Barcelona 2-2 Man United: United Earn Thrilling First Leg Draw At The Nou Camp

A Camp Nou classic saw Barcelona and Manchester United draw 2-2 in the first leg of the Europa League round of 32.

A thrilling encounter saw Marcos Alonso score the opener, with Marcus Rashford levelling the game, before a Jules Kounde own goal put United ahead, but for Raphinha to tie up the game from a long distance strike.

As a result, the game will now be decided at Old Trafford with all to play for after an end to end draw.

Crucially, just before half time, Barcelona midfielder Pedri was forced off with an injury. Subsequently, the Spaniard is now a doubt for the second leg. Similarly, youngser Gavi will miss the game at Old Trafford after picking up another yellow card meaning he serves a one match suspension.

Past results

Manchester United vs Barcelona fixtures are always intense affairs. The Pep Guardiola vs Sir Alex Ferguson in the 2009 and 2011 Champions League finals defined the quality of these matchups.

These two sides have faced each other just 13 times. Their first encounter was back in 1984, with the most recent in 2019. In these games, United have won three, drawn four and lost six. After years of success under Ferguson, a negative record against the Spanish team just illustrates the magnitude of the Catalonia side.

In recent seasons, both sides had undergone a rebuild. Thus, a favourite for this game wasn’t as certain as in previous decades, but with Barcelona six points clear at the top of La Liga, the Spanish side may have had the edge in expectations for the win.



  • Marc-Andre ter Stegen
  • Ronald Araujo
  • Jules Kounde
  • Marcos Alonso
  • Jordi Alba
  • Pedri
  • Franck Kessie
  • Frenkie De Jong
  • Raphinha
  • Robert Lewandowski
  • Gavi

Manchester United:

  • David de Gea
  • Aaron Wan-Bissaka
  • Raphael Varane
  • Luke Shaw
  • Tyrell Malacia
  • Casemiro
  • Fred
  • Wout Weghorst
  • Bruno Fernandes
  • Jadon Sancho
  • Marcus Rashford

Talking points

The selection of Luke Shaw in centre defence was a bold pick by Manchester United manager Erik Ten Hag. With the suspension of Lisandro Martinez, the Dutch coach chose to opt with the English international rather than using a natural centre defender like Victor Lindelöf or Harry Maguire.

The return of Casemiro is a huge boost to the Red Devil’s who struggle considerably without the five time Champions League winner.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s selection could be an indication from Ten Hag that he wants to hold down the Barca left flank. The English fullback is better suited to this then Portuguese rightback Diogo Dalot. Thus, Ten Hag choosing Wan Bissaka doesn’t come as a surprise.

Key events

United started the game brightly, looking to attack Barcelona.

Within the first 15 seconds, Bruno Fernandes found himself out in space off the right flank whipping in a dangerous cross but Fred was unable to get on the end of it.

The first big chance of the game fell to Polish striker Robert Lewandowski, who picked the ball up on the edge of the box, able to force his way into the box, before unleashing a drilled shot towards David De Gea who was equal to it and parried it away.

After United’s fast start, Barca began dictating the game.

In the 13th minute, former Chelsea defender Alonso saw his whipped freekick rise over the wall, but over the crossbar as well.

Jordi Alba was a consistent problem for Ten Hag’s men who struggled to deal with the Spaniard’s energy off the left.

In the 27th minute, Jadon Sancho came close to opening the scoring after Wan-Bissaka charged down the right wing, easing past Gavi and cutting it back to the English winger who’s deflected shot just passed Ter Stegan’s far post.

A minute later, Wout Weghorst had a huge chance to put United ahead. Fernandes carved through Barcelona’s defence with a quick dink over the top which the Dutch striker ran onto. Weghorst fired at the German goalkeeper but was denied due to a quality save.

After resisting Barcelona’s early pressure, United began to show their quality.

In the 30th minute, Real Madrid legend Casemiro almost glanced United in front after meeting Fernandes whipped in delivery. However, the Brazilian’s header was weak and Ter Stegan could comfortably catch it.

Ter Stegan once again retained Barcelona’s clean sheet after acrobatically denying a powerful Rashford effort.

A Wan-Bissaka mistake let Alba sprint past the fullback to fire at De Gea. However, in trademark fashion, the English fullback got back and blocked Alba’s shot to make it an easier save for De Gea, who was able to push it behind for a corner.

The score remained 0-0 going into half time.

Just after half time, former Leeds winger Raphinha came inches off firing Barcelona ahead after he turned on the edge of the box and volleyed towards De Gea. However, his shot just whiskered past the far post.

However, three minutes later, the Brazilian winger whipped in a corner to the back post which was headed down past De Gea by Alonso.

This put Barcelona 1-0 up.

Two minutes later, Manchester United’s inform number 10 was slipped in behind by Fred. Rashford’s strike flew past Ter Stegan at the near post and levelled the game.

A seven minute turnaround!

United took their corner short. Rashford picked the ball up off the left and charged past Raphinha before drilling a cross into the box which Kounde could only clear into his own net.

This put United 2-1 up.

The visitors continued to probe with Wan-Bissaka hitting the side netting after being set up by Rashford.

In the 76th minute, when playing out the back, Casemiro made a rare mistake giving the ball away. As a result, Barca countered United. The ball was quickly spread to Raphinha who whipped in a delivery towards Lewandowski, but his cross was missed by everyone including De Gea, and nestled in the back of the net to level the game again.

Two minutes later, Frenkie De Jong misplaced a pass leaving Sancho slip in Rashford, who’s effort went comfortably wide.

In the 80th minute, Raphinha almost headed Barcelona ahead after meeting Ter Stegan’s long goal kick which Shaw could only deflect towards the Brazilian. The winger attempted to dink his effort over De Gea but the Spaniard comfortably caught his header.

Six minutes later, Casemiro almost scored a dramatic own goal after a penalty box scramble led to the Brazilian attempting to clear the ball. His awkward clearance deflected off the post and United cleared.

In the last few minutes of the game, Barcelona put the pressure on creating a couple half chances. However, the Spanish side were unable to find a winner.

Subsequently, the game ended 2-2.

Who deserved the victory?

After a thrilling game of football, both sides had chances to win the game. However, on the balance of play, United were the better team.

In the first half, Barcelona started off brightly but United grew into the game. Despite Barca scoring first, United instantly responded and continued to threaten after equalising.

Such pressure led to United finding a second and leading at the Camp Nou. After this, Barcelona’s equaliser came against the run of play with United controlling the game.

However, in the final minutes, the Spanish side looked more threatening.

Ultimately, United controlled larger parts of the game and thus if they avoided the costly mistake which equalised the game, United could have scored more.

Post Match Reaction


United next face Leicester at Old Trafford on Sunday before hosting the Spanish side on Thursday for the second leg.

Barcelona next face Cadiz at the Camp Nou before heading to Old Trafford for the second leg.