to win any of the first four (D2 L2), they won 1-0 on their most recent such trip in April 2019 in a Champions League quarter-final first leg match.

Xavi on facing Manchester United

19:15 , Michael Jones

Xavi spoke about what he is expecting from tonight’s game claimed that Manchester United are one of the best teams in Europe at present.

“It’s a really tough game, Manchester United are one of the best teams in Europe and they are showing it.” said the Barcelona boss, "It’s the best Manchester United over the last few years and a great bit of work that Erik ten Hag has done.

"At the Nou Camp they showed a great passion and we have to match that. It’s a tough stadium to go to and we have to show the personality, play the way we can and be very intense during the game.

"The mentality is what we need to play a game like this. Manchester United are still up there with Manchester City and Arsenal [in the Premier League] so it’s a perfect stage to show Barcelona can compete with these teams."

Man Utd ready to take ‘next step’, says Raphael Varane

19:10 , Michael Jones

Raphael Varane says Erik ten Hag has brought confidence and discipline to a Manchester United side seeking to take the next step in their development by beating Barcelona.

The 2018 World Cup winner joined the Old Trafford giants in the summer of 2021 alongside Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo, but the campaign that followed was one to forget for all connected to the club.

United sacked Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and floundered under caretaker boss Ralf Rangnick as they stumbled home sixth in the Premier League – a wretched situation that Ten Hag has rapidly turned around.

The former Ajax boss has improved the culture and quality at Old Trafford, meaning the club are still fighting on all four fronts as they prepare to host Barca in the Europa League knockout play-off on Thursday.

Man Utd ready to take ‘next step’, says Raphael Varane

Barca arrive at Old Trafford

19:05 , Michael Jones

Barcelona have arrived at Old Trafford and are preparing for tonight’s clash. The players will be heading onto the pitch for the warm-ups shortly.

When Erik met Fergie

19:00 , Michael Jones

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag shared dinner with Sir Alex Ferguson this week as he looks to emulate the Scot in bringing European success to the club. He described the meeting as "massive".

"I always enjoy speaking with people who have a lot of knowledge, a lot of experience. He wants to share it; he wants to help and support," Ten Hag said.

"You feel Manchester United is his club. He feels so committed and he wants that we are doing well. It was a great night and I look forward to the next night with him."

Jules Kounde insists he is not ‘lucky’ to be facing Manchester United in second leg

18:55 , Michael Jones

Jules Kounde does not feel lucky to be facing Manchester United in the Europa League after Erik ten Hag fumed that the Barcelona defender should have been sent off and banned for the return leg.

Last week’s meeting of these European heavyweights outside the flagship competition lived up to the billing, with a chaotic clash in Catalunya ending in a 2-2 draw at the Nou Camp.

It was an impressive performance but Ten Hag was annoyed about his side’s inability to turn dominance into a win and the officials’ inaction for a poor challenge on star man Marcus Rashford.

Shortly after scoring an own goal to put the Red Devils 2-1 up, Kounde escaped a red card for a challenge on Rashford – something the Dutchman said was “definitely” a second off.

Jules Kounde insists he is not ‘lucky’ to be facing Manchester United in second leg

Man Utd vs Barcelona team changes

18:53 , Michael Jones

Erik ten Hag makes just one change to the Manchester United team that drew 2-2 at the Nou Camp. Tyrell Malacia drops out with Lisandro Martinez coming in. Luke Shaw moves out to the left-back position having played as a centre-back in Spain.

Barcelona boss, Xavi, makes four changes. In the back line Andreas Christensen and Alejandro Balde come in to replace Marcos Alonso and Jordi Alba.

Sergio Busquets and Sergi Roberto replace Pedri and Gavi in midfield.

Barcelona starting XI

18:49 , Michael Jones

Barcelona XI: Ter Stegen, Kounde, Araujo, Christensen, Balde, De Jong, Kessie, Busquets, Roberto, Raphinha, Lewandowski

Manchester United line-up

18:46 , Michael Jones

Man Utd XI: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Martinez, Shaw, Fred, Casemiro, Sancho, Fernandes, Rashford, Weghorst

How the teams reached this stage

18:44 , Michael Jones

Barcelona were knocked out of the Champions League group stage for the second consecutive season after finishing third in Group C behind Bayern Munich and Inter Milan while Manchester United finished second in their Europa League group on goal difference behind Real Sociedad.

Those performances has provided this extra play-off tie for the teams to navigate, things are balanced at 2-2 but only one of the sides will be progressing into the round of 16.

Who will it be?

On a red hot streak

18:40 , Michael Jones

Manchester United have won more games than any other side across the big five European leagues this season (27). Their total is already seven more victories than they managed last season (20).


Erik ten Hag details how Man Utd can beat Barcelona

18:35 , Michael Jones

Erik ten Hag has told Manchester United they need to produce their best performance of the season to eliminate Barcelona from the Europa League.

United impressed in drawing 2-2 at Camp Nou last week but Ten Hag believes they need to reach another level again against the La Liga leaders at Old Trafford on Thursday.

Captain Harry Maguire and winger Antony are back in contention for United but striker Anthony Martial, who has resumed training, will not be fit enough to play.

Erik ten Hag details how Man Utd can beat Barcelona

Ten Hag calls on fans to make noise

18:30 , Michael Jones

Manchester United boss, Erik ten Hag, has called on the club’s supporters to make as much noise as possible inside Old Trafford tonight and to create a brilliant atmosphere to spur on the team.

“You can hear it in the stands,” Ten Hag wrote in Thursday’s United Review, the official matchday programme. “That the fans feel a connection with this team and the feeling is mutual.

“We are all on a journey together, moving forward game-by-game and, tonight, we need the fans, as well as the players, to be at the top of their game, if we are to create a memorable night at Old Trafford.

“I think we have to make a bond together, the fans and the players. We have to keep the process going. It’s great at Old Trafford, and at away games, and you feel it, the vibe between the fans and players. We have to keep working on it.

“We know Barcelona is a big team, it’s a big club, but we are really excited to face them. We really want to go for this chance. That is what counts.”

Xavi talks Barcelona’s absentees

18:25 , Michael Jones

Barcelona are missing a few big name players for tonight’s clash with Manchester United as midfielders Pedri and Gavi join the likes of Ousmanne Dembele on the sidelines.

“Dembele is also a big blow, a huge blow for us,” Xavi said speaking at his pre-match press conference yesterday. “He can make a difference on the pitch. Pedri and Gavi are players that are so important for us on the pitch.

“Gavi has pure passion and intensity and that’s exactly what we need tomorrow. It’s a big absence for us but we have alternatives.”

Qatar takeover of Man United would be new nadir for English football

18:20 , Michael Jones

A Qatari state takeover of Manchester United would be nothing short of an English football travesty.

This is a moment of enormity for the sport. The concern is two-fold, both having a multiplying effect on the other to pose a potentially irreversible impact on the game. At its moral core, there is English football’s biggest club being made to represent the biggest problem in football right now. United would be politically used to mitigate one of the most criticised human rights records on earth, centred on a labour system described as modern slavery, consequently making this noble institution complicit.

United would no longer just be about Salford, Manchester and a community of fans thrilled by a glorious history of adventure and defiance. It would be about Qatar, its foreign policy and the kind of issues that just shouldn’t be a concern for football. “Sportswashing” is too soft a description for what is actually happening here, especially when you consider the other issue.

Qatar takeover of Man United would be new nadir for English football

Man Utd vs Barcelona prediction

18:15 , Michael Jones

The first game was a well-balanced affair although Manchester United could count themselves unlucky not to come away without a win.

Home advantage should see them over the line in this one, and expect Marcus Rashford to be amongst the goals again.

Manchester United 3-1 Barcelona.

Man Utd vs Barcelona predicted line-ups

18:10 , Michael Jones

Man Utd XI: David De Gea; Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez, Luke Shaw; Casemiro, Fred, Bruno Fernandes; Jadon Sancho, Wout Weghorst, Marcus Rashford.

Barcelona XI: Marc Andre ter Stegen; Jules Kounde, Ronald Araujo, Marcos Alonso, Jordi Alba; Frenkie De Jong, Franck Kessie; Raphinha, Ansu Fati, Ferran Torres; Robert Lewandowski.

What is the early team news?

18:05 , Michael Jones

Barcelona will be without talented midfielders Pedri and Gavi following the first leg, whereas Manchester United’s Lisandro Martinez and Marcel Sabitzer are available having been suspended for the first leg in Spain.

Scott McTominay was absent through injury but returned to the squad on Sunday, while there is further good news on the fitness of winger Antony and captain Harry Maguire. Antony has not played since the 2-1 win against Crystal Palace on 4 February, while the United skipper watched from the stands against former club Leicester due to a minor knock.

“We still have the training to go but I expect Harry Maguire and Antony dos Santos available,” Ten Hag said. “Anthony Martial is not available. He’s back, back on the pitch, not back in the team training so we wait for that.”

How to watch Man Utd vs Barcelona

18:00 , Michael Jones

The match kicks off tonight at 8pm GMT at Old Trafford.

The game will be shown live on BT Sport 1 in the UK and subscribers can stream online via the BT Sport app.

Manchester United vs Barcelona

15:28 , Michael Jones

Hello and welcome to The Independent’s coverage of tonight’s crucial Europa League play-off game which will see one of either Manchester United or Barcelona progress to the last-16 stage.

A week ago the two European heavyweights played out a spectacularly entertaining 2-2 draw at the Nou Camp with Barcelona opening the scoring through Marcos Alonso before Marcus Rashford equalised. Rashford was key to United’s next goal when his driving run and cross into the box resulted in a Jules Kounde own-goal but Barcelona recovered late in the second half and Raphinha curled one home to keep the tie delicately poised.

The first leg was a close fought affair with both sides having moments of dominance and control before momentum swung the other way. Expect something similar tonight though Erik ten Hag will be hoping home advantage plays its part in United’s favour.

Barca are without midfielders Pedri and Gavi though there is enough quality in Xavi’s squad to make up for their absences. This should be a fascinating encounter that will end with one of these teams being dumped out of the competition.

Who will go through tonight?