Manchester United cruised to victory at home to Real Betis in their Europa League round of 16 first-leg fixture this evening.
The Red Devils sought to dispel the memories of Sunday’s humiliation at Anfield, and they made the perfect start with an early opener.
Luiz Felipe’s weak clearance fell kindly for Marcus Rashford, who emphatically found the roof of the net. The strike was his fifth in the Europa League, making him the competition’s joint-top scorer.
The hosts continued to dominate and wasted several opportunities to double their advantage. Wout Weghorst was twice the guilty party, missing the target when picked out by Luke Shaw and Antony.
Meanwhile, Rashford went through on goal after an under-hit back pass by Guido Rodriguez but was denied by an excellent Claudio Bravo tackle.
And they were made to pay for their profligacy, as Betis grabbed an equaliser. Juanmi clipped a pass into Ayoze Perez, and the Leicester City loanee brilliantly finished into the far corner.
Shortly before half-time, the visitors came within inches of taking the lead. Perez’s cross took a deflection off Bruno Fernandes and came back off the far post, following David de Gea’s poor clearance.
After the break, Erik ten Hag’s side restored their lead through Antony. The Brazilian picked up the ball out on the right and unleashed a fine curling effort into the top corner.
And just moments later, it was 3-1. Fernandes was the scorer this time, heading in at the near post after being found unmarked from Shaw’s corner.
United took control from here on, and twice squandered opportunities to grab a fourth. Antony was played through by Fernandes and Weghorst but was unable to finish on either occasion.
But in the final ten minutes, the home side netted the fourth goal. Scott McTominay’s shot was parried by Claudio Bravo, and Weghorst was on hand to turn in from close range.
The win puts Man United in a comfortable position going into the second leg. Betis have a mountain to climb at the Benito Villamarin.
David de Gea (4/10) – Rarely called upon to make a save, but his kicking was frankly woeful. Fortunate not to be punished for it.
Diogo Dalot (5/10) – Had little impact at either end of the pitch. Substituted at half-time.
Raphael Varane (7/10) – Had a fairly comfortable game. Good on the ball and solid at the back.
Lisandro Martinez (7/10) – Also reasonably solid. Let little past him.
Luke Shaw (7/10) – Showed plenty of promise going forward and recorded an assist in the second half. Sometimes struggled against Perez.
Casemiro (7/10) – Wasn’t at his best in the first half, but grew into the game. Helped take control in the second half.
Fred (7/10) – Calm on the ball and energetic. A decent performance.
Antony (7/10) – Drifted in and out of the game. Scored a fantastic goal, but also guilty of wasting two golden chances.
Bruno Fernandes (8/10) *MOTM* – Came under fire for his display against Liverpool and responded in perfect fashion. Got himself a goal and ought to have had an assist or two.
Marcus Rashford (6/10) – Took his goal brilliantly, but not always influential. Substituted mid-way through the second half.
Wout Weghorst (6/10) – Worked hard as ever, but wasteful in front of goal. Eventually managed to get one.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (6/10)
Jadon Sancho (6/10)
Tyrell Malacia (6/10)
Facundo Pellistri (7/10)
Scott McTominay (6/10)
Claudio Bravo (5/10) – Made a couple of vital saves and tackles. May have been disappointed with a couple of the goals.
Youssouf Sabaly (5/10) – Did little going forward. Sometimes struggled at the back.
German Pezzella (5/10) – Came under a lot of pressure and sometimes found it difficult to cope.
Luiz Felipe (4/10) – Poor clearance for the opener. Did little to prevent Man Utd’s dominance in the second half.
Abner (4/10) – Beaten far too often down his side. Offered little in attack.
William Carvalho (6/10) – Imposed himself on the game well in the first half. Lost control after the break.
Guido Rodriguez (5/10) – Some bright moments, but not consistently good enough. Substituted in the second half.
Luiz Henrique (5/10) – Didn’t create enough problems for the Man Utd backline. Substituted early in the second half.
Joaquin (5/10) – Showed flashes of quality in the first half. Very quiet in the second before being taken off.
Juanmi (6/10) – Got an assist and provided some threat. Found himself isolated in the second half.
Ayoze Perez (7/10) – Betis’ most threatening player. Took his goal wonderfully.
Sergio Canales (5/10)
Aitor Ruibal (5/10)
Andres Guardado (5/10)
Borja Iglesias (5/10)
Willian Jose (5/10)
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