BARCELONA – FC Barcelona couldn’t get an advantage in the UEFA Europa League season 2022/23 play-off round, as they drew 2-2 against Manchester United in the first leg at home on Thursday night.
The leading team of the Spanish LaLiga ended their eight consecutive wins, unable to keep a good start in the qualification stage.
Barca led the match at Camp Nou with an opening goal by Marcos Alonso in the 50th minute, however, Marcus Rashford netted his 14th goal in 16 matches.
The English striker had scored 11 goals this year, the most among players in the European five major leagues.
The visiting team once overturned the score with an own goal from Jules Kounde in the 59th minute, but Raphinha’s equalising goal gave the Spanish giant a tie.
Top Class Exciting Game
Although it is a play-off stage in the Europa League, the battle between Barca and the Red Devils was exciting as a top class clash of giants.
Camp Nou recorded a number of more than 90,000 spectators from both home and guest teams’ supporters.
The second leg will be played at Old Trafford next Thursday, United has a slight advantage to welcome their opponent at home with a great number of red fans.
Meanwhile, Pedri, who had been sent off in the first half of yesterday’s game due to a thigh injury, might be absent in next week’s clash.
The 20 years old Spanish central midfielder who plays as Barca’s playmaker, will give Xavi a trouble to send his best formation to Manchester a few days after.
The UEL play-off round involved eight teams who finished as second place in the group stage before, to fight against another eight who were third place in the Champions League group stage, to grab the eight tickets into the Europa League round of 16.
Roma Lose, Juventus Draw
In the other matches of the UEL play-off first leg, RB Salzburg beat AS Roma 1-0 at home with the deciding goal from Nicolas Capaldo in the late 88th minute.
The guest team’s head coach Jose Mourhino said his squad has a bright chance to perform a comeback in the second meeting at Italy next week.
Another Italian famous club, Juventus could only draw 1-1 against Nantes from France at home.
Le Zebre, who lost their opportunity to compete for the Serie A title this season after they were deducted 15 points for capital gain violations, are desperate to win the European event.
AS Monaco who are now in third place of the French Ligue 1, defeated German club Bayer Leverkusen 3-2 in the away game.
Sevilla, the six times Europa League winner, easily beat PSV Eindhoven from Netherlands 3-0, one step ahead to their seventh tournament title.
Ajax drew against Union Berlin in a goalless match.
Shakhtar Donetsk sent Rennes home with a 2-1 victory.
Sporting CP tied with FC Midtjylland 1-1 at Lisbon.
All eight matches of the UEL play-off second leg will be played on 23rd February.
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