Erik ten Hag speaks to BT Sport with a mixture of pride and irritation. “We dictated the game … apart from 15 minutes of the first half, when we had some difficulties, we dictated the game … we outplayed them … so many chances … so I was disappointed at half-time that it was 0-0, we should have scored … it was a great game … two attacking teams … it was really Champions League and even more than that … I really enjoyed the game … in the end it’s 2-2 and we have to finish it at Old Trafford … we have a lot of character and determination in this team … we turned it around when we were down … the referee had a big influence in this game … it was a clear foul on Rashy … it was a red card because he was one on one with the keeper … it’s a big influence not only on this game, but in this round … a referee cannot make this mistake … Rashford is in great form, but the whole team did well … it was a really good team performance … we had a lot of variation and a lot of opportunities … we should have won this game … if the game [at Old Trafford] is like this, I can imagine everyone will want to see this game!”


That was magnificent entertainment. Erik ten Hag looks reasonably content, even if his team couldn’t hold on for what would have been Manchester United’s first-ever win against Barcelona at Camp Nou. Xavi isn’t too happy, though. He’s right up in the referee’s grille, presumably having his say about Fred’s late handball which possibly should have led to a penalty. Fred did move his arm, which wasn’t close to his body, though close proximity may have saved the day. You could argue it both ways, as folk will presumably do, politely and respectfully, on the internet. But in truth neither team deserved to lose. Both contributed to a rip-roaring match that was entertaining enough during a goalless first half, but really took off when the nets started bulging with satisfying regularity. Maybe some imperfections on display by both sides will annoy the purists, but never mind them. That was fun with a capital Eff, and here’s to another cracker next week at Old Trafford. Nobody will want to miss that … and good luck predicting the outcome!


“Beating Barca at the Nou Camp in Europe ain’t as easy as some teams make it look.” Simon McMahon there, writing “with tear-stained fingers, channelling the spirit of Jim McLean.” Any old excuse to bung this superb piece up again!

Related: The forgotten story of … Dundee United’s glory years under Jim McLean | Daniel Harris

FULL TIME: Barcelona 2-2 Manchester United


What a game that was!

Raphinha scored late on to deny Manchester United the away win in a fantastic game at Camp Nou. Photograph: Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Raphinha scored late on to deny Manchester United the away win in a fantastic game at Camp Nou. Photograph: Quality Sport Images/Getty Images© Provided by The Guardian


86 min: No penalty, says VAR. United may have got away with one there, because Fred’s arm wasn’t by the side of his body. But now there’s a free kick to defend.


85 min: Fati likes the look of it. He shapes to shoot, but dinks it into the mixer instead. Some head tennis. Barcelona claim a penalty Roberto glances the ball onto Fred’s arm. This will be checked by VAR.


87 min: The free kick’s hoicked into the mixer. Casemiro, disoriented, crashes the ball off the left-hand post! United hack clear. The ball’s returned. Fati creams a shot goalwards from ten yards only for De Gea to sensationally block! How have United kept Barca out there?!

It’s a dramatic end to the game as De Gea saves. Photograph: Robbie Jay Barratt/AMA/Getty Images

It’s a dramatic end to the game as De Gea saves. Photograph: Robbie Jay Barratt/AMA/Getty Images© Provided by The Guardian


90 min +4: Gavi crosses deep from the left. Araujo competes at the far stick. His presence forces United into the concession of another corner, one the visitors hoick clear without too much fuss. That should be that.


90 min +3: Fati drifts in from the left and takes a shot. Deflected wide left for a corner. United clear it. Garnacho can’t control a long ball. Had he managed to do so, he’d have torn clear.


90 min +1: Kounde tries to release Torres down the right but overcooks the pass and it’s a goal kick.


90 min: Casemiro tees up Rashford, 25 yards out. Rashford tries to thread a shot into the bottom left but doesn’t catch it and it’s an easy claim for Ter Stegen. There will be four added minutes. Can there not be 44? Please? This is so much fun.


89 min: Fernandes spurns a chance to release Rashford. Malacia dribbles down the left and nearly makes it into the box. Neither side are settling for the draw!

GOAL! Barcelona 2-2 Manchester United (Raphinha 76)


Barcelona were beginning to look impotent. But United offer them a gift. Shaw plays out loosely from the back. Casemiro tries to help only to clank the ball straight to Kounde, who finds Raphinha on the right. Raphinha whips in low. Lewandowski looks to flick towards the bottom left. He doesn’t make contact but the ball flies straight in anyway! The hosts level! Out of nothing!

Raphinha levels it for Barcelona! Photograph: Robbie Jay Barratt/AMA/Getty Images

Raphinha levels it for Barcelona! Photograph: Robbie Jay Barratt/AMA/Getty Images© Provided by The Guardian


84 min: Gavi busies himself along the inside-left channel and is upended by Casemiro, who’s on a booking and wants to watch himself. Just a free kick.


83 min: Ferran Torres, formerly of Manchester City, comes on for Raphinha. A surprising sub, given Raphinha’s just scored and has played well. He’s not happy as he stomps into the dugout.


82 min: Sancho is replaced by Garnacho.


81 min: … Fati looks for the top-right corner only to curl high and wide.


80 min: Good luck predicting how this is going to end. Rashford is sent into the Barca box down the right. He’s got time and space but slashes wide right. Ter Stegen launches long. Shaw heads weakly back towards De Gea. Raphinha nips in and attempts to loop a header over the keeper, who gets a fingertip to limit the damage to a corner kick. And from that …


78 min: What an impact Casemiro’s made, huh. He’s been magnificent tonight, but that was a costly mistake all right.


74 min: Lewandowski nearly releases Gavi down the left with a delicate flick. But with Gavi about to burst into the box, Casemiro comes across to take control of the situation, stepping in to spirit the ball away. What an impact he’s made.


61 min: That’s stunned the Camp Nou. United are up for more, as well. Fred sends Rashford away down the left. The ball’s worked to Wan-Bissaka on the right. He shoots. The ball’s deflected wide right for another corner.

Marcus Rashford celebrates the second Manchester United goal. Photograph: David Ramos/Getty Images

Marcus Rashford celebrates the second Manchester United goal. Photograph: David Ramos/Getty Images© Provided by The Guardian


73 min: Fred bombs down the middle. He’s got Rashford and Weghorst waiting to be sprung clear, but can’t make the pass because Gavi takes one for the team by taking a handful of his opponent’s shirt. Into the book he goes.


72 min: Raphinha nutmegs Malacia and is shoved in the chest for his trouble. Malacia goes into the book.


70 min: Roberto lands on Weghorst’s ankle, studs up. The director doesn’t care to show the challenge in detail, suffice to say Roberto is fortunate that Weghorst didn’t make a big deal of the challenge. It didn’t look great. Happily nobody’s hurt.


69 min: Fred glides in from the right. He has options but drags a dismal shot wide instead.


68 min: Finally, the free kick. Lewandowski sends a poor effort over the bar. “Your mention of Marcos Alonso’s dad playing in the 1980s had me diving for a metaphorical reference book and, sure enough, Marcos Alonso Snr. was in the Barca team done over 3-0 at OT on March 21st 1984,” writes Adam Roberts, giving me another excuse to trail this …


67 min: Barca make a triple change. On come Fati, Christensen and Balde for Alonso, Alba and Kessie.


66 min: Gavi goes up the other end and draws a foul from Fred. A free kick just outside the United box. Before it can be taken, the referee books Casemiro and Erik ten Hag for arguing the toss re the penalty that wasn’t..

GOAL! Barcelona 1-2 Manchester United (Kounde og 59)


United go up the other end and win a corner of their own. Shaw plays it short to Rashford, who dribbles along the byline before firing low through the six-yard box. Fernandes backflicks, six yards out, shades of Lee Sharpe all those years ago at Old Trafford. The ball pings off Kounde’s chest at the far stick and into the net. What a turnaround!

Jules Kounde scores an own goal! Photograph: Robbie Jay Barratt/AMA/Getty Images

Jules Kounde scores an own goal! Photograph: Robbie Jay Barratt/AMA/Getty Images© Provided by The Guardian


64 min: Rashford tears after a long pass down the right. He enters the box and comes off second best in a barge with Kounde. He wants a penalty, but he’s not getting it. He possibly should have, though. There was contact. Was it in the box? Maybe, maybe not. One for VAR. But they’re not even getting a free kick.


62 min: Barca deal with the set piece easily enough. But they’re struggling to hold onto the ball up the other end. United are suddenly swanning around one of the great cathedrals in world football with some pomp. To think they couldn’t beat Young Boys home or away last season! That seems an awfully long time ago now.


58 min: Barca help United out by over-complicating the corner, playing it short and fannying about.


57 min: A free kick for Barca out on the left. Raphinha and De Jong stand over it. The former curls it long, forcing Weghorst to head out for a corner on the right. United will hope to defend this one a bit better.

GOAL! Barcelona 1-1 Manchester United (Rashford 52)


What a response by United! Fred creams a pass down the inside-right channel for Rashford to chase. Rashford has no right to score, but he takes a touch to stride away from Alonso, before firing a forensic shot past Ter Stegen at his near post!

Marcus Rashford levels for United! Photograph: David Ramos/Getty Images

Marcus Rashford levels for United! Photograph: David Ramos/Getty Images© Provided by The Guardian


55 min: This game has really opened up now. Rashford nearly gets in for a second in short order, only to be blocked by Alonso. Then Barca counter, Lewandowski challenging for a long pass that breaks to Raphinha, who sends a screamer towards the top left. Somehow, De Gea doesn’t just save the shot, but plucks it out of the air and catches! This is great fun.

GOAL! Barcelona 1-0 Manchester United (Alonso 50)


Barca go up the other end and win a corner down the right. It’s swung long. Alonso rises above a static Fred at the far post, and heads downwards. The ball bounces up into the top left. Easy as that!

Marcos Alonso scores for Barcelona! Photograph: Nacho Doce/Reuters

Marcos Alonso scores for Barcelona! Photograph: Nacho Doce/Reuters© Provided by The Guardian


54 min: Ter Stegen won’t be happy at being beaten at his near post. But what power Rashford put behind that shot. Clinical as you like!


51 min: Alonso struggles to hold back the tears. His father Marcos – who also played for Barcelona, back in the 1980s – passed away last week. There’s a fine tribute to his dad.


47 min: Araujo strides down the right only for his cross to be half-cleared by Shaw. The ball breaks to Raphinha, who pearls a first-time riser towards the top left. The ball drifts inches wide of the post. De Gea probably had that covered … but it was close and you wouldn’t put the whole mortgage on it.

Raphinha shoots just wide. Photograph: Robbie Jay Barratt/AMA/Getty Images

Raphinha shoots just wide. Photograph: Robbie Jay Barratt/AMA/Getty Images© Provided by The Guardian


48 min: Wan-Bissaka works his way down the right and whistles a low cross through the six-yard box. Weghorst backheels to confuse Arajuo, and suddenly Sancho is free on the left-hand corner of the six-yard box. He slashes wide. And it’s a costly miss, because …


46 min: Raphinha makes good down the right and curls long, looking for Lewandowski at the far stick. Lewandowski is eased out of it by Varane, then clatters into Wan-Bissaka to concede a foul.


Barcelona get the second half started. No changes. “Maybe it’s not kits that are a reason for booing but rather two ex-Real Madrid players in the Man United starting line-up,” writes Admir Pajic, who may have a point. “Two-and-half, if you count De Gea’s almost transfer to Madrid.”

HALF TIME: Barcelona 0-0 Manchester United


Nothing much happens during added time, and it’s all square after the first quarter of this tie. United have been the better side and should be leading, but Wout Weghorst shot straight at Marc-Andre ter Stegen when clean through. They’ll be the happier team, nonetheless.


45 min: Alba sweeps a low cross in from the left. Lewandowski prepares to swivel and shoot first time from 12 yards, only for the presence of Shaw to put him off. Goal kick. There will be two added first-half minutes.


42 min: Pedri goes down holding his left leg. He can’t continue. He’s replaced by Sergi Roberto.

Game over for Pedri. Photograph: David Ramos/Getty Images

Game over for Pedri. Photograph: David Ramos/Getty Images© Provided by The Guardian


44 min: Roberto’s first act is to skitter into space down the right, only to fail to find a team-mate with his low cross. A shame for Barca that their sub wasn’t quite up to speed yet, because United were tugged out of shape there.


43 min: Varane goes into the book after being spun by, then clipping, Gavi.


40 min: Raphinha dribbles hard down the right but can’t get the better of Malacia. More irritated whistles. United are doing a fine job in frustrating the home fans.


39 min: Barca’s corner on the left leads to another on the right. Neither cause United any significant problem. Anyway, the ITN News at 545 (see preamble). “That’s certainly an odd time for a TV news program to start, but I think Iceland’s Stöð 2 had the oddest in the 80s and 90s,” reports Kári Tulinius. “Their main news program started at nineteen minutes past seven in the evening, or 19:19.”


34 min: The in-form Rashford sashays in from the left and manufactures a no-backlift curler that nearly squeaks into the top right. Ter Stegen extends an arm to save brilliantly. That’s great football all round, and United are proper knocking on the door here.

Marcus Rashford with another chance for the visitors. Photograph: Álex Caparrós/Getty Images

Marcus Rashford with another chance for the visitors. Photograph: Álex Caparrós/Getty Images© Provided by The Guardian


37 min: Wan-Bissaka dozes on the edge of his own box and allows Alba to steal the ball and break into the United box down the left. Alba shoots from a tight angle, only to be denied by a combination of De Gea and Wan-Bissaka’s recovering tackle. Alba wants a penalty but he’s not getting it. Just a corner.


35 min: Fernandes stomps down the right and cuts back for Rashford, who is denied a shooting opportunity by Araujo. The flag then pops up late for offside.


28 min: … Barca half-clear, only for the ball to be returned down the middle via Fernandes’ gorgeous pass. Weghorst is clear! He batters his shot straight at Ter Stegen, who had made himself big but should never have been allowed to make the save. A huge miss.

Wout Weghorst should have buried that. Huge chance for United. Photograph: Albert Gea/Reuters

Wout Weghorst should have buried that. Huge chance for United. Photograph: Albert Gea/Reuters© Provided by The Guardian


33 min: From the corner, Casemiro heads over. United come again, Sancho and Fred nearly combining cutely down the left. Not quite. The visitors look the more likely at the minute.


32 min: Now De Jong is penalised for clipping Fernandes to the floor. More whistles. More home irritation. United are getting under Barcelona’s skin. Shaw wedges the free kick down the inside-right channel and nearly releases Rashford, who can’t get a shot away but does earn a corner.


30 min: Alba wins a corner off Sancho down the left. United are awarded a goal kick. Alba is furious, and is booked for dissent. Ear-splitting whistles ping off the walls of Camp Nou.


13 min: Alonso has that look in his eye. He fancies this. He places the ball carefully and … wafts dismally over the bar. That’s a poor effort.

Marcos Alonso fires over from the free kick. Photograph: Alejandro García/EPA

Marcos Alonso fires over from the free kick. Photograph: Alejandro García/EPA© Provided by The Guardian


29 min: Kounde skittles Fred down the left. Fernandes curls the free kick into the mixer. Casemiro eyebrows it goalwards from ten yards. Ter Stegen gathers at the second opportunity. This is a great response by Manchester United to that earlier period of Barca pressure.


27 min: Wan-Bissaka reaches the byline down the right and cuts back for Sancho. The ball deflects off Alba and nearly dribbles into the bottom left. Just wide. Corner. From which …


25 min: A long pass down the left flank for Alba, who earns a corner off Varane. De Gea punches the set piece clear. De Jong returns the ball in the hope of releasing Lewandowski down the middle, but Varane shepherds the ball back through to his keeper.


20 min: BREAKING NEWS: Bruno Fernandes is moaning about something to the referee. Not sure what. It could be anything, couldn’t it.

Bruno Fernandes; The quiet man of Carrington. Photograph: Robbie Jay Barratt/AMA/Getty Images

Bruno Fernandes; The quiet man of Carrington. Photograph: Robbie Jay Barratt/AMA/Getty Images© Provided by The Guardian


23 min: Fernandes has a nibble at Gavi’s heel on the halfway line. Gavi responds by shoving him in the back as he passes. The referee wags his finger a bit.


22 min: Kounde clanks a dismal backpass towards Ter Stegen. The keeper can’t stop the ball going out for a corner on the left. Shaw swings it in. Kounde makes up for his earlier mistake by bashing a header clear. “Seen so many mockups of Kounde in a Chelsea kit over the last few seasons I can almost remember him and Alonso striking up a formidable partnership in West London,” quips Ciarán Brennan.


19 min: Up the other end, Shaw and Varane conspire to give the ball away, allowing Gavi to dink a pass down the inside-left channel to find Pedri in the United box. Pedri takes a touch, spins and volleys over the bar in one smooth Le Tissieresque motion.


18 min: Fernandes crosses from the right and nearly finds Rashford down the middle. Kounde telescopes a leg in mid-air to spectacularly divert the ball away from danger. Great play all round.


17 min: United sit deep and hold their shape, waiting for the opportunity to counter. Fred has half a chance to spring Fernandes clear down the right, but slams his pass straight at Alba.


15 min: Some silky stuff from Raphinha down the right. He then sprays wide left for Alba, who can’t get the better of Wan-Bissaka. But the home side are beginning to dominate possession and territory now.


8 min: … and yet it’s Barca who nearly take the lead, Lewandowski powering into the United box down the left and slamming a shot goalwards from a tight angle. De Gea saves well with a strong hand.

Robert Lewandowski has the first real effort of the match, saved by De Gea. Photograph: Albert Gea/Reuters

Robert Lewandowski has the first real effort of the match, saved by De Gea. Photograph: Albert Gea/Reuters© Provided by The Guardian


5 min: Raphinha takes on Sancho and Weghorst down the right and wins the race. But he also clumsily runs the ball out for a goal kick. For a nanosecond, things opened up for Barca there.

Raphinha skips past Wout Weghorst. Photograph: Josep Lago/AFP/Getty Images

Raphinha skips past Wout Weghorst. Photograph: Josep Lago/AFP/Getty Images© Provided by The Guardian


12 min: Barca press United back. Alba bustles down the left but can’t get a shot away. Lewandowski attempts to spin Varane on the penalty spot. Finally Fred yanks Gavi to the floor just in front of the D. Free kick in a very dangerous position.


10 min: Pedri makes a nuisance of himself on the edge of the United box. The ball breaks to Araujo, who blooters wildly over the crossbar. Both teams look in the mood to put on a show.


7 min: Rashford dribbles down the left and slips in Fernandes, who can’t get a shot away from the edge of the six-yard box. Kounde stands firm as Malacia tries, only to be also denied. United come again, Shaw swinging in from the left, looking for Weghorst. Barca clear their lines. Positive start by United, this.


Before kick off, there’s a moment of poignant reflection in memory of the victims of the dreadful earthquake that recently hit Turkey and Syria. Perfectly observed. Then, accompanied by a roar of relief, United get the match started.

Players, match officials and fans observe a minute of silence for the victims of the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.

Players, match officials and fans observe a minute of silence for the victims of the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.© Provided by The Guardian


6 min: Sancho briefly threatens to make good ground down the left only to be denied by a no-nonsense crunching tackle by Araujo. A fair chance Casemiro enjoyed watching that, even if his man came off second best.


4 min: United attempt to pass out from the back and are met with a sonic boom of whistles. Perhaps it’s because they’re kitted out like Real Madrid.


2 min: Raphinha worms his way down the right but his low cross finds nobody in the middle. A fast and open start, all right.


20 sec: A bright start for United, as Fernandes gains a yard down the right and whistles a tempting ball through the Barca six-yard box. Fred slides in but can’t connect. Longer toenails and United would be ahead.


The teams are out! Barcelona wear their blue and red, forcing United into second-choice white and black. A crowd of 90,000, give or take, look on and cheer. Big game coming up, as two of football’s giants battle for a place in the Europa League round of 16. “Spare a thought for all the Barcelona players who thought they were done with facing Casemiro,” writes Joe Pearson. “Poor guys.” We’ll be off in a minute.


Pre-match postbag. “Is it just me or does Lewandowski look weird in a Barcelona shirt? He doesn’t look like one of the world’s best strikers, he looks like the host of a TV talent show during a charity football event. Probably doesn’t help that this season’s rendition of the Barcelona shirt looks like it was designed by a ten year old, most of whose felt tips have run dry. Anyway I’ll get in touch if I have any more important musings” – Nathan Fisher

Robert Lewandowski playing for Barcelona. Unsettling, a bit like Graeme Souness without the moustache. Photograph: Urbanandsport/NurPhoto/Shutterstock

Robert Lewandowski playing for Barcelona. Unsettling, a bit like Graeme Souness without the moustache. Photograph: Urbanandsport/NurPhoto/Shutterstock© Provided by The Guardian

“The fact that I was relieved to see Luke Shaw’s name on the team sheet (as a CB) speaks volumes for this guy. He has progressed massively this season and is in no way a fill in in that position” – Neil Carter

“It’s a classic match-up, spiced up even more thanks to the double-take Brazilian clash of Raphael Raphinha and Frederico Fred. Also, BAR-MAN could well the most popular fixture among bartenders” – Peter Oh


Speaking of the history between these two world-famous institutions, here’s our old pal and all-round class act Rob Smyth with an extremely relevant Joy of Six …

Related: The Joy of Six: Barcelona v Manchester United

… and here’s the great man again, taking a deeper dive into that time Bryan Robson outshone Diego Maradona at Old Trafford. Enjoy, enjoy! You’ll read nothing finer.


United go into this match on the back of four consecutive losses against Barca, a sequence that stretches back to the 2009 Champions League final, which the Catalans won 2-0. That was followed by the 2011 final, Barca winning 3-1, and then 1-0 and 3-0 Barca victories in the 2018-19 quarters. United’s last victory against the Blaugrana came in the 2007-08 Champions League semis, when Paul Scholes lashed a pearler into the top right from distance at Old Trafford en route to Big Ears number three.

If that state of affairs isn’t daunting enough for United, there’s also this small matter: Barcelona have never lost at Camp Nou to them. They’ve kept clean sheets in four of those five matches, the exception being the famous 3-3 draw in the 1998-99 Champions League groups, and I won’t insult your intelligence by reminding you how that particular campaign panned out for Alex Ferguson’s side.

But here’s some good news for those United fans who need history as a crutch: Barcelona have yet to win a Europa League game at home, drawing two and losing one. They’ve also won just two of their last 11 home matches in European competition, conceding at least three goals in six of those matches. Succour for everyone!


Erik ten Hag speaks to BT Sport. “You don’t have any influence on the draw, it’s what you get you have to beat, and that’s why we’re here … Casemiro has a really strong effect on our game … composure, positioning, coaching … everyone is more confident when he’s on the pitch … we have a strong counter, but we need to bring Barca out of their comfort zone, so we will press them high when possible … we have players who are capable to play so we will play … we have to go forward … there is a line of a lot of Dutch players and managers with Barcelona, I am aware of it, but I am here for Man United and I want to win, and win in a Man United way.”


United make three changes to their starting XI in the wake of last Sunday’s 2-0 Premier League win at Leeds. Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Raphael Varane and Casemiro replace Diogo Dalot and Harry Maguire, who drop to the bench, and Marcel Sabitzer, who is suspended from European competition after three yellow cards in the Champions League group stages with Bayern Munich. Lisandro Martinez is also serving a one-match European suspension.

Barcelona, who beat Villarreal 1-0 in their last La Liga game, make two changes to the starting XI named for that match. Marcos Alonso and Jordi Alba replace Andreas Christensen and Alejandro Balde, who both drop to the bench.

The teams


Barcelona: Ter Stegen, Kounde, Araújo, Alonso, Alba, Pedri, De Jong, Kessie, Raphinha, Lewandowski, Gavi.

Subs: Peña, Tenas, Fati, Torres, Christensen, Roberto, García, Balde, Casado, Torre, Alarcon.

Manchester United: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Shaw, Malacia, Casemiro, Fred, Sancho, Fernandes, Rashford, Weghorst.

Subs: Heaton, Butland, Lindelöf, Maguire, Dalot, Pellistri, Elanga, Garnacho, Iqbal, Mainoo.

Referee: Maurizio Mariani (Italy).