MANCHESTER UNITED 0, BARCELONA 1
Manchester United keep Barcelona at bay but lose Luke Shaw for the return leg.
Manchester United packed their defence, with Diogo Dalot initially helping out Luke Shaw at left back leaving the full back to form a back three with Chris Smalling and Victor Lindelof.
Without the early own goal by Shaw this tactic might have been described as a good plan as it limited Barcelona’s shots on target – only Philippe Coutinho managed to get a save out of David De Gea in the first half.
Shaw’s committed defensive performance earned the full back a booking which will rule him out of the return leg at the Nou Camp.
Barcelona’s goal came from poor marking of Luis Suarez and his header eventually came off Shaw for an unfortunate own goal.
United’s midfield was full of energy but too little creativity leaving Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford feeding on scraps.
Artur Vidal and Sergi Roberto add impetus for Barcelona
Barcelona were looking ineffective against a well drilled United defence so they brought on two replacements who gave them extra zip and pushed a tired United side even more.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was hardly calling on kids from the United bench but Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard, and Andreas Pereira came on too late to change things.
United lacking cutting edge which might have made the difference
Romelu Lukaki barely got a sniff of the ball while Marcus Rashford had an off night in front of goal.
On another night, with Barcelona playing within themselves, perhaps awed by the Theatre of Dreams, United might have even snatch a draw or even won.
The truth was that the Catalans controlled the game and starved United of good chances despite having few shots on target themselves.
David De Gea had a relatively easy night of it and could do little with the Luke Shaw own goal.
PLAYER RATINGS – Manchester United 0, Barcelona 1
David De Gea: 6. Saved from Philippe Coutinho with his feet in the first half. Had more to do in the second half, saving from Jordi Alba as Barcelona went for a second. Had to be alert to save a low free kick from 20 yards from Messi deflected
Ashley Young: 5. Crossing was off on the night.
Chris Smalling: 6. Had a hard time tracking Suarez. Gave Messi a bloody nose in the first half. Held firm despite the threat of Messi and Suarez.
Victor Lindelof: 6. Played everyone onside for the opening goal.
Luke Shaw: 5. Booked and will miss the second leg in Barcelona. Got an unfortunate touch on Luis Suarez’s 12th minute header to concede an own goal.
Fred: 6. Some neat passing early on but he lost his way for a time. Put in some tackles later as Barcelona pushed for a second goal.
Scott McTominay: 6. Went down looking for a penalty. Battled in midfield but was let down by the lack of creativity in the attacking players around him.
Paul Pogba: 6. Early pass almost found Rashford. Tried different things to break the lines.
Diogo Dalot: 6. Played at left wing back, lost Suarez for the goal but could have atoned with one of his own but miscontrolled his header from Marcus Rashford’s cross – United’s best chance of the night.
Marcus Rashford: 6. Confident enough to have a go from a free kick 27 yards out and definitely not afraid to run at defenders or have a pot shot no matter how wayward. Crossed for a Dalot header which went wide.
Romelu Lukaku: 6. Kept Barcelona defenders distracted while Rashford provided the movement. Shot straight into the arms of Marc Andre Ter Stegen from wide right when a deeper cut back might have been better. Replaced by Anthony Martial.
Anthony Martial (for Romelu Lukaku, 68): 6. Assumed a forward role.
Jesse Lingard (for Diogo Dalot, 74): 6. Booked for a foul on Vidal.
Andreas Pereira (for Marcus Rashford, 85): No time to mark.
GOALS – Manchester United 0, Barcelona 1
Man Utd 0, Barcelona 0: 12. Sergio Busquets found Lionel Messi with a forward pass and the Barca captain put a sublime chipped cross to Luis Suarez. The Uruguayan, with Victor Lindelof playing him onside, headed home from 6 yards out via a deflection from Luke Shaw. The goal was ratified and awarded as a Shaw own goal after a VAR check.
MATCH STATS – Manchester United 0, Barcelona 1
Man Utd: De Gea, Young (C), Smalling, Lindelof, Shaw, Fred, McTominay, Pogba, Dalot (Lingard 74), Rashford, Lukaku (Martial 68)
Man Utd Subs: Romero, Jones, Mata, Pereira, Rojo
Booking: Shaw 19 (obstruction on Lionel Messi), Lingard 76 (foul on Arturo Vidal), Smalling 86 (pushing Luis Suarez)
Barcelona: ter Stegen, Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Alba, Arthur (Sergi Roberto 66), Busquets (Alena 90+3), Rakitic, Messi (C), Coutinho (Vidal 65), Suarez
Barcelona Subs: Cillesen, Dembele, Malcom, Vidal, Umtiti
Booking: Busquets 17 (hauling down Paul Pogba), Vidal 71 (late foul on Fred)
Goal: Shaw og 12