A thrilling 2-2 draw between Barcelona and Manchester United on Thursday in the Europa League knockout round surpassed anything witnessed in the Champions League this week.
During the back-and-forth second half of their first-leg match at Camp Nou, the former European champions exchanged leads.
Defender Marcos Alonso’s header from a corner gave Barcelona the lead in the 50th minute. Raphinha’s right-wing cross from the 76th minute, which curled into the net untouched, brought the score even. Robert Lewandowski’s failed attempt to connect distracted United’s defence.
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Between those two goals, Marcus Rashford demonstrated why Barcelona coach Xavi Hernández called him one of Europe’s most dangerous forwards.
Rashford scored United’s tying goal seven minutes later after beating goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen at his near post with a shot from a tight angle in the 53rd minute.
Rashford received the ball at the touchline after a short corner was taken, dribbled into the penalty area, then fired a low cross that Bruno Fernandes flicked on and bounced up to ricochet off Jules Koundé for an own goal.
Axel Disasi, the captain of Monaco, scored a long-range goal in stoppage time of a match between two former Champions League finalists to give his team a 3-2 victory at Bayer Leverkusen.
After taking the lead in the 13th on a goal from Duan Vlahovi, Nantes held Juventus to a 1-1 draw. In the fifth minute of stoppage time, Juventus appeared to be in line for a penalty after Nantes committed a handball. As a result of Bremer of Juventus fouling Nantes, a free kick was given to Nantes by Portuguese referee Joo Pinheiro after a two-minute review and pitchside screen consultation.
During the midwinter break for the Ukrainian league, Shakhtar Donetsk played its first competitive match of 2023, defeating Rennes 2-1 in a “home” match played in a neutral Warsaw.
Dmytro Kryskiv, who took Mykhailo Mudryk’s place on the left flank in Shakhtar’s first game following the star winger’s transfer to Chelsea, scored the game’s first goal in the 11th minute.
Sevilla, the record six-time champion, breezed to a 3-0 victory over PSV Eindhoven, and Nicolas Capaldo’s header gave Salzburg a 1-0 advantage over Roma the following week. When goalkeeper Philipp Köhn pushed Andrea Belotti’s header onto the crossbar, José Mourinho’s team came dangerously close to drawing even.
Union Berlin, the unexpected title contender in the Bundesliga, and Ajax drew 0-0 at home. Sebastian Coates’ goal in stoppage time gave Sporting Lisbon a 1-1 draw with Midtjylland.
EUROPA CONFERENCE LEAGUE
The most impressive performance in the Europa Conference League knockout playoffs was Fiorentina’s 4-0 demolition of host team Braga.
Both the substitute Arthur Cabral and the forward Luka Jovi scored twice, and Braga had defender Vitor Tormena dismissed for a late hit on Jovi.
Trabzonspor defeated Basel, Qaraba defeated Gent, Ludogorets defeated Anderlecht, and AEK Larnaca defeated Ukrainian team Dnipro-1 in five of the eight games.
Ciro Immobile scored a goal for Lazio against Cluj in the final seconds of the first half, following the dismissal of Lazio’s Patric. Lech Poznan and Bod/Glimt drew 0-0 in Norway. Sheriff fell to Partizan 1-0.