The fairytale ending didn’t materialize for Manchester United, as Lionel Messi and Barcelona thumped their visitors 3-0 on Tuesday at the Camp Nou to win the UEFA Champions League quarterfinal 4-0 on aggregate.
Messi scored twice and Philippe Coutinho also scored as Barca advanced to meet the winner of Liverpool and Porto.
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United controlled the ball off the opening kickoff, and Paul Pogba sent Marcus Rashford on goal only to see the young striker rip a shot over the cross bar.
United had the better of the early chances, but Ivan Rakitic’s charge for a loose ball saw him trip over the outstretched leg of Fred in the box. It wasn’t intentional, and the decision would go to VAR.
Barca went ahead minutes later, as Messi cut in from the right to swerve a sensational strike around the diving De Gea.
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And it was 2-0 before long, 3-0 on aggregate, as Messi’s low drive took a slight turn off Phil Jones but still seemed destined for De Gea’s arms only to squirt underneath the United keeper.
De Gea made a face save before halftime to deny Sergi Roberto and Messi in their bid to ice the contest.
Coutinho put it to bed with just under a half-hour to play, and Liverpool fans have seen this a time or two.
Manchester United are nearing a return to full(er) strength after yet another lengthy injury crisis, but the majority of those closest to seeing the field are still likely to miss out on Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League quarterfinal first leg against Barcelona.
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Chief among them is Marcus Rashford, who happens to be closest to returning to game action. Man United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer revealed on Tuesday that Rashford participated in a portion of first-team training 24 hours before the clash at Old Trafford, but the 21-year-old sounds a 50-50 doubt at best — quotes from the BBC:
“Hopefully he will be ready. He needed extra warm-up and hopefully he won’t get a reaction. He joined part of (training) at the end, but he couldn’t join the fun part of training.”
Meanwhile, Nemanja Matic is a long shot to feature after he was an unused substitute during the defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers and was then unable to train now a week later.
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Ander Herrera is “probably out,” according to Solskjaer, while Alexis Sanchez has been officially ruled out of consideration to face his former club on Wednesday.
On a somewhat positive note, full backs Luke Shaw (two games) and Ashley Young (one game) will be available once again despite being suspended from domestic competition.
- Shaw with delightful assist (video)
- Rashford, Martial score
- United back into Top Four
- Watford drops into ninth
Manchester United scored twice to give Ole Gunnar Solskjaer a win in his debut as full-time manager, as the Red Devils beat Watford 2-1 at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial scored United’s goals, while Abdoulaye Doucoure netted a late concession for the Hornets.
United has 61 points, and sits fourth before Spurs, Arsenal, and Chelsea play their matches. Watford drops ninth with 43.
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Rashford opened the scoring, but give Luke Shaw a lot of the credit for the counter attacking goal. The English left back led the charge and swept an improbable pass through two defenders and around another for Rashford’s finish.
Martial made it 2-0 and United looked to be cruising toward a win if not a blowout, but Doucoure capped off a sublime combination play to get the game within one on the outskirts of stoppage time.
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Manchester United used the counter attack to put up the first goal against Watford on Saturday at Old Trafford.
Luke Shaw‘s fine rejuvenation continued with a long dribble up the left of the pitch, and what he did with his assist to Marcus Rashford was simply outstanding.
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Shaw cut a cross between two defenders that swept around a third to meet Rashford’s sprint into the heart of the Watford final third.
The 21-year-old did not miss his chance to put the Red Devils ahead, popping the ball over Ben Foster and into the yawning cage.
With a manager he loves in charge of his childhood club, Marcus Rashford is ready to commit to Manchester United for the long haul.
Rashford is entering the final year of his contract this summer, though United holds an option for the 2020-21 season.
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Sky Sports is reporting that United’s decision to hire manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on a full-time basis only further endeared the club to its 21-year-old English striker.
Plus, let’s face it: The raise in salary is going to be very nice.
The report says that United and Rashford had been having fine dialogue anyway, but the “ball is United’s court” regarding the striker’s wishes. Rashford has been with the Red Devils since joining their academy in 2005.
Rashford has been linked with Barcelona and Real Madrid, having scored 12 goals with nine assists for United across all competitions this season. He’s also scored six times in 31 caps for England.