Follow live updates as Manchester United welcome Barcelona to Old Trafford tonight for the second leg of their Europa League play-off.
The tie is brilliantly poised after a thrilling 2-2 draw at the Nou Camp last week. Marcus Rashford’s second-half goal quickly cancelled out Marcos Alonso’s opener for Barca, before United took the lead through a Jules Kounde own goal. But there was a further twist as Raphinha’s late equaliser gave Xavi’s team hope ahead of tonight’s reunion.
Barcelona will be without talented midfielders Pedri and Gavi following the first leg, while Manchester United’s Lisandro Martinez and Marcel Sabitzer are available having been suspended for the match in Spain.
But the heavyweight tie, which has the feel of a classic Champions League contest, is a huge moment in United’s season and should lead to a memorable night at Old Trafford ahead of Sunday’s Carabao Cup final against Newcastle.
Follow all the action as Manchester United take on Barcelona in the Europa League play-offs:
Man Utd host Barcelona in the Europa League play-off second leg
47’ GOAL! Fred equalises shortly after half time (MUN 1-1 BAR)
45’ CLOSE! Casemiro saves United with crucial challenge after De Gea error (MUN 0-1 BAR)
18’ GOAL! Lewandowski converts penalty to put visitors in front (MUN 0-1 BAR)
3’ CHANCE! Fernandes clear through but denied by Ter Stegen (MUN 0-0 BAR)
First leg ended in a 2-2 draw at the Nou Camp with winner of tonight’s match heading into last-16
Man Utd XI: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Martinez, Shaw, Fred, Casemiro, Sancho, Fernandes, Rashford, Weghorst (Antony)
Barcelona XI: Ter Stegen, Kounde, Araujo, Christensen, Balde, De Jong, Kessie, Busquets, Roberto, Raphinha, Lewandowski
Manchester United FC 1 - 1 FC Barcelona
21:11 , Michael Jones
54 mins: These long balls are working brilliantly for Man Utd. Christensen fails to properly clear the dropping pass and Rashford takes over.
He drives into the box from the right wing but runs into trouble and guides a half-hearted effort into the side netting.
21:09 , Michael Jones
51 mins: What a rapid start to the second half from Man Utd. The extra pace of Antony looks to have given the hosts an added dimension.
A reminder that if the game ends in a draw at 90 minutes then there will be extra-time and potentially penalties. The away goals rule is no longer in force in European competition.
21:08 , Michael Jones
49 mins: What a chance! A long ball comes up the pitch and Antony gets in behind Andreas Christensen. He storms into the box and looks for Rashford on the opposite side of the area.
Christensen recovers and lunges into a tackle that knocks the ball back onto Antony before flying out of play. Great defending.
21:06 , Michael Jones
47 mins: Just what Manchester United needed! Old Trafford goes crazy as United win the ball high up the pitch. Jadon Sancho sends it to Bruno Fernandes who squares the ball to Fred.
His first touch takes him into the box before a right footed strike beats Marc-Andre ter Stegen to level the match and the tie.
21:03 , Michael Jones
Erik ten Hag has made a change at the break. Wout Weghorst is off with Antony being brought on. Rashford should take the striker possession with Sancho pushed to the left and Fernandes playing as the 10. Will it work?
Barcelona get the ball rolling for the second half with the same personnel on the pitch.
21:00 , Michael Jones
There were a few errors and simple mistakes in that first half from Manchester United. They were thrown off after the penalty was awarded and need to get themselves back into the game.
They have tended to perform better in the second half of games this season so there should be a resurgence in the second half.
20:57 , Michael Jones
Robert Lewandowski has scored 25 goals in 30 appearances across all competitions for Barcelona this season, the 12th successive campaign in which he’s netted 25+ goals at club level.
20:53 , Michael Jones
Robert Lewandowski’s penalty is the only difference between the teams so far. Is there a way back into this one for Man Utd?
20:49 , Michael Jones
45+2 mins: The whistle goes for half-time at Old Trafford. Barcelona have control of the tie with a slender one-goal advantage. Erik ten Hag needs to make some changes.
That could be tactics or personnel but everything is too simple for the visitors. As it stands they’re knocking United out of Europe.
20:47 , Michael Jones
45 mins: Chance! Man Utd get away with one. David De Gea gives the ball away to Sergi Roberto who takes it to the edge of the six-yard box.
Casemiro comes flying in from the left and tackles him before the ball comes to Franck Kessie. He shoots but Casemiro recovers to block that effort too.
Wonderful stuff from the Brazilian.
20:41 , Michael Jones
42 mins: Erik ten Hag has some thinking to do at half-time. He needs to find a goal from somewhere and his tinkering in the first half hasn’t brought results.
Man Utd haven’t created much since Bruno Fernandes’ early shot.
20:40 , Michael Jones
39 mins: Chance! Barcelona have really taken the sting out of this match. They’re dominating the ball and picking their moments to get forward.
Raphinha has a dart inside from the right and blazes a shot over the crossbar!
20:36 , Michael Jones
35 mins: Close! That’s better from Manchester United. They maintain possession on the edge of Barcelona’s area, passing it from right to left and back again looking for the chance to shoot.
Jadon Sancho flicks the ball over to the right side of the box where Fred pops up and volleys a shot onto the roof of the goal.
20:33 , Michael Jones
32 mins: United work the ball across the pitch with Sancho laying it off to Martinez who passes it out to Rashford.
Rashford dinks the ball into the box with Wout Weghorst the desired target but the forward gives up the chase as it becomes evident that Ter Stegen will beat him to the ball.
20:30 , Michael Jones
29 mins: United have been a bit scatter brained since the penalty. Barcelona are doing a fine job of breaking up play and stopping the hosts from playing their own game.
Erik ten Hag’s men need some time in possession to get back up to speed in the match.
20:27 , Michael Jones
26 mins: Bruno Fernandes is brought down in the middle of the pitch and wins a free kick for Man Utd. Xavi isn’t happy about the decision and lets the officials know about it.
The referee comes over to the touchline and tells the Barcelona boss to calm down. Erik ten Hag isn’t exactly showing a calm and composed manner either.
20:23 , Michael Jones
23 mins: Oh Barcelona look good. They bring the ball down the right wing and slide it inside to Franck Kessie who plays a first time pass into the penalty are almost gets Robert Lewandowski in behind.
The bgi forward looks to control the ball but is put under pressure from Lisandro Martinez and goes down looking for another penalty.
He doesn’t get this one.
20:20 , Michael Jones
20 mins: Man Utd won’t be too worried. They managed to come from behind and earn a draw at the Nou Camp and they’ve started brightly here tonight.
The next goal could be a crucial one though.
20:19 , Michael Jones
18 mins: It’s in!
Robert Lewandowski stutters and shuffles during his run up before lifting the ball over to David De Gea’s left. The goalkeeper dives the correct way, gets his right hand to the ball but palms it onto the inside of the post and into the back of the net.
Barcelona take the lead at Old Trafford!
20:16 , Michael Jones
Man Utd 0-0 Barcelona (2-2 agg)
15 mins: Alejandro Balde controls the ball inside Man Utd’s penalty area and is seemingly dragged back by Bruno Fernandes. There’s plenty of contact there and the referee points straight to the spot.
This is a big call from the referee, VAR is taking a look but this one won’t be overturned.
20:15 , Michael Jones
14 mins: A short corner routine from Manchester United doesn’t quite work out but Barcelona are slow to work the ball away. United are pressing it short intense bursts and seem fairly compact whenever their opponents have possession.
20:14 , Michael Jones
12 mins: Barcelona win a free kick just outside the penalty area but Casemiro is on hand to work it away when the ball is curled in.
The visitors come at the United back line again with Franck Kessie weaving his way through the inside right channel. He slips a pass into the box for Sergi Roberto but Lisandro Martinez beats him to the ball and belts it away.
Roberto leaves a foot in and takes out the defender leaving the referee no choice but to award a free kick to the home team.
20:08 , Michael Jones
8 mins: Lovely defending from Alejandro Balde. Man Utd throw men up the pitch with Aaron Wan-Bissaka giving the ball to Bruno Fernandes on the right wing before getting forward on the overlap.
Fernandes tries to return the ball to him but Balde intercepts then shrugs off Fernandes’ recovering tackle before clearing his lines.
20:06 , Michael Jones
6 mins: As expected it’s been a rapid start. At the other end of the pitch Raphinha cuts inside onto his left foot and has a shot blocked. He scored Barcelona’s equaliser just like that in the first leg.
Marcus Rashford receives the ball and runs along the front edge of the box. Jules Kounde tries to hold him off before Sergio Busquets sticks a foot in and takes him down.
Manchester United want a free kick inside the ‘D’ but the referee lets play go on.
20:04 , Michael Jones
3 mins: Chance! There’s a mistake from Barcelona in midfield which allows Casemiro to come away with the ball. He curls a pass out to the right wide of the pitch where Bruno Fernandes collects the ball and drives into the box.
He’s only got the goalkeeper to beat and smashes a shot towards the far bottom corner but Marc-Andre ter Stegen is well place to keep it out with an outstretched right leg.
20:03 , Michael Jones
Manchester United get the match underway. This is a big one. Whoever wins will make it into the Europa League last-16, whoever lose will be out.
19:57 , Michael Jones
Here come the teams.
After the first leg theatrics, everyone is expecting this match to be a belter. Let’s hope it lives up to the hype. Manchester United vs Barcelona is up next.
19:50 , Michael Jones
Marcus Rashford has averaged a goal every 76 minutes in the Europa League this season for Manchester United (four goals in total).
It’s the best ratio of any player to have played at least 300 minutes.
19:45 , Michael Jones
Manchester United have only lost two of their last 11 European games at Old Trafford with six wins and three draws in that run.
Although, both defeats came against Spanish opposition: 0-1 vs Atletico Madrid in March 2022 and 0-1 vs Real Sociedad in September 2022.
19:40 , Michael Jones
Barcelona head coach Xavi says he knows prospective Manchester United owner Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani well and believes he would do a “good job” at Old Trafford.
Last Friday, the wealthy Qatari banker confirmed he had made an offer to buy the Premier League club as the Glazer family consider selling the club.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe has also made a bid to buy United, who are preparing for Thursday’s crunch Europa League knockout play-off second leg against Barcelona.
Xavi ended his playing career in Qatar playing for Al Sadd between 2015 and 2019, then took his first steps in management at the Doha club before taking over at Barcelona two years ago.
Xavi makes prediction as Sheikh Jassim bids to own Manchester United
19:35 , Michael Jones
Manchester United have only won one of their last 11 games against Barcelona in European competition (D5 L5), going winless in the last five (D1 L4).
Their only victory in this run came in April 2008 in a Champions League semi-final second leg, with Paul Scholes netting in a 1-0 win.
19:30 , Michael Jones
This is a big week for Manchester United. Not only are they fighting to remain in the Europa League tonight but on Sunday they face Newcastle in the Carabao Cup final.
Manager Erik ten Hag says that the prospect of winning a trophy will not distract his team from the importance of this evening’s fixture.
"When you face such big teams as Barcelona you have to play your best, otherwise you don’t have a chance," said Ten Hag.
"We have the opportunity [to win a trophy on Sunday] but the first focus point is always the next game and we can’t win the (Europa League) trophy this week.
"We have to keep in the same mindset that every day we want to give a better version of ourselves."
19:25 , Michael Jones
Erik ten Hag has long shown a willingness to seek out the footballing greats. A clip surfaced recently of a rather more hirsute 13-year-old talking with precocious maturity to Johan Cruyff. It acquired an added pertinence when, more than three decades later, an older Ten Hag followed in Cruyff’s footsteps by becoming manager of Ajax.
Pictures emerged this week of Ten Hag dining at an Italian restaurant in Wilmslow with another decorated predecessor, Sir Alex Ferguson. As United host Barcelona, the other club Cruyff served as both iconic player and manager, it was a timely occasion for a chat.
The Scot may not have too many fond memories of a 4-0 defeat to Cruyff’s ‘Dream Team’ in the Nou Camp in 1994, though Barcelona’s ground staged the most dramatic denouement to any Champions League final ever; Teddy Sheringham, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, “football, bloody hell” and all that in 1999.
Ten Hag’s United drew 2-2 in the Nou Camp last week. Beating the La Liga leaders in the second leg at Old Trafford would, the Dutchman said, require United’s best performance of the season. As Ferguson can testify, wins against Barcelona are not easily accomplished but they are something to savour.
He lost two Champions League finals to Pep Guardiola’s team. As an underdog, he won a Cup Winners’ Cup final against Cruyff’s Barca, Mark Hughes’ brace delivering victory in Rotterdam in 1991.
When his United lifted the Champions League, they encountered Barcelona en route, drawing 3-3 in two group-stage epics in 1998 and then, courtesy of Paul Scholes’ stunning long-range strike, winning a 2008 semi-final.
The similarity between Ten Hag and Sir Alex helping to ignite Man Utd rebuild
19:20 , Michael Jones
Barcelona have faced Manchester United away from home in European competition on five previous occasions.
After failing to win any of the first four (D2 L2), they won 1-0 on their most recent such trip in April 2019 in a Champions League quarter-final first leg match.
19:15 , Michael Jones
Xavi spoke about what he is expecting from tonight’s game claimed that Manchester United are one of the best teams in Europe at present.
“It’s a really tough game, Manchester United are one of the best teams in Europe and they are showing it.” said the Barcelona boss, "It’s the best Manchester United over the last few years and a great bit of work that Erik ten Hag has done.
"At the Nou Camp they showed a great passion and we have to match that. It’s a tough stadium to go to and we have to show the personality, play the way we can and be very intense during the game.
"The mentality is what we need to play a game like this. Manchester United are still up there with Manchester City and Arsenal [in the Premier League] so it’s a perfect stage to show Barcelona can compete with these teams."
19:10 , Michael Jones
Raphael Varane says Erik ten Hag has brought confidence and discipline to a Manchester United side seeking to take the next step in their development by beating Barcelona.
The 2018 World Cup winner joined the Old Trafford giants in the summer of 2021 alongside Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo, but the campaign that followed was one to forget for all connected to the club.
United sacked Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and floundered under caretaker boss Ralf Rangnick as they stumbled home sixth in the Premier League – a wretched situation that Ten Hag has rapidly turned around.
The former Ajax boss has improved the culture and quality at Old Trafford, meaning the club are still fighting on all four fronts as they prepare to host Barca in the Europa League knockout play-off on Thursday.
Man Utd ready to take ‘next step’, says Raphael Varane
19:05 , Michael Jones
Barcelona have arrived at Old Trafford and are preparing for tonight’s clash. The players will be heading onto the pitch for the warm-ups shortly.
19:00 , Michael Jones
Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag shared dinner with Sir Alex Ferguson this week as he looks to emulate the Scot in bringing European success to the club. He described the meeting as "massive".
"I always enjoy speaking with people who have a lot of knowledge, a lot of experience. He wants to share it; he wants to help and support," Ten Hag said.
"You feel Manchester United is his club. He feels so committed and he wants that we are doing well. It was a great night and I look forward to the next night with him."
18:55 , Michael Jones
Jules Kounde does not feel lucky to be facing Manchester United in the Europa League after Erik ten Hag fumed that the Barcelona defender should have been sent off and banned for the return leg.
Last week’s meeting of these European heavyweights outside the flagship competition lived up to the billing, with a chaotic clash in Catalunya ending in a 2-2 draw at the Nou Camp.
It was an impressive performance but Ten Hag was annoyed about his side’s inability to turn dominance into a win and the officials’ inaction for a poor challenge on star man Marcus Rashford.
Shortly after scoring an own goal to put the Red Devils 2-1 up, Kounde escaped a red card for a challenge on Rashford – something the Dutchman said was “definitely” a second off.
Jules Kounde insists he is not ‘lucky’ to be facing Manchester United in second leg
18:53 , Michael Jones
Erik ten Hag makes just one change to the Manchester United team that drew 2-2 at the Nou Camp. Tyrell Malacia drops out with Lisandro Martinez coming in. Luke Shaw moves out to the left-back position having played as a centre-back in Spain.
Barcelona boss, Xavi, makes four changes. In the back line Andreas Christensen and Alejandro Balde come in to replace Marcos Alonso and Jordi Alba.
Sergio Busquets and Sergi Roberto replace Pedri and Gavi in midfield.
18:49 , Michael Jones
Barcelona XI: Ter Stegen, Kounde, Araujo, Christensen, Balde, De Jong, Kessie, Busquets, Roberto, Raphinha, Lewandowski
18:46 , Michael Jones
Man Utd XI: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Martinez, Shaw, Fred, Casemiro, Sancho, Fernandes, Rashford, Weghorst
🔴 MANCHESTER UNITED 🔴
Erik's Reds for tonight's second leg 👊#MUFC || #UEL
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 23, 2023
18:44 , Michael Jones
Barcelona were knocked out of the Champions League group stage for the second consecutive season after finishing third in Group C behind Bayern Munich and Inter Milan while Manchester United finished second in their Europa League group on goal difference behind Real Sociedad.
Those performances has provided this extra play-off tie for the teams to navigate, things are balanced at 2-2 but only one of the sides will be progressing into the round of 16.
Who will it be?
18:40 , Michael Jones
Manchester United have won more games than any other side across the big five European leagues this season (27). Their total is already seven more victories than they managed last season (20).
18:35 , Michael Jones
Erik ten Hag has told Manchester United they need to produce their best performance of the season to eliminate Barcelona from the Europa League.
United impressed in drawing 2-2 at Camp Nou last week but Ten Hag believes they need to reach another level again against the La Liga leaders at Old Trafford on Thursday.
Captain Harry Maguire and winger Antony are back in contention for United but striker Anthony Martial, who has resumed training, will not be fit enough to play.
Erik ten Hag details how Man Utd can beat Barcelona
18:30 , Michael Jones
Manchester United boss, Erik ten Hag, has called on the club’s supporters to make as much noise as possible inside Old Trafford tonight and to create a brilliant atmosphere to spur on the team.
“You can hear it in the stands,” Ten Hag wrote in Thursday’s United Review, the official matchday programme. “That the fans feel a connection with this team and the feeling is mutual.
“We are all on a journey together, moving forward game-by-game and, tonight, we need the fans, as well as the players, to be at the top of their game, if we are to create a memorable night at Old Trafford.
“I think we have to make a bond together, the fans and the players. We have to keep the process going. It’s great at Old Trafford, and at away games, and you feel it, the vibe between the fans and players. We have to keep working on it.
“We know Barcelona is a big team, it’s a big club, but we are really excited to face them. We really want to go for this chance. That is what counts.”
You asked, we listened.
The music inside Old Trafford will be turned off at 19:45 GMT tonight, 15 minutes before kick-off, so we can hear you in full voice.
🗣️ We'll see you then...#MUFC || #UEL
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 23, 2023
18:25 , Michael Jones
Barcelona are missing a few big name players for tonight’s clash with Manchester United as midfielders Pedri and Gavi join the likes of Ousmanne Dembele on the sidelines.
“Dembele is also a big blow, a huge blow for us,” Xavi said speaking at his pre-match press conference yesterday. “He can make a difference on the pitch. Pedri and Gavi are players that are so important for us on the pitch.
“Gavi has pure passion and intensity and that’s exactly what we need tomorrow. It’s a big absence for us but we have alternatives.”
18:20 , Michael Jones
A Qatari state takeover of Manchester United would be nothing short of an English football travesty.
This is a moment of enormity for the sport. The concern is two-fold, both having a multiplying effect on the other to pose a potentially irreversible impact on the game. At its moral core, there is English football’s biggest club being made to represent the biggest problem in football right now. United would be politically used to mitigate one of the most criticised human rights records on earth, centred on a labour system described as modern slavery, consequently making this noble institution complicit.
United would no longer just be about Salford, Manchester and a community of fans thrilled by a glorious history of adventure and defiance. It would be about Qatar, its foreign policy and the kind of issues that just shouldn’t be a concern for football. “Sportswashing” is too soft a description for what is actually happening here, especially when you consider the other issue.
Qatar takeover of Man United would be new nadir for English football
18:15 , Michael Jones
The first game was a well-balanced affair although Manchester United could count themselves unlucky not to come away without a win.
Home advantage should see them over the line in this one, and expect Marcus Rashford to be amongst the goals again.
Manchester United 3-1 Barcelona.
18:10 , Michael Jones
Man Utd XI: David De Gea; Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez, Luke Shaw; Casemiro, Fred, Bruno Fernandes; Jadon Sancho, Wout Weghorst, Marcus Rashford.
Barcelona XI: Marc Andre ter Stegen; Jules Kounde, Ronald Araujo, Marcos Alonso, Jordi Alba; Frenkie De Jong, Franck Kessie; Raphinha, Ansu Fati, Ferran Torres; Robert Lewandowski.
18:05 , Michael Jones
Barcelona will be without talented midfielders Pedri and Gavi following the first leg, whereas Manchester United’s Lisandro Martinez and Marcel Sabitzer are available having been suspended for the first leg in Spain.
Scott McTominay was absent through injury but returned to the squad on Sunday, while there is further good news on the fitness of winger Antony and captain Harry Maguire. Antony has not played since the 2-1 win against Crystal Palace on 4 February, while the United skipper watched from the stands against former club Leicester due to a minor knock.
“We still have the training to go but I expect Harry Maguire and Antony dos Santos available,” Ten Hag said. “Anthony Martial is not available. He’s back, back on the pitch, not back in the team training so we wait for that.”
18:00 , Michael Jones
The match kicks off tonight at 8pm GMT at Old Trafford.
The game will be shown live on BT Sport 1 in the UK and subscribers can stream online via the BT Sport app.
15:28 , Michael Jones
Hello and welcome to The Independent’s coverage of tonight’s crucial Europa League play-off game which will see one of either Manchester United or Barcelona progress to the last-16 stage.
A week ago the two European heavyweights played out a spectacularly entertaining 2-2 draw at the Nou Camp with Barcelona opening the scoring through Marcos Alonso before Marcus Rashford equalised. Rashford was key to United’s next goal when his driving run and cross into the box resulted in a Jules Kounde own-goal but Barcelona recovered late in the second half and Raphinha curled one home to keep the tie delicately poised.
The first leg was a close fought affair with both sides having moments of dominance and control before momentum swung the other way. Expect something similar tonight though Erik ten Hag will be hoping home advantage plays its part in United’s favour.
Barca are without midfielders Pedri and Gavi though there is enough quality in Xavi’s squad to make up for their absences. This should be a fascinating encounter that will end with one of these teams being dumped out of the competition.
Who will go through tonight?