Below par Barca get one over Man United at Old Trafford

An uncomfortable-looking Barcelona held on for a narrow 1-0 win over Manchester United in their UEFA Champions League quarter-final, first leg match at Old Trafford on Wednesday night.

Luis Suarez’s header across the goal took a slight touch off Luke Shaw’s arm before slotting into the bottom right corner in the 13th minute for the only goal of the match, which came from one of the very few of Catalan team’s goal scoring chances.

Barca captain Lionel Messi tightly marked. Picture: FC Barcelona Twitter page. (@fcbarcelona)

Barca needed the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) to get the goal, after it was initially flagged by the linesman, following what looked like a offside on Phillippe Coutinho.

It was the first time that Barca managed to beat The Red Devils at Old Trafford in the Champions League, having lost two and drawn two other games in the previous four.

United deserved a bit more than a home loss for the manner in which they managed to contain the Spaniards for the large part of the match, thwarting their famous short passing in the middle of the park through quick pressing. They, in fact, enjoyed more of the possession at certain stages, although not many of their passages of play resulted in clear-cut goal scoring chances.

Barcelona, who had the returning Ousmane Dembele as an unused substitute on the bench, created even less chances, with Coutinho’s low shot from inside the box – which David de Gea stopped with his left foot – being the only other, apart from that which resulted in the goal, in the first half. The second half was very much similar to the first for them, with their only realistic chance of scoring coming in the 65th minute when Suarez, put through on goal by a smart through ball from Nelson Semedo from the right hand side, somehow found the side net.

Barca looked more content with keeping the ball and ensuring that they don’t concede in the second half, which they managed to do with the help of poor shooting by United when they did create the chances. Marcus Rashford sliced the ball from inside the box when he had a fair amount of space to at least get it on target, in the 52nd minute.

The Catalans take the one-goal advantage back to the Camp Nou, with the second leg to be played next Tuesday.

  • In the night’s other quarter-final, first leg match, Ajax Amsterdam came from behind via a David Neres goal, just seconds into the second half, after Cristiano Ronaldo had scored in the first to help Juventus take the lead, as the teams played out to a 1-1 draw at the Johan Cruyff ArenA.