11th April, 2019
It will not be a surprise if someone finds out that Luke Shaw did not sleep well last night as it was his own goal that gifted a relaxed Barcelona a 1-0 win over Manchester United in their first leg encounter of this year’s Champions’ League quarter-final encounter played at the Old Trafford.
That goal was the difference as Barcelona took a big step towards their first Champions League semi-final in four years as they claimed a slim 1-0 win away to Manchester United despite a thoroughly underwhelming performance.
It was an unusual Barca display as they were far from their best, with Lionel Messi uncharacteristically quiet, though United failed to make the most of their periods of superiority and now need to win at Camp Nou if they are to progress any further in the competition.
A business-like start produced the only goal of the match for Barcelona as an unfortunate Luke Shaw deflected a Luis Suarez header into his own net, though United looked bright for the remainder of the first half.
After the interval, Manchester United struggled to create meaningful chances but just could not covert any as Barcelona successfully held on to a crucial away win.
It was a bright start for the visitors took the early initiative and led in the 12th minute – Messi picking out Suarez at the back post and his header glanced off Shaw and strolled into the net.
The hosts improved as the half went on, though David de Gea had to be alert with 36 minutes on the clock, using his left foot to keep out Philippe Coutinho’s effort.
And then minutes later, Diogo Dalot should have given United a deserved equaliser soon after, meeting Marcus Rashford’s deep cross and inexplicably putting a header across goal rather than towards it.
ManU continued to look the better side after the break and wasted another chance early on – Rashford’s close-range volley skewed horribly wide.
Barcelona remained a threat, though, as Suarez shot into the side-netting after excellent play by Nelson Semedo, before Jordi Alba tested De Gea at his near post.
The visitors were not made to pay for those misses, however, with United’s poor service failing to improve.
“Mountains are there to be climbed,” as Solskjaer said after losing 2-0 to Paris Saint-Germain at Old Trafford in the last 16. His team pulled off something resembling a miracle in the second leg to knock out the French champions, and they will have to do similar at Camp Nou.