United ditch Barca into Europa Cup last-16
Manchester United edged out Barcelona to reach the Europa League last-16 on Thursday, where they were joined by fellow heavyweights Juventus and Roma.
After the first leg of their play-off ended 2-2 in Spain, United got the better of Barcelona at Old Trafford to progress 4-3 on aggregate with Antony securing the winner.
Robert Lewandowski’s early penalty had given Barca the perfect start but, La Liga leaders were again undone with the step up to the European stage as Fred levelled early in the second period.
Antony then delivered his biggest moment since arriving in Manchester from Ajax.
United are riding the crest of a wave in Erik ten Hag’s first season in charge as the Red Devils remain in the hunt for trophies on four fronts.
United could end a six-year wait for silverware, when they face Newcastle in the League Cup final on Sunday.
But they left nothing in reserve to secure their biggest European scalp since dumping Paris Saint-Germain out of the Champions League last-16 in dramatic fashion in 2019.
United are now unbeaten at Old Trafford in 18 games dating back to September.
“Very good to hear my name from the fans, but it was a good game we played today,” said Fred.
“We need to keep going. We have a final on Sunday, and now we have to change our mind to go to the final.”
Maria, scored a hat-trick as Juventus reached the next stage with a 3-0 second leg win over Nantes.
The result allowed the Italian giants to progress 4-1 on aggregate.
Argentine World Cup winner, Di Maria, opened the scoring after five minutes and then added a 20th-minute penalty.
Di Maria completed his hat-trick in the 78th minute, in a game where the French side had been reduced to 10 men, after just a quarter of an hour when Nicolas Pallois was red-carded for handball.
“After we were knocked out of the Champions League, some people might have thought the Europa League would be a walk in the park for Juventus, but it is not that simple,” said Juve coach,MassimilianoAllegri.
“This was an important match, but it was not perfect. We still have work to do. There were things I was not happy with this evening.” —AFP